Monday 6 December 2021

Diary of a Cycling Instructor (Week 21st June — 25th June)


Are we sanitising our children’s futures too much?

Week Monday 21st June — Friday 25th June

he greeting today was “Have you done a lateral flow test recently?” Just when you think that Covid’s receding in the distance on our rear-view mirror, you’re snared back into its anaconda embrace. A throat and nose swab later, I was ready to go and check the bikes.

a morning like this one, when London’s typical spi’ing turns into a downpour, you’re faced with the dilemma many trainers face: grit or caution?

I’m of the opinion that our risk-averse society has gone a bit too far in dealing with how the younger generation uses the outdoors. In many schools, the minute the first raindrop falls, “wet play” is declared. However one of my indelible memories as a child is of playing in the rain.

Some will say that there’s a liability factor involved. Who’s responsible if you take children out and one of them ends up on the ground because the surface was too slippery?

This creates an uncomfortable situation for the trainer. On the one hand, I think we need a more grit-driven attitude, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of a parent’s complaint.

We had to cancel the off-road training session today.

ven worse news today. My co-instructor and the lead of us two, has been taken ill and can’t make it the rest of the week. The school office staff was not impressed at all, even if they didn’t take their frustration out on me. Look, I still got up early and clocked in just before nine. I could have done with a lie-in.

On top of that I had to cycle back home up and down rain-sodden Archway Road.

ycling through Highgate earlier reminded me of how barbershops used to double up as dentists, doctors and A&E department in the old days. Now, after this sixteen-month pandemic-affected year, they’ll double up again as what they’ve been for many years: a community hub.


  1. I do worry about the cotton wool treatment of children. However, as an older childless woman, what would I know.
    Our barbershops/hairdressers were one of the first services to reopen - and were much appreciated.

  2. We aren't risk-averse, we are afraid of being sued

  3. oh I dont know they look probably too much on the internet anyway

  4. I can understand being cautious if safety is involved, but a little rain (or snow, or heat) isn't going to hurt anyone within reason. It's good for kids to be outside. It's good for any of us!

  5. Hi ACIL - I feel it's all gone a bit far... and just hope that individuals are more adventurous and encourage others. We need mud and dirt around us - helps us fight bugs later in life (perhaps that's not Covid, but prior bugs) ... leaders need to set examples - well done for doing so. Cheers Hilary

  6. I agree with "e" .... "We aren't risk-averse, we are afraid of being sued."

    When you look at the aerobatics with bicycles and snow boards; how common place sky diving and wingsuit "flying" have become; and even the numbers of volunteers for military duty in combat zones, it is evident there is no lack of courage these days.

    Excellent post, CiL ....

  7. I am ok if they wear rain gear.

  8. yes, i think we are more afraid of lawsuits than the little ones falling off on a slippery road. The parents have their own reasons, of course.


  9. How nice to read you again knowing that you are well and that your writings always follow the indecipherable meaning of a memory. I like you when you write a hug in the distance without time



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