Why You Should Never Take Your Kids on a Bike Ride

by Abby on June 3, 2013

big boy bikeOver Memorial Day weekend we were hanging out with some of our neighbors. One woman is from Colorado and very outdoorsy. Unlike those of us who drive our big ol’ gas-guzzling SUVs to the corner store for milk, she walks and bikes everywhere she can, and drives her hybrid wherever she can’t. And yet somehow she manages not to be sanctimonious or annoying at all. Unlike some people.

Anyway, she suggested we all take the kids out to a trail for a bike ride. We’d be doing something fun, active, and outdoorsy instead of sitting around drinking beer, which is what most people do on Memorial Day, isn’t it? Plus, our boys could both ride their own bikes now. In theory, anyway.

So, we load up our car, which takes approximately 2 hours, since it involves replacing a tube in one of my bike tires, putting the bike rack on the car, and removing some plastic thing on my 6yo’s bike. This turned out to be a chain guard and once removed, he immediately caught his pants in the chain and had to remove them (the pants) in order to get off the bike. After finding him some new pants, we then had to fill the water bottles, apply sunscreen, and pack the snacks.

kids with foam swords

Let's have a pre-bike ride sword fight!

We hadn’t even pulled away from the curb when my 4yo was asking for the snacks. Rule of thumb: you can never EVER pack too many snacks for an outing with kids. I told the boys they had to carry whatever we brought for them, which is how I ended up wearing a tiny primary-colored backpack the whole ride.

So we get to the trail, which is jam-packed with other people who decided to do something active and outdoorsy on a holiday weekend. Our friends, who have a 3yo, had one bike with a trailer and one bike with a kid’s seat on the back. It took some debating to decide which one their daughter was going to ride in. We finally got everyone situated and set off.

My husband and I took bets on how long our 4yo would last riding his own bike. I said he’d make it at least 15 min. C. said he’d be surprised if he even made it out of the parking lot. Guess who was right? Maybe 2 yards down the trail, we stopped, stashed his bike in the bushes, and settled him into the trailer with the 3yo. Then SHE decided it was too crowded in there and opted to sit on the back of her mom’s bike. FINALLY, we set off again.

My older son was doing fine, except for having a little trouble staying to the right of the trail. A couple of pissed-off looking cyclists in head-to-toe spandex had to swerve to avoid him. Tip: If you’re training for an Ironman, a trail clogged with strollers, dogs, and Strawberry Shortcake bikes with training wheels probably isn’t your best bet.

Our friend’s little girl starting crying because she changed her mind again and wanted to go back in the trailer. My 6yo was whining that his legs were getting tired and he needed a snack. My 4yo was yelling that he was thirsty for the water that *I* was carrying in HIS backpack. I pedaled alongside my outdoorsy friend and said, “So whose idea was this again?!”

We stopped again for a snack break. We spent longer eating grapes and animal crackers than we had biking so far. Then the kids switched places and we were off again. But not for long – my 6yo skidded on some gravel and went flying. Our friend – with her daughter on the back of her bike – just barely avoided crashing into him, ending up with a huge scrape down her leg. Blood and tears and wailing ensued. We had only gone 2 miles, but we were now 2 MILES away from the car. After much debate and finagling, my husband ended up carrying our son’s bike WHILE pulling our injured boy and our lazy 4yo boy in the trailer. Take that, Ironman dudes!

baby on a bike

Whose idea WAS this?! (Riley at 6mos)

On the way back, my friend kept telling her daughter, “Stop pulling my shirt up! Stop sticking things down my pants!” I just laughed and laughed. THIS… this is what you get when you decide to get off the porch and go on a fun family outing. Lesson learned.

On the way home, the boys piped up from the backseat, “So what are we going to do next?” Sit around and drink beer, kids. And be thankful we all came out of this alive. Barely.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kris-Ann June 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm

We had this same bike ride yesterday. Same bike stashing, same whining about snacks and drinks. The ordeal may or may not have ended up with a mommy tantrum about never being able to do anything fun. I’m not proud.

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Abby June 3, 2013 at 2:27 pm

My sympathies. Darn kids ruin everything! 😉

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Angie Mizzell June 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Seriously, what’s up with the kids and all the snacks? I can’t believe the bag I pack for a trip to the gym and back. And maybe this post should have been called, “Why you should always sit around and drink beer on Memorial Day.”

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Abby June 3, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Seriously. God forbid they go a quarter-hour without any sustenance!!

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jetts31 June 5, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I can pinpoint exactly what my kids will and will not be in to. I can tell you that a bike ride on a trail would last all of about as long as your son lasted while going to the pool could last for 77 hours and still not be long enough.
Then again, I don’t know if I would want to bike ride on a trail either so I guess the acorns don’t fall far from the tree.

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