Hill Climbs, Night Away and Just Enough Miles

Dave and I love to go on “MISSIONS” on our bikes.  Since I’ve pretty much spent the last year and half being either pregnant or looking after a new-born we’ve not been able to get out on them much.   Our aim is to take the Robot cycle touring, but we (I) have to build up to this.  As 1. I’m out of practice, 2. So is the Robot and 3. The Robot is a 9 month old BABY!

We’ve started out well and have been on a few local trips, our main one being our ride to Glasson Docks last week.  This trip is our next phase.  A night away on the bikes!  We’d been watching the weather on the run up to the weekend.  The days we’d planned to go looked a bit windy and rainy.  Not good for a small person.  We pushed it back by a day when the weather seemed nicer.  Off we go!  Our destination is Slaidburn Youth Hostel – Heart of the Forest of Bowland.

If we’d cycled from home it would be approx 35 miles.  This is a bit much for our 10 miles limit son! We opted to catch the train to Clapham so we were closer.   It’s not often I get a nice photo of me and the Robot together that isn’t me taking a selfie!  Here we are on the train.

Karen on the train with the Robot

Straight off the train and there is a slight breeze and straight into a hill climb, a 5 mile hill climb.  The wind was across us, so it was sort of pushing us up the hill.  This is what Dave kept telling me as I was being buffeted sideways.  The Robot was wrapped up really well and as soon as we hit the road fell asleep, for the entire hour it took me to get to the top of the hill.  Here is Dave who kept waiting for me to catch up.  I don’t know if you can see the road in the distance but we were heading over that hill!

Dave with his bike heading up Hill

This is where Dave is a true gent, he carried everything that was remotely heavy, all bar the Robot.  I think I had my coat and my woven wrap in my pannier bags!  He decided that my bike would still be the heaviest with all 20lbs of Robot.  The weather wasn’t completely ideal and within a mile of Slaidburn it did start spitting a little. Thankfully not a down pour though as I didn’t factor in rain when I packed for the Robot!  We arrived in Slaidburn at 4.45, after a 12 mile bike ride.  The Youth Hostel didn’t open till 5 so we cozied up in front of the pub fire!  Beer, bar snacks and Mummy milk were a definite!

Arrived safely in front of a cozy fire

Slaidburn YHA is a volunteer run Youth Hostel.  It’s a really nice building and I failed to take pictures.  The need to cook food and get the Robot to bed overtook the desire to take snaps!  No phone reception up in the hills and confined to the bedroom, my best option was going to sleep at 9pm!  We all slept well and fueled with porridge we set off the next morning to go home. The weather was beautiful, we were taking a different route home.  We bumped into a couple of cyclists that were doing Lands End to John O Groats.  They kindly took this picture of me, they were amazed we had a baby with us!  He really wasn’t that happy at this point, he’d just woken up so isn’t his usual smiley self:
Next Day at the top of a hill

Our second day the hills were higher.  My legs were suffering but it was good practice.  This is what I kept telling myself anyway!  The wind of the day before had gone and the sky was blue.  The view was brilliant too.

View into the valley

On the way down to Bentham we came across Big Stone, so named because it is a big stone.  I knew about it from my friend, I thought it would be rude not to go and see it closer, as I knew she would approve!  It has steps carved into the sides so you can climb on top.  There is also loads of graffiti on it carved over many years, I assume from teenager!

Karen and Robot on BIG stone

Here is Big Stone from a distance.  This the first time the Robot has been on Daddy’s shoulders, I think he enjoyed it, lots of drumming on his head!

Dave and the Robot on his shoulder infront of big stoneWe arrived back in Bentham at lunch time and a two-hour wait for the train.  We bought ourselves a packed lunch and had a mini picnic.  A lovely chilled out affair and a further 14 miles cycled. A short train ride home and a quick unpack and it was over.  The best thing about cycling with panniers is that the stuff you take all fits in the washing machine in one go!

It was such a brilliant mini trip, it went without a hitch.  We all enjoyed it and we are now planning our next adventure.  Car camping!



  1. Well done on your bike ride with Robot. I think that it is great that you are doing these adventures with Robot and showing him the countryside. I bet he must love it! Really beautiful scenery today, although those hills must have made it hard going. Was the hostel ok, family friendly? #countrykids
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    1. isntitpretty

      Yes the hostels are always family friendly. We booked a 3 bed room so was private & enough space. The hills were tough but the reward was the down the other side! The robot squeals when we go faster!!

  2. Wow, what an adventure! I’m very jealous as I would love to take Finn out on bikes, but I really can’t ride one! I must practice for when he’s older. Good luck with the camping as well, we went a couple of times last year when Finn was about 5 months old and had an amazing time 🙂

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  4. beautiful photography! You must build up to the cycling tour – will be so much fun. I grew up doing cycling holidays all over Britain and we would set off with our panniers packed and cycle 200 odd mile in a week – I think our first one on our own bikes was when my sister was 6 and I was 8 and we cycled 175 mile around the Lake District! So great to be outdoors and enjoying life – instead of being stuck inside on technology of some sort! Its the way to go! A really lovely read and I love all your enthusiasm! #BigPinkLink

    1. isntitpretty

      Oh wow that is amazing. The Lake District is hilly well done little kids for doing that. You have just given us encouragement that it’s doable for us in the years to come! Thanks x

  5. Love it! Get them used to the outdoors early I say, that way they will be more used to it as they get older and you can do a lot more trips. I found because my son got unused to the sling, when I tried to put him in or the backpack to go walking, he just wouldn’t have it! Now we’re waiting til his little legs grow a bit so he can keep up. We are planning lots of campervan trips though. So glad you had such a great trip. Thanks for linking up with us! #bigpinklink
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    1. isntitpretty

      We really hope he will enjoy cycling as he gets older. We hope to go on lots of trips with him. We do live in and near beautiful parts of the world! thanks for the lovely comment

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  8. suz

    Wow you are so brave both with the cycling and taking Robot. Amazing you fitted all the ‘baby stuff’ into those panniers!
    The pic of you and little one is lovely – he has your eyes 🙂
    I was interested to see the hills as well as we’re going to a wedding in the Forest of Bowland later in the year and it’s an area I’ve never visited.
    Great post.
    Wishing you many more happy adventures

  9. Blimey, your posts always make me feel so lazy! This is amazing, I can’t believe you did this when Robot was so little, you are superwoman! I would love to go cycling again but have never dared put mine on bike seats and I think they’d be a bit big now! I’ll have to wait a few more years so they can cycle alongside me! #familyfunlinky

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