|5 Members of the Bow Valley Biker Gang|
We turned off Hwy 1 just past the Hwy 40 turnoff for Kananaskis and headed for the Bow Valley Provincial Park Information Centre and Headquarters for the park. We then parked at the winter gate closure by the Middle Lake Day Use Area and gathered the troops. Some of the younger ones showed up in diapers or training pants and some showed up with a stroller or bicycle seat mounted on the back of mom or dad's bike, but every child above the age of 2 showed up with their own bicycle. The majority of kids were between the ages of 3 and 4 and not one of them had pedals or training wheels on their bike. We had 10 preschoolers on balance bikes and they were ready to hit the open pavement and take over the park!
|Middle Lake - the start of our journey|
|Even a 2 year old can ride a bike in Bow Valley with Daddy at his side|
|Gliding down one of the gentle hills in Bow Valley|
We reached the Elk Flats Playground and met to regroup. It was a great destination for the kids at maybe 1.5km one way from Middle Lake and snacks were definitely appreciated at this point. A couple families decided to turn back but the rest of us continued on towards the Many Springs Trailhead for a short 1km loop hike. The total bike and hike distance for the day was about 5km which was ambitious, but we knew the older children would be able to make it. The younger kids would jump into their Chariots or hop on the back of a parent's bike when they tired out.
|The trail started to get much wetter past this point|
|Riding on the Many Springs Trail|
|Trying to get to the boardwalk - in sandals|
|Crossing the boardwalk - again in sandals|
|Taking a Chariot across the boardwalk that is normally well above the water level!|
|Unsafe Parenting Since 2009 (my husband's joke)|
|My son having the time of his life on the Best.Trail.Ever!|
|Navigating a flat easy section of the Elk Flats Trail|
|Noah tackling one of the bigger hills|
|This truly shows how light a Strider bike is!|
|Noah making his way down the final hill on the Elk Flats Trail|
|An excellent photo that demonstrates the balance learned on a Strider bike|
Do you have a favourite trail in the Canadian Rockies that we should try out with our Strider balance bike? Ideas for bike-hiking in the area? We'd love to hear them.
End Notes: This story was not sponsored by Strider Sports but we LOVE our Strider pre-bike and can't say enough about how much confidence it has given our son. We hope to move on to pedals soon but for the moment, we are loving the freedom this little bike gives us. Children as young as 2 can learn to ride one and children often transition to their first pedal bike without ever knowing a set of training wheels - our goal! I also love that we can go for bike-hikes with our Strider. Whenever the trail gets too difficult to ride, I just pick the bike up and carry it. This is something you can not do with a steel-framed bike, pedals or no pedals. We are planning our first overnight bikepacking trip this summer and the kids will all be on bikes. We are excited to see how it turns out and you can expect a great trip report from it. For more information on the Strider bikes, check out their website at http://striderbikes.com/. Canadians can find out more about Strider bikes on the Canadian website for Strider Sports.
Also, please note that if you are heading to Bow Valley Provincial Park this weekend, the roads are now open so be careful on them and stick to the right hand side. The water level on the Many Springs Trail will also still be very high.