Summer Break Is Coming: Get Outside -- on Bikes -- with Your Kids!

BlogHer Original Post

Spring is here and time to head back outdoors again. One of the best ways my family enjoys the outdoors is on bikes. For Earth Day three years ago, I posted about getting out your bikes and checking on Rail Trails on TrailLink, sponsored by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy. Back then, my daughter was five years old and usually rode (slept) in a bike trailer. Now we’ve ventured into mountain biking as family.

Family Bike Ride

We don’t live in an area that is safe to bike in the streets, so my 8-year-old daughter has only ridden her bike in our driveway. When I suggested that we hit the rail trail this year, she was a bit anxious about the narrowness of the trail and the number of people zipping by. So for our first bike outing, we took our bikes to a nearby park.

As soon as we hit the dirt, I thought my daughter might run into trouble negotiating the trail. The trail had very few people and was plenty wide, but there were rocks and tree roots to negotiate. Along this stretch of trail beside this river, she had gotten ahead with my husband.

Dova's First Trail

When I turned the corner, I saw a frightening scene. My husband was reaching down the side of the ravine and pulled my daughter out. Then he reached down and pulled her bike out by the back tire. But miraculously, she hopped back on her bike and started riding again. Fall down the side of a trail several feet and then get up and keep riding? I would’ve been done for the day! When I caught up to them, I asked nonchalantly what happened.

My daughter replied, “Well, I could tell I was going to fall, so I went down this side instead of going into the river. That was a good choice, right?” Well, that’s one way to look at it!

When she was out of earshot, I asked my husband about what happened. He said that she was going too slowly and fell. Then I asked how she managed not to freak out about it. He simply replied, “I didn’t make a big deal out of it and she was fine.”

My daughter took a few more tumbles, including some scrapes, but got up each time and kept riding with a smile on her face. Wow, a family outing turned confidence-building exercise. Win win!

My son, now an 11-year-old, has taken this trail on his bike several times and loves to negotiate around trees of the side trails.

Riding through the woods

Riding through the trees

I am the designated snack and water carrier, and we always meet in the same spot for a well-deserved snack.

Doug and Dova with their bikes

Biking has really become one of our favorite family activities. It’s free (once you have bikes), it’s exercise, and it’s fun. Keep in mind that safety always comes first, wear a properly fitted helmet and stay hydrated. Now get out your bikes!


Contributing Editor Angela blogs about her family adventures at mommy bytes.


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