So you enjoy getting out there on your bike. But wouldn’t it be great to find more time to ride? One of the best ways to do this is to incorporate the kids into your cycling. Besides making you feel less guilty about all the days you spent away from them during the last grand fondo or bikepacking trip, it’ll get your kids outside, and you’ll enjoy the quality time bonding together. Beware though - you don’t want it to turn into a nightmare. Here are three tips for a smooth experience:
- Get the right equipment
You don’t need to break the bank, but making sure the kids’ bikes are properly fitted, working well, and are appropriate for the terrain makes a world of difference to prevent tears and temper tandrums during the ride. I mean, you obssess over rolling resistance during your training ride to the coffee shop - why not make sure the kids’ brakes aren’t rubbing against their rims? And extra credit for giving them opportunities to express themselves by decorating their bikes, adding accessories they’ll enjoy during the trip, and lightening their load by upgrading their steed. I’m a big fan of Isla Bikes for being super lightweight, with high quality components properly sized for little ones, and how well they hold their resale value.
- Include a fun destination
When you plan a ride, isn’t it more motivating to tackle a legendary local climb or a new trail? Make sure to incorporate a fun destination in your ride with the kids to get them excited. Ride to a playground, a store they love visiting, a sporting event like a Portland Trailblazers game a family favorite restaurant, or a new adventure for them. Along the way, if there’s a challenging part, you’ll be able to focus them on the fun destination ahead. Best of all, it’s always easier mentally on the way back, so if you’re doing a roundtrip, coming back will be a breeze.
- Take your time
Rushing to beat a yellow light is out of the question. Besides needing to ride at the pace of your slowest family member, you don’t want to take any chances that would create a stressful moment for everyone, which might make them not want to ride again, or worst yet, get folks into an unsafe situation. Some of the best moments I’ve had with the family has been when we’re taking breaks to admire the scenery, have excited conversations with the kids about what they’re seeing, and allowing enough time to spontaneously explore an area not part of the original plan. The most special moments as a family often happen when we take a step back from our busy day to day lives to live in the moment, on the trail, experiencing nature together, making memories that will last a lifetime.