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The Longest Day of the Year

June 22, 2011

I have been successful in converting all three kids to bikes, but Mrs. Steampunk’s favorite form of exercise involves running (the mere idea of which makes my knees hurt!). She commutes to work by bike more often than not, but the bike is mainly a vehicle for getting from point to point. No harm or shame in that, and it saves me the embarrassment of her dropping me on climbs on a regular basis.

Tonight, however, we went out for a trail ride together. Just the two of us. With three kids in the house, the amount of time we get together—on our own—is limited. The amount of time together—on our own—outside the house: even more so. But today was the longest day of the year. After dinner, the older two took the littlest Steampunk up for her bath, and Mrs. Steampunk and I went out for a ride to recon a route she hoped to run in the Dundas Conservation Area. Even amongst the trees, the air was still warm and the light was great. The Conservation Authority had thrown down a lot of loose gravel, which made some of the hills difficult to climb (rear wheel spinning out and struggling to find traction) and some of the descents a little hairy. But all good. Lots of fun and nice to be in each other’s company.

The loop wasn’t more than 12 kilometers—the last third downhill along our rail trail—but there were plenty of ups and downs and turns and different surfaces to keep us entertained. Mrs. Steampunk will look forward to running the loop in the future, but it’s a nice ride with a couple of longer, steep hills, which make it a good challenge on the bike.

Two rides today. I wondered if I would feel the negative effects of this morning’s ride while negotiating some of the steeper uphills, but legs and bike were fine. Riding the mountain bike is a completely different experience, and while my fitness and bike handling have improved on the road, I felt totally at home on the mountain bike, even if it has been relegated to bike #3 in the stable (after the singlespeed, which has taken over daily commuting to work).

But more mountain biking with the kids is definitely in store this summer. With the Conservation Area right outside our front door, it would be a shame not to take advantage of good weather and pleasant surrounds. Not to mention good exercise. Does anyone have any tips to provide even more incentive to the kids to get out and ride more frequently?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. xyxax permalink
    June 23, 2011 3:30 am

    @SP: “I have been successful in converting all three kids to bikes”

    How did you make the transition from 3 to 2 wheels with your kids? Push bike, regular bike with the cranks off, training wheels? All 3? I want to get my little girl on wheels for her 4th birthday.

    You mean this isn’t the parental advice blog Elmonista?

    • June 23, 2011 3:45 am

      That’s probably worth a post all of its own, but the truth is I don’t really recall.

      By “converting all three kids to bikes,” I should qualify that the older two are riders and the youngest (just turned three) likes bikes but doesn’t ride yet (though she’s eager to ride on the back of mine).

      I think my son started on a tricycle with a handle and graduated to two wheels with training wheels. My daughter might have inherited the tricycle, but I remember her getting a Radio Flyer bike with training wheels fairly early on. Our littlest is a whizz on a two-wheel scooter, but the plastic trike we got her has been a bust (bad trike, not her fault). I’ve heard really good things about the push bikes, but given our littlest has excellent balance on the scooter, I expect we’ll probably get her a bike with training wheels next spring.

  2. xyxax permalink
    June 25, 2011 2:36 am

    I think I will go with the training wheels as it seems closest to what “real” cycling is (to share with Papa), rather than doing the whole Fred Flintstone thing with the feet.
    I was impressed to read of your youngest’s prowess on the scooter. My daughter is about a year older and didn’t get the hang of it or even show much interest.

    OK, Women’s Cycling Worlds in 20 years?

  3. June 25, 2011 4:50 pm

    Let’s shoot for the Women’s Cycling Worlds in 15 years—kids these days. I’ll book us patio pace at a nice pub near the finish line.

    I don’t think there’s a wrong way to get kids to ride so long as they enjoy it and want to ride. And it is a great way to spend time together. My littlest has a friend—recently turned four—who’s been riding on two wheels without training wheels for a few months. Kids develop different kinds of proficiencies at different ages, so I think timing and more attitude when they’re ready is the more important issue…

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