The battle for Bike Chimp Junior

16Feb10

Mrs Chimp takes me for a mug

There’s a war going on in the Bike Chimp household. It’s a cold war at the moment, a battle for hearts and minds – or to be more accurate, one heart and mind.

Bike Chimp Junior is destined to be a great cycling champion. Olympic Gold in 2028 is the tentative target. Her coach (who also happens to be her father) hasn’t decided exactly which event yet. Come on, that would be silly – she is only two.

Admittedly, genes are against her. Daddy Chimp’s palmares consists of 101st place in the National 10 a few years ago and a string of midfield finishes at time trials all over the south. I’m one of those 30-something blokes routinely whipped by proper cyclists old enough to be their father.

Swim to the other side of Chimp Junior’s gene pool, and the signs are even worse. Mrs Chimp may be so clever the humming from her brain keeps me awake at night, but she’s not known for her love of physical exercise. Especially cycling.

Like any pushy parent who doesn’t want to be seen as pushy, I pick my moments. Early runs with the child seat on the bike were limited to quick trips around the block. More recently bike rides to and from nursery have been pretty common, but if Junior says she doesn’t want to cycle, we walk.

She rode with me all the way from Canterbury to Whitstable and back last summer, grinning like a newly escaped lunatic down every hill. She loves the trike she rides in the park, even though her little legs can hardly reach the pedals. For a long time, I thought this was a war I was winning.

Not so. My enemy is cunning and subtle. The roll of the eyes when I set up the turbo trainer. The tutting when yet another package of mail-order cycling kit is delivered. The barely disguised sighs whenever I head out the door for a ride. ‘Don’t worry, daddy will be back soon.’

It’s getting worse. The other day, I caught my daughter’s skin in the clip of her cycle helmet. She cried, and now refuses to wear it. ‘If you don’t wear your helmet you can’t go out on daddy’s bike,’ said Mrs Chimp. I told you she was cunning.

I waited a few days and hoped Junior would forget about getting her skin caught next time we went for a ride. Unfortunately she has her inherited her mother’s memory for my mistakes. Cue more crying and wheeling the bike back into the garage.

This is, I admit, a bit of a setback in our quest for Olympic glory. However, Mrs Chimp isn’t the only one who can be clever. I’ve started a programme of core stability work using her ‘In the Night Garden’ Swiss ball. I have her doing leg squats in the bath when Mrs Chimp isn’t looking. The other night she dragged her rocking horse next to the turbo and rocked back and forth while I spun through some intervals.

I haven’t given up yet. 2028, here we come.

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One Response to “The battle for Bike Chimp Junior”

  1. 1 Al Suttie

    Keep at it Bike Chimp. My joiner’s daughter is headed for the 2012 Olympic judo team and Mr Chippy says it took a long time for his wee girl to get into the whole exercise thing and routine needed to get to the top.
    Alternatively, use a bit of psychology. Suggest to Mrs Chimp that Moto GP motorcycle rcing offers huge rewards for Chimp Junior by way of self-esteem, balance and world travel. The shock of this will then make cycling seem like a much more attractive option.
    Naturally, this method is not guaranteed and Mrs Chimp may use it as a stick with which to beat you further…


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