Friday, April 21, 2017

Gearing up for Biking Season

The snow is melting in the mountains and bike season is around the corner. Our skis have been put away until next fall, the Thule has been taken off our car, and bikes have been tuned up for another great season of riding.

Now is the time to gear up for biking season and to take all of the necessary steps so that your family is ready to roll! While I definitely don't have all the answers (and honestly can't tell you how to fit 5 bikes and a chariot in your vehicle,) I've learned a few things over the years that should at least serve as inspiration.

Bike Season is here and we're excited!!

1. Bike Gloves! Our Favourite Brand (and worth every penny)


This story is not sponsored, but I really wanted to throw some love at All Out Kids Gear, a family run Alberta business, for introducing us to ZippyRooz and the best pair of kids' bike gloves we've ever owned. My son was given a pair of their half finger bike gloves last summer and we LOVE them.

Bike Gloves for the WIN

Bike gloves are great for climbing
The ZippyRooz gloves have more padding on the palms than the previous kids' bike gloves we got from MEC, and have finger loops to help kids pull their gloves off (without turning them inside out!) They are honestly the best style of bike gloves I've seen yet for kids on the market and are super stretchy so that I can easily get them on my son's hands. (unlike our previous ones where it was always a battle!)

The Zippy Rooz bike gloves come in fun colours and designs along with a full finger version that we'll have to check out for cooler weather next.

And when you're not biking, you can use them for rock climbing, scrambling, and hiking (I make my son wear bike gloves when running down mountains because I don't want him tearing up his skin if he falls down.)

And check out this review on the ZippyRooz Gloves from friends at Rascal Rides.

2. Go Lightweight and just say NO to Department Store Bikes

Regular readers of this blog will know that my son has never known a pair of training wheels or coaster brakes and that we went straight from a Strider balance bike to a 16" Spawn Banshee with hand brakes.

Our first pedal bike, a 16" Spawn Banshee (lightweight and built to last!)

I'm a firm believer in quality when it comes to kids' bikes and you can read some of my previous stories below:

Kids on Wheels - Choosing a Good Bike 

Investing in a Lightweight Kids' Bike - Your child is worth it!

How to Choose a Quality Kids' Bike 

Our second bike: The Spawn Savage 1.0 complete with gears and disc breaks

And I know that Spawn Bikes are not cheap but honestly, they come up second hand every week if you put an alert on Kijiji.

And until your child is ready for a pedal bike, visit our friends at Run Bikes YYC to shop for Strider balance bikes so that you can skip the training wheels and move directly to an amazing lightweight pedal bike, skipping on the latest Walmart special.

(Disclaimer, I have partnered with both Spawn Cycles and Run Bikes YYC to promote their bikes.)

We had so much fun with our orange Strider (and it's still sitting in my garage cause I can't bear to sell it)

3. Create (or join) a Junior Biker Gang 

If I have one accomplishment that I'm possibly most proud of as a outdoor loving parent in Calgary, it's for starting the first Junior Biker Gang in the city (that I know of anyway.) - don't tell me if a plethora of other groups existed before mine.

I started my Junior Biker Gang through the Calgary Outdoor Playgroup Community and it continues to this day with other leaders stepping in to take my place as current coordinators.

The beginning of the Calgary Junior Biker Gang (still going strong today!)

To read more about starting your own biker gang, check out this story I previously published: Kids on Wheels - How to Create your Own Junior Biker Gang.

You can also read about the trip that launched the biker gang here: The Bow Valley Biker  Gang.

Somehow my biker gang has all grown up!

And I don't run organized family "biker gang" events anymore but I definitely plan a lot of family rides around Calgary and in the mountains. If you want to get on my contact list for more information when we head out, send me an email.

Email me if you want to connect for family group rides

4. Make a List (a super fun list of all the trails you want to ride this summer)

I love lists (seriously, they cover my fridge and cupboards) and we make fresh ones for every month of the year, inspiring us to get outside as a family.

I encourage you to sit down as a family and to make a big list of the trails you most want to ride this summer. Put the list in an accessible place and have fun checking off the trails as you complete them.

Biking in Drumheller was the first ride on my list for this spring. CHECK!

For inspiration, here are some stories I've written on bike trails around the Canadian Rockies:

Alberta Bike Trails

The Best Spring Bike Rides in Kananaskis  

The Best Family Bike Trails in Kananaskis 

The Best Family Bike Trails in Canmore  

Gorgeous bike trails in Canmore

The Best Family Bike Trails in Banff National Park

Biking the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail  - With Kids

Tour de Banff - The Ultimate Family Bike Tour

Tour de Banff - The Ultimate Family Mountain Bike Loop

Beautiful Biking around Banff

The Best Family Bike Trails in Jasper

Easy single track riding in Jasper National Park

British Columbia Bike Trails 

Kids on Wheels - Nipika Mountain Resort

Biking the Columbia Valley

Awesome Biking in  the Columbia Valley on Deja View off the Old Coach Trail

The Best Family Bike Trails in Fernie, BC 

Biking the Kettle Valley Railway from Kelowna to Osoyoos

Biking the Kettle Valley Railway from Chute Lake to Penticton

5. Discover your local Bike Park 

I have yet to meet a child who wouldn't have fun at a bike park or pump track. When we visited our first pump track in Canmore, I knew it would become an obsession and a mission to visit every pump track we could find across Alberta and BC.

One of our favourite bike parks in Radium Hot Springs, BC

And while we certainly haven't visited all of the kids' bike parks across AB and BC yet, we are on our way!

Check out my huge resource guide below with information and photos on every bike park and pump track we've visited as a family.

Kids on Wheels - Pump Tracks and Mountain Bike Parks  

Calgary's newest bike park in Fish Creek Provincial Park

Inspiration and Recommended Reading

Campsite to Trail - the Best Campgrounds for Biking Families  (across Southern Alberta and BC)

Rad Biker Boys

Top 10 Family Bike Trails from Kananaskis to Banff - Calgary's Child Magazine

The Best Spring Bike Rides across Southern Alberta and BC - RV and Resort Magazine

10 Ways to Make Biking Fun for Kids - Active for Life

Protect your Head while Bicycling: 7 steps to properly fit a helmet -
Born to Be Adventurous 

Starting a Toddler on a Balance Bike - Tips and Tricks - Tales of a Mountain Mama

Just say NO to Training Wheels - Tales of a Mountain Mama

Spring is here and it's time to get the bikes out

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