The other evening our family was out for an after dinner bike ride along the Ottawa River Pathway and we met up with Karen, from Mountain Equipment Co-op, who was out scouting a bike route for MEC's BikeFest that will be help at LeBreton Flats on May 13. While the kids road ahead on the bike path, Karen and I introduced ourselves and chatted. This is what I love about bike paths. You can relax a little and socialize because the kids can ride safely.
On the way through our neighbourhood to the bike path, I'm always on high alert because there's so much for our five-year-old Jasper to think about. He's getting better with every ride, but he still wobbles when he starts and stops. And that's challenging when we're crossing streets together. But on the path, he can just keep riding and only has to think about staying to the right of the yellow line and being considerate of pedestrians and other cyclists. I spent the first few months of his early riding days running beside him so I could be by his side on the starts and stops. But now he just needs the occasional helping hand.
At a cycling in cities conference I attended last fall, a speaker from the Netherlands, Angela van der Kloof, said that Dutch parents typically spend thousands of hours teaching their kids to ride bikes. Hearing that made me realize just how much there is to learn about cycling safely with other cyclists, pedestrians and on the road once you learn how to ride a bike without training wheels. And it reinforced for me why I love riding with the kids so much. It's amazing to see them learn and grow on two wheels. I love to share in their confidence and new found capabilities. And I want to make sure the kids have all the knowledge, skills and experience to ride safely wherever and whenever they want to go for the rest of their lives.
Angela showed some slides that have Dutch parents reaching down from their bikes to give their kids a little push on the back when they're going uphill. I've been doing that with Jasper this spring because hills can be tough when you're on a single speed. And as long as I give him a push before he gets too tired, he makes it up to the top of the hill easily.
Stay tuned for more info on:
-The Enviro Centre's Bike Month Activities including special work place programs
-The launch of RightBike, a neighbourhood bike sharing project
-Capital Bixi Bikes expanding stations and bicycles (they're actually rolling back into town on Sunday April 15)
-A very special and brand new ride that Citizens for Safe Cycling is organizing
-School bike clubs and bike rodeos
-A family friendly bike parade
And...Capital VeloFest, the second edition. (That's actually in June, but it's seen by many to be the official party at the end of a fabulous and very successful and inspiring Bike Month).
How are you celebrating Bike Month?
Got family biking stories to share? I'm listening! families[AT]momentummagDOTcom