Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Mountain Bike Partner is 6 Years Old - and he's better than me

You laugh, but it's true.  Almost everything I've learned about mountain biking has occurred while biking with my 6 year old son.  Friends have offered helpful pieces of advice and have certainly given this newbie biker mom some valuable instruction, but nothing has taught me how to just "commit" like biking with a fearless child has!

Below are a few highlights from our biking season thus far for 2015.  I can only imagine what I'll be sharing come September!!

A new year and a new bike!

Noah gets a new bike (and gears rock!)

Rockin' The new 20" Spawn bike

Friends keep asking me what Noah is riding these days.  Well, let me tell you, he's got the sweetest bike out there!  He's riding the Spawn Savage 1.0 20" bike, complete with disc brakes and gears.  Tell me, does your bike have disc brakes?  Mine certainly doesn't!  It's no shock that Noah makes it down hills that I am skidding out on.  His brakes are awesome - and now I want disc brakes on my next bike. 

The 1.0 version of the Spawn Savage does not have shocks but we figured shocks would just add extra weight and be overkill for the kind of riding Noah does.  (I could be wrong soon.)  However, Noah doesn't seem to miss or need them yet and he rides over plenty of roots and rocks without complaining.

And having gears on this bike has made a huge difference in our family rides!  Noah makes it up hills he would have walked before, and has a lot more endurance for the longer rides. 

How much does a bike like this cost?  Well, I admit it's a bit.  But, before you choke at the cost of the bike, $749.00 in Canadian dollars, let me break it down for you:
We hope Noah will be riding it for at least two years (maybe three since a 20" bike is what kids ages 6-9 should typically be riding.)  So that's $374.50 per year (less if used for three years.)
He will be riding it hard for at least 6 months a year (hopefully 8 months.)  At 7 months, it comes out to $53.50 per month.

Now, how much do you pay for your kids to go to gymnastics?  Dance?   Hockey?... - and you will be able to sell the Spawn bike when you are done with it (for at least $350.00 if it's in good condition.) 

Finally, you should be able to pass it down to a younger sibling (or sell it for a good price if you have one child) which means at least two kids get to ride it and the cost goes down to $26.75 per month when it's split between two children!! Really, too expensive??

His confidence is soaring on his new Spawn bike

How much does the bike weigh?  20lbs.  That's it.  And trust me it makes a big difference when it comes to hill climbing or helping your child push his/her bike up a steep hill.  A couple of weeks ago I had to carry it down some big stairs on a hike-a-bike section of trail and I was certainly glad it was light then!!

To order a Spawn bike for your child, order it directly from the Spawn Cycles website.  It's the easiest and fastest method.  (Most stores are sold out if you wanted to purchase it locally.)


Our new favourite spot to go biking:  Calgary's Paskapoo Slopes

Last year we did a lot of easier mountain bike riding and I believe I can be quoted as saying that I really didn't like single track, had no interest in downhill riding, and that I liked old gravel roads.  Things have changed a bit and Noah and I now spend a lot of time biking the Paskapoo Slopes east of Canada Olympic Park.

A typical "after school" bike ride for us

We've been taking friends with us and we're trying to master all of the intermediate trails on the slopes.  We started with the easy trails and realized we were ready to tackle harder hills after a few rides.  And I'm slowly starting to build the confidence required to ride the same trails as my 6 year old bike partner (who crushed me one day and rode at least 5 hills that I had to walk out of total and complete fear.)

A month ago I would have walked down this hill.

If you want to help us save these slopes from development, please sign the petition at the Save the Slopes website.  I'm not normally a big political activist but I get pretty angry and upset every time I think about developers paving over my playground!!

Spawn Biker Gang on the Paskapoo Slopes

New Trails:  Banff Tunnel Bench Loop - Check

We started tackling this intermediate mountain biking loop in Banff last summer and I remember very clearly my husband telling me that Noah would not be able to bike the narrow "exposed" part above the Cascade River until he was older.  I took his word for it (especially since he told me it would be too tricky for me too) but I couldn't let it rest.  I really wanted to finish the loop!

Biking the narrow section of the Tunnel Bench Loop in Banff

Fortunately, while camping in Banff a couple weeks ago, I found a friend willing to go "test" the trail with me and I decided that not only would it be doable for Noah, it would be EASY for Noah.  And what exposure??? (at least till I watched the GoPro videos after.)

To see what kinds of trails Noah is riding these days, watch the video below and I will not be offended if you just watch the first minute or two.  I know it's looooong.

And for more information on this bike trail (and others in Banff like it) read my story on the Best Family Bike Trails in Banff National Park.



New Trails:  Goat Creek (Canmore to Banff) - Check

This is the other big trail that we have biked as a family so far this season and it's kind of a big deal.  We rode 19km from Canmore to Banff and the trail was not paved for a single minute.  This was backcountry mountain biking and was not as easy as I had been lead to believe.  At least not for a 6 year old.

There's more photos and information in my story on the Best Family Bike Trails in Kananaskis.

Crossing the bridge over goat Creek

Skills:  Not your Grandma's Teeter Totter

This is the kind of stuff we do in the evening before bed.



Skills:  Mastering the Bike Park Features at Canada Olympic Park

We went to the bike park near our house last week and Noah found the ramps, boardwalks, and jumps.  He got a smile on his face and immediately tried to ride one of the biggest features .  Below is a short video of one of the harder features he totally nailed while there.  And never fell once I might add.

I suspect we'll be spending at lot of time at Canada Olympic Park this summer.  Thank God we got an annual family pass!



And Noah's taking mountain biking lessons this summer

It should come as no shock that we've figured perhaps Noah should take some mountain bike lessons this summer.  After all, God forbid I'd catch up and become as good as him.  Gotta keep him a level or two beyond me!  He's signed up for mountain bike camp at Canada Olympic Park and we're pretty excited to see him learn a new trick or two.

More information on the great camps offered by WinSport at Canada Olympic Park can be found in my recent story:  Where to Find the Most "Fun and Unique" Summer Camps in Calgary.

Biking on the Slopes East of Canada Olympic Park

Final Photos of my Rad Bike Kids

We do a lot of biking with #radkids - follow that hashtag on Instagram to see all of my photos. 
Here are just a few of my favourite shots from this spring.

Biking the Bow Falls - Hoodoos Trail in Banff
My Biker Gang on the Paskapoo Slopes in Calgary
Look who discovered the Banff Bike Park
#OutdoorKidsRock - yes look for that hashtag too

Big Thanks to:

Spawn Cycles - for giving us the best bike a 6 year old could ever have.

WinSport and Canada Olympic Park - We are going to have a blast playing at the bike park this summer and riding the trails at the park.  We also can't wait for summer bike camp!

The awesome folks fighting to save the Paskapoo Slopes in Calgary from development.  Find out more and join us in supporting a great cause by visiting the website at Save the Slopes. Kids don't need more shopping malls.  They need green space, trails, wild areas to play in, and free land.


  1. Look so happy. I must wait at least 6 months to enjoy a mountain bike trip with my kid.

  2. Hi there! We are going to have a blast playing at the bike park this summer and riding the trails at the park. We also can't wait for summer bike camp!

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  5. We are considering a spawn frame for our 5 year old, but she is pretty short (100cm), how tall is Noah?


    1. My son had his first spawn bike when he was 4 and it was a 16" bike. I would start there. Most kids won't move on to a 20" bike with gears until they are 6.