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    @GetOutThereAustralia: Our Experience with the Mac Ride Kid’s Bike Seat

    @GetOutThereAustralia: Our Experience with the Mac Ride Kid’s Bike Seat

    We’re so grateful to have such a strong community out there on the trails using our seat. One such family, who’s been there from the beginning, is @GetOutThereAustralia. This adventurous family is made up of Lynn (mom), Michael (dad) and Zachary — the little shredder himself.
     
    This intrepid group was also one of the original backers of the crowdfunding project and have been out on the trails with their Mac Ride seat since May 2016. Zachary was only two years old when he climbed up onto his parent's bike to start adventuring. Now, the family is travelling across Australia in their caravan and on their mountain bikes. We’re sure they’re enjoying every moment of their adventures, and we love to follow along! But you don’t have to take our word for it. Lynn was kind enough to let us know first-hand about some of their triumphs, tales, and bumps in the trail.
     
    Tell us about one of your most recent biking adventures.
     
    Our most recent Mac Ride adventure has us riding 30 km along the Australian coastline, ending up in a little town called Goolwa where we caught a steam engine trail back to our starting point.
     
    What’s your favourite thing about biking with kids?
     
    We always get quite a lot of attention with the Mac Ride when exploring various towns, and we are always happy to chat and share our praise for the bike seat. Influencing other families to get out and explore is something we enjoy, and the Mac Ride bike seat certainly helps to create epic adventures!
     
    How has the Mac Ride child’s bike seat positively impacted your families adventures together?
     
    It is always so much fun to hear Zachary squeal with excitement when we ride over little jumps, berms or technical trail features. He has never turned down an opportunity to come for a ride with us, and it has meant that my husband and I still get to ride together, which is something we did a lot of before having a child. Being able to get out on our bikes together helped a lot with my recovery from postpartum depression, and I cannot thank Ashley and the Mac Ride creators enough for making such an awesome, adventure-filled child’s bike seat.
     
    What are a few other items on your “must-have” list for biking with kids?
     
    We always carry an extra sweater in a backpack in case Zac gets cold while riding. We are always prepared with snacks, water, the Trailforks app to help prevent getting lost, and a sense of adventure. We also do a bit of geocaching at times which gives Zachary a bit of a break during longer rides while he hunts for 'treasure.'
     
    What was your experience like when you first used the seat and helped Zachary get comfortable on the bike with you?
     
    We honestly couldn't believe how easy the seat was to get onto the bike. We were also impressed that it didn't rub against our carbon frames like some other seats. Zachary took to it straight away and had no issues getting comfortable with it all. Our legs had to get used to pushing around a bit of extra weight, but since we have to ride slower with him on it, it still gives us a decent workout despite the slower speed.
     
    This family sure knows how to make memories, and getting families to go out and explore is something we enjoy, too! Zachary is growing up with a sense of the world, and his capabilities and the stories he’ll have are going to be pretty cool! If you want to follow the adventures of GetOutThereAustralia, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.
     
    Have a story about your experience with Mac Ride? Want to tell us about the best trail you’ve been able to take your child on? Perhaps you have a funny experience to share that other parents could relate to. Contact us because we’d love to hear about your experience with Mac Ride and maybe even feature you on the Blog and our newsletter!

    Why We Prefer Balance Bikes to Training Wheels — All Day, Every Day

    Why We Prefer Balance Bikes to Training Wheels — All Day, Every Day

    Chances are that if you opened up the archives of your memory and thought back to how you learned to ride a bike, a pair of training wheels would come to mind. These popular contraptions caused many a scrape and scar or a little scare with tetanus, thanks to the rusted sharp edges common on a twisted pair of hand-me-down training wheels. So why do some continue to suffer through this method of teaching children to ride a bike? We have learned the wonder of the balance bike and we can say, full steam ahead with the balance bike brigade! Why do we prefer them over the methods of the past? Here are a few of the reasons we joined Team Balance Bike to help you decide what method is right for you.
     
    Teaches Balance
    The biggest skill required to ride a bike is balance. If a child learns to pedal but doesn’t learn to balance, the minute you take the training wheels off, it’s like learning a completely new skill. Training wheels don’t actually train your child how to bike. If anything, a bike with training wheels on it is something completely separate from a bike. Alternatively, with a balance bike, kids are learning to balance first and foremost. When they’re ready to put the pedal to the metal, the foundational knowledge is there, not to mention, they know if they start to tip, they can just put their feet out.
     
    Opportunity to explore different terrain
    Training wheels aren’t very manoeuvrable. Even the slightest change in terrain or uneven ground can cause the bike to tip or the wheels to bend and get damaged. With a balance bike, a child is learning to steer and lean naturally without being hindered by the stabilizers, or training wheels, getting in their way. When it comes to dirt or grass or even uneven asphalt, a balance bike will be able to handle it, whereas a bike with training wheels will be held back by the very wheels that are supposed to be helping. A balance bike allows kids to explore other terrain and doesn’t limit them to a flat area of cement. Falling on grass is also a lot nicer — too bad training wheels and grass don’t seem to mix. Oh well, another win for balance bikes!
     
    Gives Confidence
    When a child learns to bike with training wheels, they develop a bit of dependency, which acts as a crutch. The minute it’s time to take those wheels off and they find themselves tipping a bit or even falling, their confidence is shattered. Because a child on a balance bike has been balancing and steering in the same manner, the transition is a lot less daunting and foreign. Biking with kids on balance bikes feels a lot less stressful to us as parents, too. They’re always hopping on and off and running around unhindered because the bikes are low enough for them to touch the ground. This makes riding our bikes around with them, no matter what terrain, a lot more enjoyable.
     
    We’re huge fans of balance bikes as the method of teaching kids to ride a bike. By using a child's bike seat to help our children understand the feeling of a bike in motion, and then a balance bike when they were a bit older, our kids were excited to start pedalling on their own and felt more prepared and at ease. Balance bikes may look like little baby bikes, but they’re effective ways of teaching your child to be independent and confident when it comes to biking on their own. So, are you ready to step away from the training wheels? We’d highly recommend it.
     
    If your child is interested in getting out on biking adventures with you and a balance bike won't cut it for a long day of adventure, try out a Mac Ride seat and bring them along for the ride. Using a child's bike seat, like Mac Ride, along with a balance bike for shorter, more independent riding was a great way for us to get our kids biking.

    Are Your Kids Afraid to Bike? Here Are Some Ideas to Get Your Kids from Fearful to Fearless

    Are Your Kids Afraid to Bike? Here Are Some Ideas to Get Your Kids from Fearful to Fearless

    With any kind of new activity, there's always a bit of fear for most children. Learning to ride a bike can be scary. Riding a bike for one child will be terrifying whereas for another they can’t wait to get out there. Have you got a little daredevil on your hands who can’t wait to be on a black diamond? Perhaps your child is more nervous and still has not lifted their feet to test out their balance. If your child is a little apprehensive about learning to ride a bike, here are a few tips and tricks we've tried or heard about from parents trying to help their kids overcome their fear of riding a bike.
     
    1. Be Patient — There’s No Need to Rush!
    There'll be a certain amount of resistance when there's fear. We’re big fans of providing a huge amount of encouragement and letting our kids grow at their own pace. Stay calm so that they'll be able to calm their own nerves, too. We’ve found that our kids want to be biking just like mom and dad, and they seem to always know their own comfort levels. Our job is simply to be there to give them the bike they want to ride when they want to ride it.
     
    2. Strider Bikes
    A strider bike or a balance bike is a great way to introduce biking without the fear of having to lift the feet off the ground. For a child who’s more fearful, this can be a great way to test out the waters. We’ve found that if a pedal bike is nearby, children will let you know when they want to try it out. Until then, a balance or strider bike is a great way for them to get more comfortable with biking.
     
    3. Keep Your Fears to Yourself
    As a parent, you go out of your way to protect your child. You may be aware of all the falls and scrapes that could happen, but the trick is to not let your child fixate on these things that could happen. Biking is tons of fun! When a child is focused on the fun they’re having, it’s easy to forget all the “what if” injuries.
     
    4. Let Them Know That Failure Is OK
    If your child's learning to ride on a balance bike, let them practice falling over on a soft spot. If you have a tumble yourself, show them your scrape or bruise. Explain that it was sore for a bit, but that it’ll be ok, and you learned a lot from your fall. Regardless of falling, you’re still excited to get back on the trail and try again. A little bit of slapstick humour can go a long way. Making a little fall seem kind of funny can sometimes help that fear your child is feeling.
     
    5. Provide an Example
    Get on your bike and pedal around slowly. Let them see how you move and how the bike moves. Point out to them that this is NOT how you biked when you first learned. Share some funny stories about when you learned to ride. Get your child laughing with you about some of your more hilarious biking moments as a kid, or even as an adult! After all, we’re all still learning to ride a bike.
     
    6. Positive Reinforcement
    When your child gets on a bike, cheer! When they balance around the yard for the first time, cheer! When they get on a kid's bike seat and grab hold for the first time, cheer! Let them know how impressed you are with their bravery.
     
    7. Introduce Your Child to Mac Ride
    Being with mom or dad on their bike, nestled in their arms and chatting together can be an excellent development stage for children who are apprehensive about their own bikes. You can share what it’s like to go around corners, help them build confidence with holding onto your bars, and all that important (and fun!) stuff. Truthfully, we most often hear about children begging to zoom about on Mac Ride, faster and more often. We’ve had a few families let us know that the Mac Ride was the right step for their child who was feeling anxious about biking. It eased them into wanting to do more themselves.
     
    We've found that with patience and time, our children can overcome this fear and be even more fearless than we are sometimes. There are some great links for reading about runner bikes, comparing them to training wheels, and also on pedal bikes for young kids. If you're ready to get your toddler a Mac Ride bike seat, check out our selection online. Start the conversation with them now to see how they feel about getting on a bike for the first time.

    How Mountain Biking Together Has Created More Family Quality Time

    How Mountain Biking Together Has Created More Family Quality Time

    Ever had a self-doubting day? One of those days where your toddler was pushing all of your buttons that morning? They wouldn’t put on their socks, brush their teeth or listen to a single thing you said. All day long, you thought about it and dwelled on one single question, “Am I doing enough?”
     
    As parents, we can be extremely hard on ourselves. Always wondering if we’re doing the right things, saying the right things, or spending the right amount of time with our kids. In a world where we’re all juggling family, work, hobbies, and other commitments, we can end up feeling like our kids are suffering thanks to our busy schedules.
     
    There’s a reason for the saying quality over quantity. It’s called quality time, not quantity time. You could spend every waking moment with your child, but if you weren’t fully present, it wouldn’t have the positive effects that you think it would. Children are a lot more observant than we give them credit for. They can tell when your mind is elsewhere. We have found our children asking us to put our smartphones away while at the park more often than we care to admit!
     
    So, here are a few tips on how to make the time you have with your child Quality Time.
     
    Schedule it in
    The best way to make sure you’re spending quality time with your child is to get it on the schedule. You’re juggling a lot, so make sure when you have those quality moments with your child that you’re present and in the moment. When we schedule our lives a little better, it can be easier to shut off the worry and focus on the moment at hand.
     
    Get outside together
    Kids love the outdoors and being in nature is healthy for us adults, too. Our family loves to bike together, that’s where the idea for the Mac Ride kids bike seat came to be. It allowed our family to get out on the trail and go biking with the kids when they got a little older and wanted to be part of the action. Getting your kids biking or hiking with the family is a great way to keep active and share valuable life lessons together. If you can spend quality time with your kids doing activities you enjoy, too, it’s easier to be present. Exploring new places and interacting with nature is a great activity to engage in with your children.
     
    Cut yourself some slack
    You are not a superhero, you are a super parent. Even Superman and Wonder Woman had their bad days and moments of doubt. Cut yourself some slack. Instead of asking yourself if you’re spending enough time with your children, ask yourself what kinds of activities you could enjoy together. Don’t beat yourself up about those difficult mornings and question all of your choices and decisions. When you’re feeling guilty or stressed, this will affect the time you spend with your child. So take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I’m doing just fine,” and then check into those quality moments with your child — without the guilt.
     
    Take some time for yourself to recharge
    Never forget the importance of “me time.” Yes, it’s vital to make sure you’re spending quality time with your children, but as we‘ve all probably experienced, if you’re guilty or stressed, the quality of the time spent will be negatively affected. Make sure to recharge and take care of yourself so that when you do show up to those quality moments, you’re bringing your best self.
     
    There’s no scientific way to know how much quality time your child needs with you. Each child will have different needs. These needs will also change based on their age and friend group. What we do know is that your child needs those quality moments of attentiveness, and you can’t be fully present if your mind is elsewhere. Next time you find yourself wondering if you’re spending enough quality time with your child, ask how you can spend more quality time with them instead. Or better yet, how you can improve on the time you already have.
     
    Biking with kids has always been a great way for our family to spend quality time together. We’ve used many kids bike seats throughout the years. We’ve biked with babies and toddlers and used many different methods. Our time spent biking as a family has brought us both joy and tantrums, but it is always quality time. We all enjoy being out on the trail. Biking as a family gives us a chance to get some exercise, make lasting memories, and teach our children. Think biking is the right activity for your family? Check out the Mac Ride kids bike seat and get your child up front on the adventure.

    Winter Biking with the Kids? No Problem, but Gear Up with These Tips First

    Winter Biking with the Kids? No Problem, but Gear Up with These Tips First

    It’s that time of year already for those of us North of the Equator! We’ve all put the snow tires on the car, and we’re ready for snow. It’s also the time when many of us have already put our bikes away for the winter. But what if, instead of patiently waiting for the spring, you got ready for some winter wonderland adventures?
     
    Everyone’s version of winter will be different depending on where you live. If you have colder winters with frequent snow, you’ll need more winter gear. For rainier climates like the west coast of Canada, rain gear and windbreakers will be necessary.
     
    So, what do you need to remember for winter biking?
     
    It's Getting Dark Out There
    Days are much shorter in the winter, and this means darker mornings and evenings. Instead of worrying about the diminished light, try bringing lots of light with you. Outfit your bike with plenty of light, so that you’re easily visible and attach lights to your little one and yourself. Make sure to also bring a headlamp to help you navigate if you find yourself in particularly dark conditions. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. We go out for a ride, end up losing track of time, and it starts getting dark on your way home. Don’t get stuck in a situation like this, plan ahead. Make sure you have plenty of light in the winter, and this won’t be such a big issue.
     
    Your Bike Needs its Winter Gear, Too
    Winter conditions call for a few adjustments to your bike. With mountain bikes, you already have nice, wide gripping pedals. That’ll give you more stability if you’re out riding with bigger footwear for the cooler temperatures.
     
    It can also help to change out the tires on your bike for winter. If biking with your kids in the winter is on your list of things to do this year, invest in good quality winter tires for your winter environment. On the west coast, when it does snow, it can get slushy and slippery. In some cases, this slush freezes into a dangerously uneven, icy surface. If you get heavy snowfall in the winters, consider buying wider tires that are designed for the snow.
     
    Balance bikes in the snow can be made even more fun by attaching a ski kit to them. Kids biking in the winter can seem like a lot of work, but we’ve found that it’s a lot of fun and worth the added effort to be prepared.
     
    Dress to Impress in the Winter
    Impress mother nature with your seasonal prowess by dressing effectively for the temperature and conditions. Layering is key in the winter. It allows you to be more flexible if the weather changes or your child gets too warm.
     
    Make sure everyone has a base layer with wicking properties to move sweat and moisture away from the skin. Nothing is worse than cotton shirts that get wet and turn cold when they dry. Next, add a mid-layer for insulation, like fleece or wool. Make your jacket suits the conditions you are riding in. If it’s a chilly, rainy day, you’ll need a rain shell to keep dry. If you’re in freezing temperatures with snow, opt for a snowsuit or big warm snow jacket. Also, gloves. Gloves are extremely important, especially in the cold months of winter. Make sure you have an extra pair in case they get wet. This rule applies to socks, too. And lastly, make sure you keep your head warm with a winter hat under the helmet or a specifically designed helmet for winter. These clothing rules apply to everyone on the ride. However, your child is up front and they will not be working as hard as you are to peddle. Make sure they are dressed extra warm to be able to enjoy the ride in cooler temperatures.
     
    Taking your kids’ biking in the winter months can be a lot of fun, but they require a little more work than in warmer months. You may have to pack a little more than usual, but the terrain is new and undiscovered, which makes the same old adventures something to look forward to. If you’re using a child's bike seat, remember they’re exposed to wind a bit more than a carriage behind.
     
    Helpful tip: bring something for them to cover their face with if it gets cold from the wind. Try Buff, they make kids sizes, they’re super comfy, and we’re big fans.
     
    We believe in family adventures year round. Getting out on the trail together doesn’t stop just because the days are shorter and the temperatures are lower. If you’re prepared for the season, winter biking can be an exciting adventure for the whole family. The biggest trick we have found is always making sure that the kids are dressed appropriately. Check out this great little video to help you remember all the right gear for a ride.
     
    Looking for a child's bike seat for your toddler to enjoy the trails with you this winter? Shop our inventory and be ready for that first picture perfect, sunny snow day.