Getting out into the great outdoors

Picture of two junior recipe testers helping load bikes onto a bike rackWe're routinely told it is good for juniors to be active and spend time outdoors. Too right. And so we thought to do just that. A trip to the park, a ride on the bikes, throw in a few cousins and you pretty much have junior-recipe-tester nirvana.

Drink bottles. Check. Morning tea. Check. Hats and sunscreen. Check, check. Bikes. ...Ah.

Bikes, in the volume we require, cannot be transported in the boot of the car. They cannot be transported in the cabin of the car either, due entirely to the volume of car seats we also require. For this task of transportation, we require a bike rack. For the bike rack, we require a tow bar.

About the time we needed to leave for the park one of the juniors reported that the tow bar was not attached to the car. It was in a bag. In the garage.

Attaching the tow bar to the car is not difficult. It requires matching two pieces together, one slotted into another, and putting a large pin through a set of lined up holes in both pieces to stop them from separating. Easy.

What they don't mention is that the piece you have to lift into the slot under the car weighs about as much as a junior. The holes you have to line up you cannot actually see. The pin will only go through if the holes are lined up precisely. And the juniors will want to help.

This is all fine. As long as you're Hercules. Or his sister.

We were well past the discussion about, "Perhaps we don't need to bike ride today..." The juniors had their helmets in the boot and stood about looking expectant. I dutifully lay down on the garage floor and lifted the heavy thing. As I wrestled I did briefly think that if this didn't go the way I hoped we'd be skipping the park in favour of a trip to the nearest maxilo-facial surgeon.

If the world were a fair place the challenges would end with the attachment of the tow bar and bike rack. But on the end of the bike rack is a number plate. We are told this is a legal requirement. Really, it is so a junior's bike cannot be placed on the rack without a significant fight.

By the time this task was complete the number plate was looking a little worse for wear. It had corners in places it had not previously had corners.

"Look what you did to the number plate," observed one helpful junior. As he wandered away I heard him mutter, "I'm going to have to tell Dad..."