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    News — kids biking

    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.

    An Interview with a Mac Ride Family: Martin Gaissert

    An Interview with a Mac Ride Family: Martin Gaissert

    We’ve known Martin since before the first Mac Ride child bike seat became public. We were still in the early stages of the invention when Martin reached out to support us through our Kickstarter program. When the Mac Ride bike seat finally came on the market, Martin was quick to get one. Martin moved back to Canada in September 2017 with his wife and children and immediately started getting out on the trail with his own Mac Ride seat. Clearly, the best things are worth waiting for as Martin raves about the Mac Ride seat so much that we have a permanent blush on our faces.

    Want to learn more about Martin’s fascinating experience with the Mac Ride child bike seat? Read on to see how he’s passed on his love of the outdoors and tree-hugging to his little ones.

     
    Where’s your favourite place to go biking with your kids? Describe why & the trail itself.
    I love using Mac Ride on rolling bumps on packed dirt. That’s a perfect trail setup for my older daughter and me. She defines this as Rollercoaster Riding, and it is her definition of a “single trail.”
     
    We get the most excitement from being outside in nature. We have ridden the urban network around Stanley Park, but as soon as the riding dynamics increase, the fun grows exponentially.
     
    What’s one of your favourite stories from a ride with the little shredder using the Mac Ride child’s bike seat?
    In the beginning, I was asking her to support me when we were climbing uphill to the trailhead. Her contribution was to squeeze my wrists and pretend to be working hard with some heavy breathing, copying me. Now that’s empathy!
     
    How has the kid's bike seat positively impacted your families adventures together on the trails?
    Well, I have to say that my wife and I both have eBikes which make Mac Rides even more enjoyable because the radius of possible excursions has grown with the assist. We can take more things, and the rides can be longer. Last summer, we ended up having a picnic at the river, biking another 10k to have another picnic under a tree, playing ball, and then we biked to the forest for a third picnic. Those breaks are important to give the kids some relaxation time.
     
    What are a few other items that are on your 'must-have' list for an adventurous biking family?
    Helmets! I think that is a safety prerequisite, but the one really cool thing I always have is an action camera [like the main blog image].
     
    The Insta360 camera is what I use. Having a picture or video lets the kids re-live the moments many times after the ride.
     
    What was your experience like first with using the seat, and then helping your child to get comfortable on the bike with you?
    This is the most beautiful no-brainer ever. Have not seen one child yet that did not like the experience. And I think I am now close to 20 Mac Rides that I basically “sold” to users. The amazing thing is that you can share the dynamics of the bike ride with your child.
     
    What advice do you have to other parents who are considering getting their kids biking with them?
    First, make sure that you as a parent also like riding the trails and make sure that you rode a particular trail alone before you take your kid on it.
     
    Later, explore the trail together when both are used to it. Of course, you can go and explore new stuff together safely.
     
    Dress appropriately — it can get chilly for the kid on the Mac Ride kids bike seat. Better to over-layer a little bit. The cold is memorable and might interfere with the next ride.
     
    In your opinion, why do you think that it’s important to get children outside in this way?
    That’s a longer and more philosophical question for me. I sense a fascinating and powerful energy when being in the forest. I would call it being close to Gaia.
     
    Have you ever hugged a big tree and felt its temperature and listened to its sound? It gives me peace. I love the colour of light as it breaks through a canopy of trees. I love the smell of the soil and the sound of life. Happiness is not worth much if it’s not shared! And the joint experience of those beautiful things in nature with your little one is sharing in its purest form. Creating memories, feeling the adrenaline, and experiencing sympathy and meaning for nature together. I see lots of beautiful purpose in it.
     
    If you want to follow along with Martin and his family on their many trail adventures, you can find him on Instagram. Ready to get this level of stoke and nature into your child's life? Shop online for your Mac Ride kids bike seat today.

    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.