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    News — child bike seat

    An Interview with a Mac Ride Family: Jonas Stefansson

    An Interview with a Mac Ride Family: Jonas Stefansson

    Some families simply live and breath adventure: Jonas Stefansson and his family are one of them. We’re constantly amazed, and a little jealous, of all the wonderful adventures we see them on, thanks to the many photos they’ve tagged us in on Instagram


    As we speed towards a new year, we started thinking about the adventures we want to take as a family in 2020. Time and time again, the amazing places Jonas, his partner Arna and his little shredder have explored kept coming to mind. This family is so inspiring, we just had to reach out to them to hear firsthand about their experiences on the trails together. Check out what they had to say below.


    How long has your family been using the Mac Ride seat?
     
    We got our seat at the end of summer 2017. Our son Benni was just 18 months when he got on the seat but I would definitely have used it earlier if it was available.


    What was the push for you to commit and purchase the seat?
     
    There was really no push, I came across it online and it was love at first sight, straight to checkout!

    How has the Mac Ride seat positively affected your family?
     
    We’ve been able to ride so much together and kept our adventures going sharing them with the little man.

    Arna and Benni (Iceland)

    You and your family are very adventurous. What advice do you have for other families that would like to bike with their kids who might be a little more nervous?
     
    I feel the seat is very safe and you get to control and guard your child very well. Of course, you have to adapt your riding to suit their capabilities, take short and easy rides to begin with and keep it fun - a mid-ride snack or treat always brings a smile. If you ease into it and build up your riding together it is incredible how much confidence you have riding with them upfront.

    What’s been your favourite experience with the Mac Ride seat?
     
    We have had so many that it’s really hard to pick. However, one of the great ones was this summer when we did an amazing singletrack ride at Iceland Bike Farm, 15km / 3.5 hours, descending about 800m through the amazing nature on a perfect Icelandic summer day. The ride is quite technical but we rode it with ease, smiles and laughter the whole way. Also, getting to ride our local Bike Park at Hlíðarfjall this summer was such a blast.

    Jonas & Benni

    How has riding with the seat helped your child to pick up vital biking skills? Do you think the seat has helped them learn to bike on their own faster?
     
    Yes definitely. First of all, it starts their interest in biking in general. But I also think they learn a lot of balance and handling from riding on the seat.

    What are your MUST-HAVE items when biking with your family? 
     
    Helmet of course! But here in Iceland you pretty much always have to prepare for the weather turning fast, it can get cold or wet at any time - no matter how good the weather is at the start of a ride. Adding some extra clothes to the backpack for the little ones is key, nobody is having fun if they are cold out there. Chocolate milk and some trail mix is also key and sometimes Benni’s Bluetooth speaker will hang on the backpack playing his favourite riding songs. :)

    Jonas & Benni (Iceland Bike Farm)

    In a lot of your photos, your son is always looking very happy and very stoked. Are there any ever melt-downs or issues biking with your child, and how do you deal with them?
     
    Those photos are not lying, he is always having a blast. There have only been a few times when the smile wears off and it has mainly been due to him getting cold, cold hands especially. We haven’t tried the foam grips so the handlebar does get quite cold at times. We try to have him riding in thick gloves or mittens and sometimes I will wrap the handlebar with tape to insulate a little. If he gets cold and unhappy we would stop and try to move and warm up, bring out the snacks and maybe add on a layer or new gloves. Unhappy moments are rare, the seat seems to guarantee smiles.
     
    What is your favourite trail to ride with your son and why?
     
    We really can’t pick one. We just love riding together no matter what it is. From just riding to play school and picking him up, to riding all our local trails, the Hlíðarfjall Bike Park and exploring around our country making new amazing memories together. It’s all wonderful.
     
    For us, the Mac Ride seat is simply a game-changer in bringing our child into the riding scene from a very early age. You get to explore and experience so much together, learn to trust and know each other and again make great memories.


    We’re at a loss for words. We’re so thankful that this family loves the Mac Ride seat, and that they’ve really taken advantage of the opportunities it provides for their family to get out there on adventures together. We’re so excited to see what Jonas and his family get up to in 2020, and we’d love to see what you and your family get up to as well. Tag us on social media and get your Mac Ride seat today!

    Child Seat vs. Bike Trailer: Making the Best Choice for You

    Child Seat vs. Bike Trailer: Making the Best Choice for You

    As parents, we become masters of balance. We balance housework with playtime, sleepless nights with frequent naps, and our hobbies and passions with family time. When it comes to that last point, that means bringing the kids along. When it comes to biking, there are many options for getting out for a ride with your kids. Deciding which option is right for you will depend on your comfort level, your child's age and abilities, and the terrain you choose to explore. Best place to start is looking at the pros and cons of a bike trailer and a child bike seat. 


    Bike Trailers

    Bike trailers are little tow-behind systems that hook onto your bike and provide your child with a little home on wheels to nestle into for a ride. 


    Advantages

    The advantage of a bike trailer is that ultimately, it’s lower to the ground making it safer, some would argue. Your child is enclosed in a bit more material and is generally a lot closer to the ground in case of a fall. Another benefit to a bike trailer is that it doesn’t alter the balance on your bike as much. Having the weight being towed behind the bike rather than mounted on the front or the back can help you to remain balanced as if you were riding alone. The added room in the cosy little trailer means kids can bring blankets and toys along for the ride. 

    Disadvantages

    Trailers can make braking more difficult especially in wet or slippery conditions due to the weight coming up from behind. This weight can also make it hard to back up or manoeuvre around corners. The big concern with bike trailers is that if you are on any kind of road or near traffic, the low positioning of the trailer can cause drivers to miss noticing it. Not to mention, the wider shape of the trailer can lead to it being nearer to traffic than a bike. A real downside to a trailer is how your child is too far away to interact with on a ride. This is a big one for us. As mountain bikers, we love to be able to chat with our kids on the trail and we want them to have a great view to experience all that the outdoors has to offer. 

    Child Bike Seat

    There are many kinds of child bike seats. You can have front-mounted and rear-mounted, little chair-like seats or seats like Mac Ride that mimic a usual bike seat. For the sake of this blog, we’re going to talk about the broader category of child's bike seats that are mounted directly onto a parents’ bike. 


    Advantages

    With a front-mounted seat, you can anticipate weight shifts more easily, helping with any decreased balance you may find from having your child on the bike with you. The big advantage we love is that our kids can talk to us and share in the experience of the ride. With your child on the bike with you, they can point out things that interest them and ask questions. Another big benefit is that being on the bike itself is helping them to learn the mechanics of riding a bike and how it feels to lean and turn. 

    Disadvantages

    The biggest disadvantage of using a child bike seat when riding is how it affects the balance of the bike. This extra weight can make mounting and dismounting difficult and we do recommend being a very comfortable biker before choosing to use a children's bike seat over a bike trailer. Some parents find that a front-mounted seat limits their range of motion for pedalling, so this will depend on your bike and your stature. 

    Overall, what your choice will come down to is your preference. We love using the Mac Ride child bike seat as a family because we want our kids close enjoying the adventure with us on the trails. It was this desire to have our children involved in the experience that pushed us to design the Mac Ride seat in the first place. The choice between a child bike seat and a bike trailer will depend on your goals and hopes for your ride with your child. If you want to know more about other families experiences with the Mac Ride seat, we have a few stories on our blog. To shop online for a Mac Ride child’s bike seat, check out our online store

    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.

    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.

    Why Kids Need to Spend More Time Outdoors

    child bike seat

    We've all seen them. A ghostly pale child sitting in the buggy of a shopping cart staring blankly at a device while the parents try to get the evening shopping done ASAP. We get it, parenting is hard. Sometimes, handing a bright screen over with the latest cartoon fixation feels like the only way to keep a modest amount of sanity in a public place. Many of you already know of the negative effects that all the screen time and time indoors are having on children. So despite how hard it is, it’s important to find the time and make a plan to go outside. Here’s why:
     
    Being Outdoors Helps Kids Grow Big and Strong
    Being active is an important part of a child's health and development. Being physically active helps children develop motor function and muscle required during this stage of rapid growth. By starting them young, it sets a strong foundation for healthy adulthood later. According to Statistics Canada, only one-third of Canadian children are meeting the minimum requirement of daily physical activity. That's a shocking statistic! One study found that when a child played outside for an hour, it meant 7 extra minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on top of that. They also discovered that children who play outdoors are more likely to have better relationships with their peers. This is because...
     
    Children who Play Outdoors Learn Important Problem-Solving Skills
    A UBC lecturer believes that being outdoors helps children of all ages learn better, and he’s not the only one. Many researchers have studied the positive effects of outdoor play on children and have come to similar conclusions. For one, they gain more knowledge about the sports and activities they enjoy. It also allows them to work on their problem solving and observation skills, as well as develop motor skills and risk assessment. They'll learn about environmental factors like what the temperature outside is and how they'll need to dress for it. Physical activity is a vital part of a child's development and can help children expel the energy that gets pent up when they sit watching TV or in a classroom. By being more active, children pay better attention when it comes time to sit down and listen in class.
     
    Lead by Example — It’s Time to Get the Family Outdoors
    So we know that getting our kids outside is good for them — and it's not just kids who need to stay active. It can be hard to find the time though, we understand. Between working and keeping the house running and tummies full, when do you have the time? Instead of a gym, try running with your child to the local playground for a bit of fun after work. Or get in touch with your inner child — playing tag, grounders, and other such games are great for quality family time and exercise for the family. There are many outdoor activities for kids, which parents can also participate. In fact, when your child has to work hard to try and keep up with mom or dad, it can help them to push themselves as well.
     
    Biking is one of our favourite outdoor activities for kids (if that wasn't clear already!). At a young age, a child bike seat can allow a child to go on longer adventures with the family. Learning the feeling of a bike early on can help a child develop the skills to be on a balance bike in no time and soon their very own pedal bike. This ability to develop skills provides a child with the chance to physically progress at something that'll have positive lifelong effects on their physical, emotional and mental health. Being able to go biking with friends will help them to meet their recommended daily activity requirements plus explore new environments that can teach them new lessons.
     
    There are a lot of positive reasons to get your kids outdoors more. Get a child bike seat and pick a day each week that you can go adventuring as a family. Getting children excited about these outdoor adventures at a young age will help them fall in love with nature and the activities you love, too. You’ll set your family up for successful outdoor pursuits for years to come.