Family Bike Trips
Family bicycling is gaining speed as an affordable, active way for the family to enjoy time together.
Bonding Through Bikes
The simple and fun adventure of the bicycle is a great way for families to reinvent the family vacation, says Chris Holmes, director of family programming for Schwinn, which has been a biking icon for more than 100 years.
"Bicycling is a great inexpensive way to build family ties and keeps the kids happy, excited and on the move," says Holmes. "When you ride together there are no distractions like phones, televisions or computers to keep you from talking. It's also an activity for all ages. Most family bike treks have no minimum age – under-4s can ride in trailers. And, even grandparents can hop on board on a tandem."
The positive side effects of family biking speak volumes about why bicycling can satisfy all family needs: better health, cleaner environment, cheap transportation, quality time together, teaching teamwork and teaching self-reliance that children can get places – on their own – quickly and cheaply.
The key to launching a family biking plan is creativity, spontaneity and being ready to turn any time into time for a spin, says Holmes.
- Why not make your life easier and gear up before you hit the road? Carve out a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon to spend time with the kids gearing up your bikes, and your bodies will follow through. Make sure the chains are oiled, the brakes are tight and there is enough air in all the tires so you are all ready for impromptu rides. For more tips on gearing up, check out www.familybiking.com.
- Ride big without spending big. You don't have to have the Lance Armstrong model to enjoy a ride. Families of all budgets can find affordable models like Schwinn at large retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us.
- Be slow and social. For family biking to be fun for all, you really need to make sure everyone agrees on the type and length of the outing. Casual rides or tripping around town? Weekend camping biking or an organized bike club outing?
- Pledge to pedal and start your own family fund-raiser. There are dozens of charity organizations that stage charity cycling events. But if you're a parent who wants to get your kids to care, what could be more fun – and meaningful – than gearing up your friends, family and neighborhood to stage its own cycling event.
- Start a family bicycling club. They offer camaraderie, training, events and the knowledge gained from other families. Many are held on weeknights, allowing families to get some fresh air and quality time together. Pack a picnic and make it a family dinner too. For more information call your local bike shop.