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Exercise As A Family, Bike As A Family

by Sarah on October 18, 2010

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Nothing beats biking as a family. It’s been a core part of our workout together as a family since even before our kids were born (our first date was a bike ride!) For years my husband commuted around New York City on bike. And when our oldest was just months old, she reigned from the back of the bike as we meandered through New York City’s parks and quiet neighborhoods.

We’ve gone through all kinds of bike configurations with two kids – from bike child seats to trail-a-bikes. And now, at age 9 and 12, we’ve been heading off road in New Hampshire’s back woods with a vengeance

Biking in itself is a wonderful exercise since it provides excellent muscular and cardiovascular training without the pounding. My husband’s friend hailed age 50 looking like a 30 year old simply from biking around Prospect Park in Brooklyn and beyond.

And unlike gyms or even jogging, you can really go places, look around, explore. A destination like an apple orchard or your favorite Japanese restaurant makes for a great incentive to get going . . . although sometimes it’s a little harder to get back on after a nice repast.

And kids can really enjoy the excursion. Oh, the songs and stories I’ve heard from my little companion on the back. Not to mention the snores that seeped through when the steady motion of the bike rocked my bike seat babe to sleep. Taking your family on a bike ride has its own special treats.

The most important rule of biking is safety and preparation. Basic safety comes in the form of never fully letting your guard down, always assessing and looking around. The same tactics that kept my husband safe commuting in NYC have been passed on to our kids, teaching them what to look for, where to ride, how to turn and more. People, animals and vehicles all pose different hazards.

Equipment also factors into the safety factor. Not only is it worth investing in good stuff, but take the time to check your bikes and attachments regularly. Test the bolts, check over brakes, squeeze the tires and carry a repair kit just in case.

Wear bike helmets and start your kids off with additional elbow and knee protection, especially when mountain biking.

Finally, bring ample snacks and hydration. The worst thing is a hot day, five miles from home and very thirsty-hungry kids.

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