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    News — biking with babies

    Tools & Tips to Avoid Getting Stranded While Trail Riding

    Tools & Tips to Avoid Getting Stranded While Trail Riding

    Unexpected things can happen on the trail, especially when you factor kids into the mix. As parents, we find ourselves spending countless hours trying to prepare for everything yet still manage to forget to go for that last bathroom break before leaving the house. We don't know about you, but we definitely ran into a few “oh-no” moments on the trail even before we had kids. Now, biking with babies or children has magnified the worry tenfold that we could get stuck on a trail with our kids.
     
    We've found a few helpful things to always remember before setting out on an adventure with the kids. They might help keep your mind at ease should anything pop-up unexpectedly.
     
    Flats
    The biggest and most common issue we've dealt with as bikers is dealing with an unexpected flat tire. A flat tire is a fast way to flatline any adventure (sorry, we couldn’t resist). We make it a point of factoring tire care into our pre-trip bike maintenance check. Are our tires pumped up? Are they showing any damage or wear and tear? Do we have a patch kit and a pump along for the ride? If we can answer these questions the right way then we breathe a little easier knowing we aren't going to get stuck trail riding with a flat — with or without kids.
     
    What to ALWAYS pack
    No matter how long our ride, we always pack a few necessities. When you're biking up a hill with your toddler’s weight and the weight of all these “in-case” supplies, it can be a bit hard not to day-dream about leaving some of them behind. We've found the peace of mind these items bring us irreplaceable.
     
    • Extra water - you can never have enough hydration. We have even heard of some people packing purification tablets or some form of water purification methods. Purifying river water on the trail can be an entertaining activity with your children as well.
     
    • Emergency Kit - a cut or scrape is as magnetic to a child as a bee to a flower. There's no real way to avoid those little accidents that happen on the trail. We always have a First Aid Kit and plenty of lights for after dark should we need them.
     
    • Snacks - We all pack snacks as parents to avoid the hangry child. What once was sweet and innocent is suddenly akin to the Hulk searching for a city to destroy. Snacks — you can never have too many we’ve found.
     
    • Waterproof Case - As much as we hate it, our phones are a massive part of our life and can provide a feeling of security and safety. I don't even want to think about running into trouble on the trail and not having a charged and working phone.
     
    • Basic Repairs Kit - This can be as intense or as basic as you like. We tend only to bring the tools along we think are necessary (a spare spoke, zip ties, multi-tool, a master link for the chain, spare tubes, and a pump). The longer the trip, the more we would bring. We also don't bother bringing things along for repairs that we ourselves don't even know how to do.
     
    • Clothing for the conditions - We don’t even want to think about being stuck on the trail with our kids against our will after dark. These unexpected situations are the ones we plan for though. We always make sure to pack for any kind of weather for the season. If it's a longer trip and walking back home or calling for help may become an issue, we bring even more, just in case.
     
    Trip Planning
    Before we had kids, our rides were a little more intense. Longer rides, more advanced trails, and even a lack of cell reception meant creating a trip plan was a must. Knowing the trailhead, the planned route, and the expected duration of the ride were all critical information to know and share with someone before the adventure itself. Now, as parents, we tend to stay a little closer to cell range and on trails that are more suitable with kids. This idea of letting someone at home know where we're going for those longer trips is still a reflex, though. And we're sure glad that it is.
     
    Part of our biking adventure preparation is making sure the Mac Ride kids bike seat is secure and safely installed. We make sure we have this seat even if the kids are bringing their own bikes. You never know when little ones will get tired or have a bad day. We may not be able to supply you with water purification tablets or spare tubes, but we can provide you with all the gear you'll need to install your Mac Ride kids bike seat safely. Shop online today and make sure you have everything to make sure your little adventurer is comfy cozy on the trail.

    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.