Emsworth yesterday, and I was returning from a visit to my dear old mum. We shared a pot of tea together with some ginger snap biscuits and a couple of custard creams. She loves her custard creams bless her little heart. These are still one of lifes little pleasures which she still relishes and looks forward to.
It was a bright and sunny day when I left her so a walk along the harbour and waterfront seemed the right thing to do. There were quite a few people out and about and the tide was out so many of the little sailing boats were lying on their side and awaiting its return. Up in the sky above me there was the distinct sound of a light aircraft engine. It’s pilot was apparently practicing the basics skills required in stunt flying and so was looping around before then suddenly diving and then climbing high again leaving a vapour trail then stalling his engine before dramatically plummeting down to earth.
This display meant that the majority of people out walking spent most of their time standing quite still and all staring directly above them; each with one hand shading their eyes from the bright sunlight.
So whilst everyone was busily pre-occupied with this unexpected free aerobatic display so I noticed this chap leading out these youngsters on their bikes and teaching them the basics of cycling and of road safety.
The way these people admiring the plane had stopped on the waterfront looked to all intents and purposes like they had been deliberately placed there as part of a human obstacle course and all for the benefit of their cycle run.
It looked quite funny really; the kids riding were completely unphased by this sudden human obstacle course and merely weaved their way through in a long snaky line . And with effortless skill I might add.
So to observe these two distinctly diverse skills in action was interesting. Both distinctly different but both requiring a lot of time and practice.
For their instructor It was about making it interesting for those learning. And about him reinforcing each point until these becomes instinctive. It is these techniques which will ensure that they remain as safe as you possibly can when unsupervised. Equally it’s about ensuring the correct equipment is always worn; in case the worse should happen. The kids in his charge were so disciplined yet obviously thoroughly enjoying his tutelage and their ride out together in the sunshine.
I liked the way he took time to explain to them why these techniques were important before then moving off with them up into the high street where they would then practice. Like the guy in the plane above them they were learning how to avoid getting themselves into some of the more common problems which can present for the cyclist. But even more importantly how to get themselves out of such situations… hopefully in one piece and with the minimum of harm to themselves or to their cycles.
The importance of wearing safety helmets to me as an ex-paramedic cannot be emphasised enough!
These are an absolute must!
So it was great to see all these kids having such a great time and wearing them simply as a matter of course.