“Let’s go, Daddy!  Let’s go!”

These are the words I hear from my riding partner as I struggle to get the trail-a-bike hooked up.  Quite a bit different than the banter regarding tire pressure, gearing, or post ride beverages that I had come to expect over the years.  My daughter Evelyn Rose, or Evie as we call her, is my primary riding companion.

Let me back up a bit.  My wife, Candace, and I forged our relationship while being on two wheels, and the adventures that they often encompass.  Less than six weeks after getting hitched we packed up our bikes, camping gear, and life’s accumulations of stuff to head west and start a new life in Southern California.  This destination was not by chance as we knew we wanted to spend a few years away from home to grow as a couple, and, most importantly, ride our bikes.  The destination itself was a surprise, as we did not know the plethora of ride options, and the great network of riders SoCal would offer. We originally were shooting for a destination such as Utah, Montana, or Colorado, being more aware of the thick riding culture; however God, jobs, and amazing circumstances took us to a new location that quickly became home. Candace was my cycling cohort then, and a love of riding is something we still share to this day.  We did not know at this time how much our love of riding, and people who ride, would grow within our short California stint.

Indoctrinated into the fold early.

Working on the pumptrack

Now, flash forward 5.5 years.  How greatly things have changed.  We have been back in Indiana for a year, and in August of 2012 we welcomed a beautiful baby girl to our family.  Candace and I knew that we wanted to introduce Evelyn to the glory of exploring by bike as soon as we safely could.  So we did what every new parent would do; we consulted Google.  Now, there is an overwhelming amount of information regarding riding with children on the net.  We developed a tentative plan, and then consulted with our Pediatrician to get his blessing.  We started Evie off in a trailer with a different strap arrangement to provide a bit more support and comfort.   We logged many miles with this arrangement as she was comfortable inside the trailer and often had books, snacks and her dolly to keep her company.

Items to Inspire the Ride with Your Child

At about 14 months we introduced her to the Ibert*.  I had a buddy that had used one with his son, and we’d all enjoyed the experience and joy it brought to family and friends alike.  I liked the idea of her being in front of me, and it offered a way for us to converse about what we were seeing around us. More often than not, our, “conversations,” were simply us singing songs…There is nothing like riding past people while in the middle of a rousing rendition of Wheels On The Bus.  She loved being in the Ibert, so much so that she often would choose it over the trailer.  I’ll never forget the day that Evie and I had  stopped for a drink of water when a group of four rode up to us and one said: “See, I told you” to another in the group.  “She was singing when they passed me on that climb.”

Sweeping up the bike shop

Bozeman, MT view

Singletrack smiles for miles and miles

Thule's Improved Take on the iBert

Giro ME2 Youth Helmet

Evelyn just turned 3 this August, and she is now asking to go on rides.  It is heartwarming to walk in the door from work and have your child run up and say: “Let’s go for a ride, Daddy!”  We have now introduced Evie to a trail-a-bike.  She is still a bit short to be able to pedal, so I attached a makeshift platform for her to place her feet.  The furthest we have ventured with this arrangement is about three miles. I miss chasing my original riding partner on the trails, and I look forward to finding the time to do this again in the future.  Candace is currently too pregnant with our second to be, “chased;” however, Candace and I are enjoying this time of introducing our daughter to something we both love and cherish.

Chasing my girls

Here fishy fishy fishy

My rides don’t consist of chasing down KOM’s or worrying about lactic threshold, but I’d venture to guess that my miles to smiles ratio surpasses many.