LittleBear has developed a new and whole-hearted obsession with the Tour de France. This may have something to do with his parents' obsession with the Tour. Somewhat surprisingly, he seems to have decided on this occasion "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", instead of insisting that dinosaurs are infinitely more interesting than whatever it is one of us wants to do. So we are making the most of this enthusiasm for cycling by actually getting to watch some of the race live.
Yesterday morning, we needed to take a quick trip to the shops, and so naturally out came the bicycles, and from then on LittleBear maintained an almost non-stop commentary...
"There's been a breakaway... Geraint Thomas is in the lead, and we're following him. We're a second breakaway, and we're on the Sky team with Geraint Thomas, and we're going to catch up with him and help him. The peloton are 4 minutes behind us at the moment... we've nearly caught Geraint Thomas now, but there's been another breakaway from the front of the peloton! <whispered aside> who rides in yellowy-green Mummy?"
"There's a Tinkoff rider and another Sky rider in another breakaway behind us, so we'll have to go faster! Chris Froome is the middle of the peloton today, I think Geraint Thomas is going to win today."
Permutations of this were repeated throughout the ride to the Co-op, where we stopped "for a wee break, and the peloton aren't allowed to try and overtake while we're having a wee break". Actually we were stopping to acquire chocolate swiss roll and cucumber, but those aren't recognised features of a Tour de France stage, so we had to extemporise. And then we were off again...
"We're level with Geraint Thomas now, and the peloton have caught up with the Tinkoff rider, so I think we're going to win today's stage"
And so it went, all the way back home. We even climbed "an Alp" on the way. For those not familiar with the extraordinary flatness of our home village, I should point out that this "Alp" involved an ascent of approximately 4 metres. Yes, that far. But we made it home, with a final sprint for the line, apparently coming in 15 minutes ahead of the peloton.
The entire escapade was so entertaining that we had to do it all, but further, in the afternoon, with Daddy being nominated to the role of Chris Froome, and Richie Porte of BMC being the rider threatening to overtake us. LittleBear's little legs rode like fury, whizzing round to power him to front of the breakaway again. And, on what passes for downhill round these parts, he lay his torso horizontally to adopt a downhill-racer streamlined position. But he didn't stop the incessant narration. In fact, he barely paused for breath, except when we stopped to consume the contents of our musette, at which point the glugging of most of a bottle of water temporarily silenced him.
Our total for the day was 5.4 miles. And LittleBear now declares that very soon he will be able to ride 10 miles. And that when he's bigger he will ride in the real Tour de France, because he's already a better cyclist than Mummy. I don't know if it's a child-thing or a being-related-to-me-thing of just a LittleBear-thing, but I love the way he throws himself utterly and completely into each new obsession. And he absorbs all the information that passes his way, filing it all away in his head for later use. So, though it was last week sometime that we watched a ferocious descent on the Tour and explained why the riders were all leaning so far forwards, LittleBear had stored that away and made use of it, trying to go as fast as possible.
Knowing LittleBear, I suspect that the Tour de Histon is going to last considerably longer than the Tour de France. In fact, I suspect the time will come when I will deeply regret ever letting LittleBear even know of the existence of Le Tour. For now though, it's pretty adorable.