Santa’s a busy man in December, so we had to plan well in advance to secure his attendance at Reading’s Kidical Mass Ride. Crucial, of course, was what method of transport would be appropriate for him — it had to be bike related.
Our own esteemed Kat Heath (of 100 Women in Cycling fame) made the opening suggestion that he should be riding on a sleigh pulled by a team of six cyclists wearing reindeer antlers. The rest of the planning team, who are blessed with a little less ambition, but a smidgeon more common sense, shot that right down on safety grounds. Can you imagine the tangle we would have got into crossing London Road?
When one of our families pointed out that their Urban Arrow box bike can safely carry an adult, it was the perfect solution. We consulted with Santa and he was keen — after all if it’s good enough for our children then it’s good enough for him. R(e)i(n)de(e)r Balthi even wore antlers and a red nose as he captained the bike.
10th December fell at the start of the very cold snap we’ve been having, and it was bitterly cold. Nevertheless there were a fair few families there and our wonderful marshals came out regardless. Many of us use bikes as our primary form of transport so we were fully equipped with layers of clothes and heavy duty gloves. If you ever have questions like how to keep a baby’s ears warm on a bike (elephant hoods worked for us), do ask!
For the first time ever as we approached London Road I was worried that drivers were getting impatient waiting for the kids to cross as a group. However, they were only honking and waving at Santa, which is allowed. Throughout the whole ride we got a positively delightful reaction from onlookers.
On arrival at Forbury Gardens Santa handed out Kidical Mass bike bells, and our wonderful bakers handed out Christmas cookies. There were bells leftover (I’m saying nothing about the cookies) so Santa left them with us — we’ll bring them to future rides so let us know if you missed out. My three year old was extremely excited to fit his official Kidical Mass bell to his balance bike when we got home. I’m not sure our neighbours have been quite as pleased.
Our kids were also very pleased to see their Grandfather who came along for the biscuits and tea in Forbury Gardens. Sadly he just missed seeing Santa, but he was very pleased to hear from them all about how much they’d enjoyed the ride.