My favourite ride this year was 32km, slightly downhill, from Bright to Myrtleford, at an average speed of 15kph, getting swooped by half a dozen magpies, starting out at a temperature of zero degrees.
Admittedly the ride itself didn’t offer much of a workout. My hands were freezing. I had a sore butt from riding so slowly. Plus I ended up with a stiff neck from ducking and yelling at the magpies.
But the ride was with my nine-year-old daughter.
It was all her idea. The best part was that she was up at 6 am ready to go, “because you leave early for bike rides, dad”.
The one day on our holiday I’d planned on a bit of a sleep in… you know, about 7am.
I’ve been really conscious not to push cycling on my kids. I’ve made a deal with my wife that we’ll offer them every sport under the sun but they have to ask to do cycling. They’re exposed to it enough that if they want to they will.
My daughter doesn’t want to race, at least not that I’m aware of. But she wants to ride, which I love. I really do want cycling to be part of my kid’s lives.
My son just wants to go to the pump track in Bright, the BMX track near our local tennis club and ride through puddles. Lots of puddles.
Taking our kids to various events has played a big part in making them want to ride.
In 2017 my daughter, Kartika, watched Amanda Spratt finished second to Katrin Garfoot at the national championships, in Ballarat, and she thought that was the best. Now, when she’s challenged, Kartika says, “Dad, I’m Amanda Spratt, I’m not going to give up”.
I also take my family to the Noosa triathlon each year and they see fit people just being active and that’s their normal.
Unfortunately, a lot of other kids don’t get to see that. They don’t see their parents being active
Your kids do. They’re lucky. As parents, we’re their most important role models.
Bringing your family to L’Étape and your kid/s will see their most important role model/s in action. Even if they don’t say anything, children absorb these examples like a sponge.
Plus there’ll be plenty of fun stuff for them to do.
Being one of the most recognizable voices of cycling, Matthew Keenan regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia.