Biking with kids and eating donuts
One of the first adventure type rides we tried, we failed miserably. Two hours to prep and load the van, get to the trail, 15 minutes in and one of the kids is crying, the other just miserable, the works. It happens. Its part of being a parent, screaming at the sky in frustration and then saying, ok... I need a time out that might involve this beer going with me. When we get home, we play board games and put it all behind us.
The hubby and I generally force the kids to ride when they're against it. And most of the time their moods change for the positive. That change is generally because we've bribed them with a sweet treat along the rail to trail, or involved a new snack item in the panniers. Parent power with food! *my kids don't get a lot of sweets or processed food. Dangle a donut or Doritos in front of them and they'll start salivating.
The one thing we try and take into account is the amount of time it takes to wrangle the bikes, locks, snacks, pump, tools, the kids and then some. Unfortunately we live in an area that in order to enjoy a long distance ride, we have to load up the mini van and drive at least 25minutes. For all of you who don't have that problem, I'm jealous and will hopefully live in a town with the ability to ride from house to a long distance trail with my kids in tow soon.
After a half hour of loading, not losing our cool with the impatient or possibly ornery kids, getting the dog set up with toys and treats, we are ready to go! Now to the rail to trail to unload it all and have an amazing day.
Accept that stopping every couple miles is a possibility and going at a nice easy pace is ok. We have reached a point with our kiddos where the 7yr old can ride about 5 miles before feeling needing to stop. He can do about 10-15miles on his own. But the 11yr old has the ability to ride longer and on a good day at a steady pace. On a bad day... well thats another blog.
I've grown to love the idea of slowing down and not being in a hurry as often as possible. I'm usually the one who insinuates stopping and looking at a scenic view, finding a bog to look for tadpoles or trekking down a hill to throw rocks in the river. Discovering nature, yeah!
Something very important to all parents or awesome friends and family who take out other peoples kids out, riding with your kids is not a contest. It doesn't matter if you and your kiddos ride for 30minutes and then call it done, or if they can ride for 50miles with ease. It's not about how far you ride, how fast or what kind of bike you or your kids are on, what clothes you wear, etc. For our family, it's about just getting out of the house, clearing our heads, burning an excess amount of energy (especially out of little man), maybe going to a fishing spot, or just a reason to eat ice cream or donuts.
So for whatever reason, grab your bikes, some snacks and go have a family adventure.