An Interview with a Mac Ride Family: Justin & 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.