When we first moved into our house, our twin boys had recently turned five years old. They had several years of toddlerhood balance bike practice and therefore quickly mastered the art of riding pedal bikes with minimal scraped knees, elbows and hands. They thought they were ready to bike their way around the world. The end result: their two year old brother and I could not keep up with them.
I’ve always been a bit nervous of bike riding on the sidewalks or roads because there are so many unpredictable factors. My boys tend to get caught up in the adrenaline rush of pedaling their lives away and it doesn’t matter how hard I yell for them to “SLOW DOWN!” or “STOP!” However, our family loves escaping outdoors and releasing energy in a healthy and inexpensive way.
The Indian Creek Trails have proven time and time again to provide a safe, fun and memorable biking, hiking, and playing alternative.
One of the greatest perks about the location of our house is its proximity to the Indian Creek Trails. We can walk or bike to the trails in a few minutes. As a mother, who happens to work in the pediatric emergency department setting, I love being able to relax and not fear cars speeding or backing out of their driveways. We ride along carefree, listening to the sounds of the trees, birds, traffic, or water passing over the rocks in the Indian Creek. Since we aren’t training for the Tour de France, we take the necessary “play” stops at one of the many playgrounds along the way, some even have bathrooms.
We have taken a family bike riding trip to eat an informal dinner outside of Rosati’s pizza. I’ve accidentally ruined the morning coffee and taken it as a sign to bike to Starbucks for a drink. Thanks to the most useful birthday gift yet, the Adams Trail-A-Bike, my youngest(4 year old) and I have spent hours on the trail exploring trees, birds, and playgrounds. On a rare morning without kids or work to do, I’ve accompanied a mama friend for a ride. That morning, we biked right up next to a family of deer.
I typically pack a water bottle and snacks in a backpack. We love to stop and have a mini picnic in the woods. Depending on the weather, we will even sometimes wade into the water, though I wouldn’t drink from it. One of my favorite parts of family bike riding is the pure freedom and the joy of following behind watching my older boys help each other out and encourage each other. We quickly learned trail etiquette, for example, “On your left!” means stay to the right, you are about to be passed by someone faster! This happens a lot.
My boys have named the various rock islands they have discovered a long the way. There are the always welcoming and peaceful distractions of the changing sights, sounds and smells of nature throughout the trails. Plus, there is no laundry to fold. And I never worry about dirty dishes piled on the counter while we are out riding.
I grew up playing in creeks and woods around our house in Tennessee, riding bikes and climbing trees. I love the opportunity to relive bits and pieces of my childhood through my boys’ experiences. I often watch and answer their simple questions as they happily play in the woods.
“Mama, what kind of bird is that?”
Their inquisitive souls eagerly ask. We have seen cardinals, blue jays, doves, woodpeckers, falcon, ducks, geese, great blue heron, and other birds that we are learning to identify with the help of our new book, Birds: National Geographic Kids Ultimate Explorer Field Guide. Every time we explore the trails, we create awesome family memories together, even when one of us got a flat tire. After several years of adventures, the Indian Creek trails have always offered a beautiful setting to enjoy focused quality family time together.
Maybe we will see you out there this summer!