Monday 25 October 2021

Diary of a Cycling Instructor (Week 7th June — 11th June 2021)

Are children the only future we have? Aren’t we all (young and old) the future, too?


Seen at a primary school: “Children are the only future the human race has. Teach them well”.

I’ve no problem with trusting the younger generation to guide us in the right direction. But I do think that by focusing solely on them, we end up ignoring those like me in their mature years. Thus, we create a two-tier system. Children, teenagers and young adults sit at one end, all future-ready, whereas middle-aged and elderly people occupy the other, past their prime and with no future to look forward to. The much-needed cross-generational overlap doesn’t happen or it happens rarely. The only future the human race has is an across-the-ages approach, in which we leave behind our differences and hang-ups and concentrate on our similarities and common goals.

Now, let’s go outside and teach this lot how to do a proper hand signal.

Odd, incongruous and ironic sign of the day: “We only have one planet. Look after it”, whilst underneath it sat two packs of 12 plastic water bottles each.

Working in schools again reminds me of that moment when you have a group of children in front of you in a semicircle. Most seem to be paying attention to what you’re explaining, but there’s always one talking in a low voice, their pitch just a few decibels high, enough to communicate the joke, but not enough to remain unnoticed.

There are some sounds in schools that I’ve missed: for instance, the slapping sound of a pair of flip-flops marching down a corridor, announcing the arrival of summer.

Terminology in cycling training can be confusing sometimes to outsiders. For instance, the phrase “creeping and peeping” has nothing to do with stalking someone. It’s what happens when we approach a junction and visibility is poor. As we inch past the give way lines (creep), we’re in a better position to make a judgment (peep) as to whether to continue our journey or wait.

Another phrase that might floor those not familiar with cycling training is “new lane, new look”. This phrase has nothing to do with our approach to fashion, but how we negotiate junctions, turn at them (new lane) and check behind (new look) to see what the traffic is like.

Sadly, cycling also falls prey to the parenthood-as-status phenomenon. The perpetrators are chiefly dads and their sons. The former more than the latter. In this case, the offspring-on-two-wheels becomes an accessory to advertise daddy’s coolness.

Time and time again we come across the “But my dad says…” type of comment when we’re training children. To which the only reply can be “Yes. Your daddy says that you can ride with just one hand/use just the one brake/or not bother wearing a helmet. Sorry to break it to you like this, but, your daddy’s not always right. Also, it’s our duty to train you properly. Outside, you can do whatever you like, even take both your hands off the handlebar. But in here, we’re in charge.” That usually does the trick and keeps them quiet. The kids, not the dads.


  1. Hi ACIL - yes ... challenging times discussing things with people - though you obviously have a mastery - congratulations. We need people to take responsibility ... there are always rebellious kids; - yet as you say ... we all have wisdom to share and learn from. Cheers - have a good week - Hilary

  2. You are a good child disciplinarian. I hate saying that as a grumpy old man, but your advice was wise and worked.

  3. Perhaps they meant to say that with children will there be continuation, and renewal. but certainly, the middle-aged and elderly still have roles to play.
    Your 'diary' entries, short & succulent, are always a delight to read. :)

  4. I agree... we need to resolve our differences (or maybe acknowledge and accept them), then move on with a common purpose to improve the world around us. We can all do that, young or old.

  5. Interesting tidbits the children do need our guidance

  6. Your opening, CiL, is reminiscent of the axiom that no matter what the age -- young or old or anywhere between -- we can all treat others as we wish to be treated.

    Your line, "there's always one talking in a low voice," brought a back a childhood memory from when I would have been six or seven: A school teacher announced that Fram has a voice that carries well .... you can hear him when he is whispering in the back of the room.

  7. Hi!
    First I want to mention the nice quote you have on your side of Maya Angelou. "A home is a home no matter how it is." Great!
    Your question "Are children the only future we have? Aren't we all (young and old) the future, too?"
    Oh, there are a lot of debates here in society regarding this topic. It is for me a political dilemma, which is really about power and money. Clearly older people have a lot to give.Students learning , is of course at home and at school. The teacher today must make the student aware of the responsibility they will have . Not only to its own small neighboring community but also the responsibility it has to the global world community of which we are a part. And the elderly are an important source of learning. Both pratical work and wisdom.BUT. Ideologies, refer to Voltarie, Kant, Linne ,Chamberlain (who was Hitler's hero) And let's not forget Charles Darwin with his racial theory Social Darwinism.
    As often built on a racially discriminatory society. Karl Mannheim also referred to this in his book "Ideologie und Utopie (1929)". Many older people have misconceptions of today's society. .Therefor trouble ..I think
    No matter how old you are, you should stay up to date to new learning and on what is happening in society. So yes there is need for all of us :))

  8. Parabéns pelo seu trabalho excelente meu querido amigo.

  9. Dealing with Insurance questions Adjuster after an accident or damage to your property can be emotionally disheartening. Insurance Adjusters can be the most friendly and the Gentle people you can meet, but one thing you should remember is they are there to make a profit for their respective insurance companies.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...