...ok, so I lied a little to smooth the way.
I didn't tell them how far we were going, and every time they asked if we were nearly there, I said, 'Not long now!' in a cheery voice and pedalled on.
Eleven miles later we were back at the car park - no crying, no coaxing, no pushing - just happy, bright pink faces.
The children loved it so much they wanted to take their dad, which is exactly what we did last sunday.
We hired bikes from Pedalabikeaway at the Cannop Valley centre near Coleford - not cheap for five of us, but they have a great selection for all ages and abilities. Time to get our act together on the bike front I think.
It's a short pedal straight onto the Family Cycle Trail from the centre, and by far and away the best bit of advice I'd pass on is go left! It's a circuit, mainly along old railway lines, and the clockwise route is definitely the easier option. There's a very gentle upward incline at the beginning - hardly noticeable really, apart from a little leg burn; but then again I hadn't been cycling since our last trip here.
The 5 year old was on the back of her dad's on a tag-along. She desperately wanted to have her own bike, but I'm so glad we didn't give into the nagging. There was the potential for untold misery.
Anyway after 20 minutes we broke through the whinge barrier and it was downhill all the way after that. And I mean literally downhill or flat all the way, bar one or two short climbs.
I'd forgotten how much fun it is to whizz along, free as a bird, though I was a lot heavier on the brakes than the boys. A bit of an old scaredy altogether. There are places to stop off if you fancy - former stations and coal mines and a lovely picnic spot near a small lake - but apart from a break for biscuits, we kept going. Some reviews I've read criticise the lack of clear signs on the Trail, and they could be better, but don't let that put you off. We picked up a route map when we hired the bikes and kept our eyes peeled for posts with a yellow tyre track on them.
The highlight for the boys was the short trails just off the main route for practicing jumps and turns. Complete and utter heaven for them.
There are plenty more demanding bike routes through the Forest for adventurous mountain bikers, but this one was perfect for us - honestly I can't recommend it highly enough. We had tired, happy kids, slightly wobbly legs and a large pile of washing to look forward to!
We also had bacon butties and chocolate brownies at the busy cafe by the bike hire centre. Don't things taste so good when you feel you've earned them?
Linking with Country Kids from Coombe Mill