While everyone in my family likes bikes, we don’t necessarily like them in the same ways. I’m bilingual, let’s say, in both Type 2 fun and Type 1 fun. (Remember, Type 2 fun is not fun in the moment. Type 1 fun is: it’s actually fun.) My wife is on the side of Type 1. My five-year-old daughter is definitely about Type 1 fun, with barely any tolerance of anything that has a whiff of Type 2 about it. So, we can call have fun, right? Yes.
Plan your route well
At the recent Sea Otter Canada festival in Blue Mountain, Ont., we had a lot of help with route planning. The organizers put together a bunch of routes they called Hub and Spoke rides. They all started at the expo area and went out at various distances. They also had varying degrees of difficulty. We chose a short one, and actually made it shorter. Since our daughter is just getting the hang of pedalling a two-wheeler, is often juggling her other interests in flowers, birds and pretty rocks and has the endurance of, well, a five-year-old, she rode in her Wike trailer, towed by me. The shortened route kept the total distance to 15 km: good for her and good for me as I had done the 120-km gran fondo the day before. The route was mostly on the Georgian Trail, a flat path with crushed stone that follows bay of the same name. On our ride west to the town of Thornbury, my wife thought it was slightly downhill and might be a bit tougher on the way back. Remarkably, it was just as nice of a cruise eastbound.
Stops along the route are an important feature. Sea Otter helped us with those, too. The Hub and Spoke rides come with Sea Otter Bucks—think Monopoly money that you can actually use at participating venues. We spent some bucks at Good Grief in Thornbury (doughnut for the kid, coffee for the adults) and at Thornbury Village Cider and Brew House (ciders for the adults, a snack for the kid and a chance to draw and colour). We also planned two playground stops, so our daughter could work her legs, too.
Work in other interests you all share
My daughter is a bit of a fish and my wife is an excellent swimmer. So having access to a pool throughout a hot July weekend was not only fun, but necessary for cooling off.
At the Blue Mountain resort, there are tons of family-friendly activities. One day we rode up the gondola and hiked around. We checked out a candy store! (I’m not sure who found it the most overwhelming.) How did we get around to these features? By bike, of course. Then there was more light hiking and exploring around Scenic Caves.
At the Sea Otter Expo, our daughter got her copy of Shed Girls signed by writer Molly Hurford. Next year, I hope Hurford and coach Peter Glassford will have their bike clinic for kids once again. I’ll encourage the little one to participate once she’s a little more steady on the pedals.
Make sure your fitness is up for all the fun
Fun for the whole family can be quite the test of endurance. On the Saturday morning of the Sea Otter weekend, I rode in the 120-km gran fondo. It was an excellent challenge that definitely took a turn for the Type 2 near the end. That afternoon, we hit up the resort together. Before dinner, the pool one more time. The kid was really into getting thrown into the water. (Wait! How did this become an arm day for me?) After her bedtime, we adults didn’t stay up much longer. That was OK. We would all be ready for more fun the next day.