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    News — biking with kids

    An Interview with a Mac Ride Family: Justin & Wenonah

    An Interview with a Mac Ride Family: Justin & Wenonah

    macride-kids-wenonah
    We love reviews and feedback on the Mac Ride kid’s bike seat. What we love even more is hearing from families, like Wenonah’s, about all the great memories they have from biking with their kids. We love sharing these interviews with you and hope that they give you some ideas for family biking adventures or how to get the most out of Mac Ride.
     
    When did your family start using a Mac Ride seat?
     
    We saw the initial Kickstarter ad and immediately bought into the concept of the Mac Ride and ended up investing in it.
     
    What was the catalyst that made you decide to purchase the Mac Ride seat instead of other kids bike seat on the market?
     
    We liked that it would not be the type of seat where she sat back and did nothing, but our child would be involved in our ride, holding onto the handlebars and feeling how the bike handled during a ride.
     
    Where has your favourite family adventure been so far together? Why?
     
    The best ride was a 16-mile ride in Patapsco State Park (just south of Baltimore, MD). We brought snacks and spent the majority of the day traversing the trails. This trail isn't tame and included large climbs, downhill sections, stream crossings, and technical sections. Being smart and safe, we walked sections that were too sketchy. It was a great day on the bike.
     
    Do you think the Mac Ride seat helped your daughter to learn biking on her own? If yes, in what ways?
     
    The Mac Ride helped our daughters understand riding in two main ways. The first being that you have to lean a bike into a turn, we think she developed an understanding of the forces in play as a bike enters a turn from feeling what we did. The second key skill was reading the trail and knowing when to stand up. The Mac Ride and the stirrups allow her to stand and absorb the roughness of the trail, and with some verbal prompting, she could be saved from a sore backside as we went over roots and rocks.
     
    Specifically related to girls, what positive effect has biking had on your daughter?
     
    Our daughter has many positive influences with regards to cycling. The Mac Ride allowed her to get out with our bike club's all women's group even earlier and see other women cycling. Between the Mac Ride and using a balance bike, our daughter had the confidence to start on a pedal bike and skip the whole training wheels phase of learning right when she turned 4 years old.
     
    How old was your daughter when she first got on the Mac Ride seat? How did that first ride go?
     
    The first ride with Mac Ride was in May of 2016 when the initial version was shipped to us. Our daughter had just turned 3 years old and was already riding her balance bike. She was already more than big enough to start her out the day we received it. We spent that day riding up and down our 1/3 mile long driveway getting everything adjusted for her and figuring out this new toy. She loved it right away and within days we had it out on the local trails, experimenting with what we could and could not do with it: what was too tough, how to move our weight around to get over logs and through streams. Now that we have a newborn daughter, we will probably get her onto it when she is under 2 years old on smooth trails and have her use it for years to help develop and hone her biking skills.
     
    What advice do you wish you had been given about riding with a toddler that you would like to give someone just starting out?
     
    Make it a positive experience, start on smooth trails for only short rides. To make it worth it for them, take them to a playground or somewhere else they want to go have fun and then back, so it gives them a break in the middle. Keep stepping up the distance and difficulty on the rides. We kept telling our daughter that these were the trails that we normally did. She was so excited as a 3-year-old doing the same biking trails that her parents were doing, instead of pedalling around the playground.
     
    We know that your daughter is a race winner! When did she start showing interest in the competitive side of biking?
     
    Our daughter has been around bike races since she was born as her father participates in Enduro races. She got the concept of a start line, race pace, and a finish line early in life. While stationed/living in Maryland, we took her to her first balance bike race when she was 2. She was really excited to be around a lot of other young kids who were riding, but she was the only one on a balance bike. When we moved back to the Williamsburg, VA area, we signed her up for a kids bike race series. At 4 years old, she raced in the balance bike category. That year, she was able to take first place at nearly every race and then won first place for the overall series. The next year, she moved up to the 6 year old and under pedal bike category. She learned some hard lessons as she often placed 4th or worse. But, when the points came out for the overall series, she was in second place, she learned the importance of showing up for every race of a series. This year, she raced in the same category again but took first place in every race and won the series. As much as she has a strong competitive spirit, she tells the other kids good job and has even stopped during a race to help a friend who crashed. As we look at our next military move, she wants to know if there will be kids bike racing where we are moving.
     
    How has it been as parents watching your child compete?
     
    It has been thrilling and humbling to watch her race. It is of course exciting to watch her get out there and show off her skills, but we have also had to teach her that winning is not the only reason to race, a hard lesson to understand as a young child.
     
    What was the progression from Mac Ride seat to race-winner like? What was involved in that journey?
     
    We used the Mac Ride until she was just too tall to fit on it to go on longer rides with our family and our mountain biking club. Her transition from balance bike to pedal bike was during that last season of Mac Ride usage. We were still participating in longer rides with family and the club, and she started taking her own bike and would go as far as she could. She has been quite inspired by the other riders in our club, especially since many of them are at her races so it feels like an extended family. The Mac Ride was very significant in teaching her how to look ahead and read a trail so that once she could pedal she was ready to hit the trails rather than just flat surface riding.
     
    We loved hearing from Wenonah about her family’s experience with the Mac Ride kids bike seat. Biking with kids isn't always easy, but with some of the newer options out there for the biking family, it can be a lot more fun than we ever dreamed of. We are now offering the TowWhee system for parents whose kids have outgrown the Mac Ride seat.

    An interview with a Mac Ride Family: Tim Sage

    An interview with a Mac Ride Family: Tim Sage

    We caught up with another one of the families using the Mac Ride child’s bike seat. Tim Sage and his family have been sharing their adventures with us on Instagram, and we are loving what we see! This little family of four really knows the joy of biking with kids. They get both of their kids biking on longer adventures thanks to the Mac Ride seat.


    Don’t take our word for it, though. Read what Tim has to say about his family’s experience biking with kids using a child’s bike seat below.


    How long has your family had the Mac Ride child’s bike seat? How old were your children when they first started using the seat?
     
    We received our first Mac Ride for Christmas in 2017. We started practising in the driveway with our son Max when he was about 15 months old. We enjoyed it so much we got another MacRide for Christmas in 2018, for our daughter. She is just starting to take some short paced practice rides on it now at the age of 14 months.
     
    Now that Max is 2.5 years old, we have started hitting more mountain bike trails with him, and we can’t wait to get Kirby, our daughter, out there when she is a little bigger.
     
    Where is your favourite place to go for a family ride?
     
    We have a great paved trail near our house that goes from a decent sized lake all the way to the downtown area. We love the shade and being near the water - it doesn’t hurt that the local skatepark is on the way too. There's a great 10-mile route we take that hits the skatepark, a few playgrounds, and ends up at a bakery that has some awesome cupcakes. With our daughter now able to join us I have a feeling we will be adding some swimming stops to the route this summer.
     
    What is one of your favourite stories from biking with kids using the Mac Ride seat?
     
    It is really hard to pick just one. Now that both kids are riding with us on Mac Ride seats, we have loved getting everyone out together. Recently, we rode to town for an outdoor concert and festival. We knew that parking would be difficult, so we loaded the bikes up and parked a little farther away and rode into town. On the way in, we ended up going down a decent sized hill (by Texas standards) and picked up a little speed. I was worried that it might be a little overwhelming for our daughter, but as my son and I passed her, she was laughing and smiling. At the bottom of the hill, she started ringing her bike bell, and my son rang his in response. It’s hard to say exactly why that moment sticks out, but I know my wife and I will always remember it.
     
    How has the Mac Ride child’s bike seat positively impacted your families adventures?
     
    My wife and I both love riding, and we have for a very long time. The Mac Ride seat has enabled us to show our kids exactly why bike riding is so awesome! We can all talk, laugh, and ring bells together! It’s a no-brainer that a kid is going to fall in love with riding if they can blast through the trees on some single track with a little speed rather than try and struggle with training wheels in a driveway. The Mac Ride shows our kids how awesome bikes can be, and they both seem to have a very advanced interest in moving on to balance bikes. Every now and then our son will show some bike handling skill that is pulled straight from his time on the Mac Ride (you should see him carve a berm on his balance bike!)
     
    What are some of the obstacles that you have encountered with teaching your child/children to bike? How have you overcome them?
     
    Our main concern with riding was getting our kids to want to wear a helmet. Both kids hate hats for some reason, so we were naturally concerned that they wouldn’t want to keep a bike helmet on for very long. Surprisingly they both love riding with us so much they don’t mind helmets. My son even guilt trips me if he sees me riding without one.
     
    How would your child/children describe their experience with the Mac Ride seat?
     
    Well, our kids love them, there is no doubt about that. Max loves going over bumpy singletrack and ringing his bell at any dogs he sees. Kirby loves to ride with her mom and have the wind in her face. Our kids are both so young still that their smiles and laughs do the talking, but trust me, they love it.

    We love hearing from the families using the Mac Ride seats! If you would like to be featured and tell your family’s adventure story, please reach out to us. Ready to get your own Mac Ride child’s bike seat and start biking with your kids today? Shop online and get your Mac Ride seat in the mail. See you on the trails! To find more images of Tim and his families adventures, find them on Instagram.

    Great Ways to Customize Your Kid’s Bike

    Great Ways to Customize Your Kid’s Bike

    Some kids get excited about biking simply by seeing mom and dad on their mountain bikes. Other kids, however, need a bit more coaxing, it seems. What can be really fun is for your toddler or young child to customize their own bike. Do you remember your first bike? Did you stick on stickers, tassels, and playing cards on the spokes? What kinds of fun customizations did you do to your first bike?
     
    When it comes to kids, crafts seem to be a pretty fun activity. Mixing craft time with biking can be an excellent win-win situation. Not to mention, playing around with customizations on bikes is a great activity for us parents, too. How do you think we came up with the Mac Ride seat in the first place?
     
    A New Paint Job
    Picking a favourite colour is an important part of shopping for a bike. Even as an adult, we’re all partial to our favourite colours. If your child is riding a hand-me-down, let them pick accessories and touches in their favourite colour to make the bike feel more like their own. A fresh coat of paint makes a world of difference with most things. Get creative with spray paint! It’ll make the same old bike look completely different.
     
    Accessories & Fun Items
    When we were children, we had access to a few fun accessories. You could add handlebar tassels, baskets or little clips that made noise on the spokes. These fun customizations do not need to stop at the items we all remember from our childhood. Now, you can customize anything on a bike relatively easily. Let your child help by getting them to draw their dream bike. Maybe you could get some multicoloured spokes or pedals. You can even design your own logo with your child and have it printed as a sticker or decal online.
     
    In all honesty, when our daughter wanted a basket on her islay bike we were a little shocked, but it made her happy to take teddy along for the ride. Who can blame that logic, we loved taking her along for rides on the Mac Ride seat too. Plus, it taught her to plan ahead a little more for rides when she was thinking about what she needed to put in her basket.
     
    New Parts, New Look
    You can pick out custom wheels, a handlebar and new seat for balance bikes! We've heard a lot of stories from parents with more than one child about the painful task of getting the younger kid excited about a hand-me-down item. You could keep the same bike and add a few new parts to give it a bit of a facelift.
     
    Tape It Up
    Taping handlebars for added grip is an excellent idea that parents often employ. We see handlebars with tape on them for Mac Ride seat use, too. But tape isn't just for practical use or for grip, it's also aesthetic. Taping handlebars with fun colours and patterns is an inexpensive way to brighten up the part of the bike your child sees most when riding.
     
    If you find your child is hesitant to learn how to bike on their own, try getting them excited about personalizing their bike with colours, accessories, or new parts. If your child doesn’t have their own bicycle yet and you don’t want to buy brand new, get a second-hand bike and turn it into a dream bike for your toddler.
     
    The Mac Ride seat is fantastic for helping young children to learn what a bike feels like and how it handles on different terrain. When it comes to learning to ride on their own, a child needs to be excited about their bike and what they can do on it. Sometimes, spending some time off the bike to paint it and add a few frills can help them feel more engaged with the process. Have you customized your child's bike? How awesome was the process, and what was the final result? Share your toddler's bike creations with us on Instagram and follow along for more family riding photos.

    An Interview with a Mac Ride Family: Angela Coates

    An Interview with a Mac Ride Family: Angela Coates

    angelamaryfoster
    Angela and her husband Steve love anything that has two wheels. In fact, downhill racing is how they met 10 years ago. So it should come as no surprise that their little shredder Jack has inherited this love for the outdoors and biking. The excitement of picking a new trail and exploring a new place is what drives this adventurous family. Thanks to this early introduction to riding, Jack gets to spend loads of time on his bike at a phase in his life where there’s no obligation pulling him away. While Angela and Steve have to juggle work and adulthood, Jack gets to blissfully ride his bike along without a care in the world. We’re all a little jealous of Jack and other kids biking without restriction in the world!
     
    Read on to find out more about Angela’s story.
     
    How long has your family had the Mac Ride child's bike seat? How old was Jack when he first started using the seat?
    Scrolling down my Instagram feed I kept seeing this new contraption popping up on my newsfeed, and I’m thinking hmm, that looks pretty cool, I’ll check that out when Jack’s gone to bed. Then my husband pings it over to me. Great minds or what?! We followed the link, and although it was a bit pricey, it looked so much better than anything we’d seen before. Jack at this point had just turned 2 years old and was really starting to understand his balance bike. The Mac Ride seemed to really help with their core balance, and so for us, the two things went hand in hand. We bought the MacRide that night.
     
    Jack had always been itching to get on Daddy’s bike and sitting on the uncomfortable top tube didn’t quite cut it. You should have seen his face when he saw the Mac Ride seat on there. We took him for a spin around the garden and around the block, and he was loving it, trying to manoeuvre the bike himself using the handlebars and asking daddy to wheelie upon wheelie all the way along the street.
     
    Where’s your favourite place to go biking with kids?
    Our local trail centre is Hamsterley Forest in County Durham. This is where we spend the most time using the Mac Ride, there are plenty of flowy single tracks trails and a variety of blue, red and black trails. The first day we went there, Jack went down Pikes Teeth which is a black run, we didn’t go that fast obviously, but the Mac Ride was more than capable over the rooty and rocky bits. We tend to stick to the more flowy trails for him though just until he gets a bit older and a stronger hand grip, he really enjoys the bike going fast over the smooth whoopy bits and bermed corners.
     
    What’s one of your favourite stories from a ride out with the family using the Mac Ride seat?
    A month or so ago I went to the forest with my husband, Jack and Billy (my two sons), and my cousin and his son. We had a whale of a time. We started out doing the Gruffalo trail and then rode alongside the river on an undulating woodland trail. Jack was on the Mac Ride, and Billy and Fox were in bike trailers. It was just really nice to be out riding as a family for once and all the kids enjoying themselves, especially with Billy just being 6 months old. It's difficult normally for everyone to be happy and enjoying themselves during a full day out. We stopped loads of times along the way to throw sticks in the river, hug the Gruffalo, and eat plenty of snacks. That’s another good thing about the Mac Ride, it’s so accessible – Jack can just hop on and off so easy, no faffing with clips or buckles. He just slides his feet in and out and off we go! Simples!
     
    My favourite ride with just Jack and not the rest of the family has to be this:
    My second son Billy was 6 weeks old when we headed over to the Northumberland coast in the camper for a holiday. Moms have a lot of emotions after they’ve given birth and I had quite a bit of Mom guilt that I wasn’t spending as much time with Jack. Billy was breastfeeding a LOT, and so it was hard to find the time to give Jack all of my attention and do cool things together like he was used to doing. One morning, Billy was having his nap, and so Jack and I jumped on the Mac Ride, we’d not had it that long and so Jack was so excited to go for a ride with me with his new seat. The ride itself wasn’t technical at all, it was more about the journey. We rode along some little country roads and then crossed the giant’s causeway onto Holy Island before watching the tide come in and cover the road trapping us in on the Island (Hubby had driven onto the Island too, so we weren’t stranded). We stopped along the way to climb some sand dunes and peek out to sea over a lush deserted beach. It was just so nice to laugh and giggle and spend time chatting up front in the cockpit with my little boy while pedalling with the sea air in our faces.
     
    How has the seat positively impacted your family’s adventures together on the trails?
    To carry on riding your bike when you have kids is definitely tricky, it’s difficult to find the time and the energy really. Taking your kids with you is a great option if they’re into it. I love taking Jack on trails that I enjoy in the woods or to places that would be too far for us to walk or use his balance bike. Yeah, there are rear and front seats for them to sit in but they get bored of looking at your back and end up falling asleep all lopsided and slumped. We’ve found the Mac Ride to be much more fun for Jack. He gets something out of the ride, too. He can react to the bumps, he can lean into corners with you, and you can chat to each other along the way and point out things that you see. It just feels like you’re both having as much fun as each other, and it's not just me dragging my son along for the ride.
     
    What advice would you give to other parents who may be nervous about getting their child on the Mac Ride bike seat?
    I’d say they have nothing to be nervous about, they really haven’t. If there’s one thing I have learned about kids, it’s that they are so so adaptable. If you’re nervous about them falling off because they’re not strapped in as such then just choose a flat trail, go really slow at first. Talk to the child the whole time and gauge how they are feeling. Your arms act as a bit of a cage around them and make them feel secure. I’m pretty sure the parent will be more nervous than the child.
     
    How would your child/children describe their experience with the Mac Ride seat?
    Jack is a pretty decent chatterbox and I could try and capture his feedback on video for you if you like? Lol
     
    He often asks to go on the Mac Ride and that in itself speaks volumes. When he’s on the seat and going fast he’s screaming wanting to go faster and faster. His smiles are from ear to ear and I’m pretty sure he’d describe the Mac Ride as Amaaaaziiing!! It’s his favourite word at the moment.
     
    We don’t think we could have said it better ourselves. This family sounds pretty “amaaaaaziiing” to us! It can be hard to give something up that you love for someone you love more than anything else in the world. Giving up mountain biking when you have kids doesn't need to be a reality. Like most things with life, it simply changes a bit. We created the Mac Ride seat so that we could have similar moments to what Angela and Jack have with their own children. We’re simply tickled to know other families out there are enjoying the trails with their own kids as much as we are.
     
    Ready to get out on an adventure biking with kids and using a more adventurous child's bike seat? Shop for your own Mac Ride seat online today.
     
    Find Angela on Instagram to follow her biking adventures.