Embrace the Ride: Integrating Cycling into Your Family Routine

Get out on a Bike!
Get out on a Bike!

THUNDER BAY – LIVING – As the first buds of spring emerge and temperatures start to rise, the itch to get outdoors becomes irresistible. For families, this is a perfect opportunity to shake off the winter blues and add cycling into their routine—a fun, healthy, and environmentally friendly activity. Here’s how you can make cycling a regular part of your family’s life and maximize your enjoyment of the great outdoors.

1. Gear Up

Before you hit the trails or the neighbourhood streets, ensure everyone in the family has a bike that suits their size and skill level. For children, select bikes they can handle comfortably; they should be able to touch the ground with their toes when sitting on the saddle. Don’t forget helmets for everyone—they are essential for safety. Other gear might include a basic repair kit for longer rides, water bottles, and, for those planning to ride later in the day, lights and reflective clothing. Fortunately Thunder Bay has some absolutely amazing cycle shops.

On Red River Road in Goods n Co, 3Ride offers a really amazing range of bikes and accessories. From the Aventon e-bikes which are completely amazing in all weather conditions. From the perspective of NetNewsLedger these e-bikes are the “official” bike for our newsroom. However there are a range of bikes for all ages and skills, and besides, take the family to downtown PA and enjoy all the fun of Goods n Co.

On Simpson Street, Ian and the team at Community Spokes is fantastic too. On a budget, you can participate in their build a bike program. Community Spokes offers used bikes, bike repairs and great service.

Also be sure to check out Fresh Air Experience, and Rolling Thunder.

2. Learn the Basics

Safety first! Spend some time teaching your kids the basics of bike safety. This includes understanding road signs, the importance of wearing a helmet, how to use hand signals, and checking their bike before every ride (brakes, tire pressure, chain).

Setting the direction for Thunder Bay's new transportation plan
Setting the direction for Thunder Bay’s new transportation plan

3. Plan Your Routes

Start with short, manageable routes especially if cycling with younger children. Parks, quiet streets, or dedicated bike paths are ideal for those first few outings. As everyone’s confidence and stamina grow, you can gradually introduce longer or more challenging routes. Use online tools or local cycling maps to plan your journeys and explore new areas. Thunder Bay has a pretty great number of bike lanes and cycling paths. While the bike lanes are not cleared all year, yet, it is likely that is coming soon simply due to demand and with climate change.

4. Set a Schedule

To truly integrate cycling into your family routine, set specific days and times for rides. This could be every Sunday morning, or a short ride after dinner a couple of times a week. Regular schedules not only build anticipation but also make it easier to keep up with the habit.

5. Make It a Social Event

Invite friends or join a local cycling club to make bike rides more enjoyable. Participating in community rides or family cycling events can also add a fun, social element to your routine. These gatherings often provide further motivation for children and adults alike to get on their bikes.

6. Combine Activities

Fun at Boulevard Lake
Fun at Boulevard Lake

Pair cycling with other activities to keep the outings diverse and interesting. Ride to a local picnic spot, cycle to a friend’s house, or bike to a nearby library, playground or café. Combining cycling with another task or leisure activity can make the experience more rewarding and less of a chore.

7. Track Your Adventures

Encourage kids to keep a journal or log of their cycling adventures. They can note down the routes taken, distance covered, and anything interesting they saw or learned on the trip. This not only adds an educational component but also provides a sense of accomplishment.

8. Adapt to the Seasons

As seasons change, so can your cycling routine. Spring and summer are ideal for longer rides during the warmer parts of the day. In autumn, enjoy the changing foliage; in winter, shorter mid-day rides can be refreshing if the weather permits.

9. Stay Motivated

Keep the motivation alive by setting goals or challenges, like a family bike-a-thon, or trying to cycle all the bike-friendly paths in your city. Celebrate milestones, such as when a child learns to ride without training wheels, or the family completes its longest bike ride.

Cycling as a family not only promotes physical health and an appreciation for the outdoors, but it also strengthens bonds through shared experiences. By making cycling a regular part of your routine, you’re investing in your family’s health, happiness, and the environment. So pump up those tires, strap on those helmets, and enjoy the ride!

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NetNewsledger.com or NNL offers news, information, opinions and positive ideas for Thunder Bay, Ontario, Northwestern Ontario and the world. NNL covers a large region of Ontario, but are also widely read around the country and the world. To reach us by email: newsroom@netnewsledger.com Reach the Newsroom: (807) 355-1862