Raising a family should, in large part, be centered around making beautiful memories. Adventure — as is often demonstrated on this blog — is what makes some of the best memories.
Now, we are extremely liberal in the use of the word “adventure.” Adventure can mean taking pieces of trash to create the world’s best jetpack with which your kid will use to fly around the neighborhood on your nightly walks.
It can mean taking time out of a busy Monday to have a picnic at the park instead of another harried microwaved dinner around the TV.
Adventure, in our sense of the word, is about celebrating the mundane moments of life so that they become memorable.
Activity Creates Adventure
Many of the best adventures center around the activities that a family can do together. Whether that is going to the circus, or traveling around the world, we find that movement is a prerequisite for adventure.
Most people decide to hold off on creating these moments until they have enough vacation time saved up.
Life is too short for that. We do not want to wait for two weeks of vacation. We want to build a life of adventure. Experience of making memories.
And, to do that, you have to plan. You need to identify what you and the kids like to do (or might like doing). And then you need to experiment. Is camping your thing? Borrow a tent and try it out! If it turns out that you like camping, then you can go out every weekend and camp in the backyard.
Suddenly, sleeping becomes a huge adventure.
(Do you see how I’m doing this?)
Cycling As A Family Adventure
Most of us rode a bike as kids. It is often our first taste of independence.
As we become teenagers, we swapped the bike for a car. And cycling was relinquished to the far corner of our memories.
Our children love riding, however, and they often ride their bikes with us as we walk around the block. Meanwhile, our bike from high school lies rusting in our childhood home.
But, what if you dusted off that old bike? What if the entire family started riding together? Suddenly a whole world of possibilities opens up.
Cycling Creates Decades of Family Adventures
The local bike trails become a favorite. For the younger kids, you can get a bike trailer and they can ride behind a parent. The older kids will pedal their own bikes. Excursions on local bike trails can lead you to some of the best gems and hideaways your city has to offer.
Longer bike treks also become feasible. The “Rails to Trails” program, which converts old railway beds into bike trails has been successful in creating thousands of miles of trails that are exclusively available for cyclists and runners to use.
Once your family takes up riding, you can enjoy these treks. Some families go as far as to pack tents and camp on these trails for a week at a time.
As the children become teenagers, cycling becomes the great equalizer. Some families do charity rides together, pedaling 100 miles in a weekend. Other families enjoy triathlons or bike races. It creates a culture of weekend family fun and results in some of the best memories you could make.
Bicycling Is An Affordable Sport
Bicycling does have its costs. If you go out and buy cheap bikes, your family will hate the sport. So it must be done right.
The best way to get into the sport is to buy used. Pawn Shops, Facebook Marketplace, and Craiglist, offers an endless supply of bicycles and bicycle accessories that you can buy for half the price of new.
As long as you stick with well-known bike brands like Giant, Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, Diamondback, and Fuji, you will get a bike that is designed to last with minimal maintenance.
Additionally, for a little more money, you can buy cheap bikes online by going directly to the manufacturer. Dave’s Bike site offers comprehensive reviews on the best bike deals from manufacturers, empowering a family to stretch their dollars as far as possible.
Once you start talking with your friends about about riding bikes as a family you will often find that they have some good, rarely used bikes hanging in their garage that they are willing to part with. Of course, if your family is beginning to ride more, your friends might want to come along as well.
Cycling Creates A Culture Of Health
Many parents are struggling with fighting childhood obesity. Excluding children with underlying health problems, decreasing sugar intake and increasing activity is considered the gold panacea for health.
However, many of these children have minimal incentive to play outside. They don’t feel confident or comfortable outside. The pain of moving when your body has an extra 10 or 20 pounds is not something to be underestimated.
The danger is that these obesity cycles become self-propagating as obesity leads to a desire to be sedentary which, in turn, leads to more obesity.
However, for the family that chooses an outdoor activity to do together, these outings become something that the entire family looks forward to joining. It even becomes a source of identity for the family, with children identifying as confident cyclists, inside a family of cyclists.
This strong identity can lead to a lifetime of fitness and better health. As your children become parents, it is more likely that they will pass those lessons on to their children, perpetuating the cycle and creating a family legacy.
Cycling Is Just The Beginning
Bicycling is just one adventure your family could take on. Some families hang a slack line in their backyard. Other take up rock climbing. Exploring different experiences is what will lead you to the ones your family loves the best.
But cycling one of those that is more accessible to a wide range of ages. You can adapt your rides to your family’s age group and adjust your approach to the sport as they get older.
Life is busy. It is easy, in all of the busyness, to miss what truly matters.
But when you add a little twist to all of the mundane things you do — and you celebrate the moments of life together as a family — suddenly life becomes one, amazingly beautiful adventure.
And the memories you make will be unmatched!