Look Mom No Training Wheels – Isla Bikes

DSC_0214_Fotor

We are a cycling family!

When my wife and I first found out we were having a baby, my mind immediately starting running through ideas of how we were going to keep riding our bikes. Three years later and my little girl is now riding her own bike! That’s right, at three years old; she is riding a pedal bike without training wheels.

Kids Bikes

Isla Bikes

Kids Bikes

So to say that we take our cycling gear seriously is a drastic understatement. Our bikes are prize possessions that take us on all kinds of varying adventures. When our daughter was just able to walk, we presented her with a push/balance bike. Our little dare devil spent about two years off and on with the push bike, and within the last six months REALLY started enjoying it. She started rolling around on local pump tracks with it and taking it to the park on every trip that she could. To us, it was obvious that her balance was more than sufficient to step up to a pedal bike, but what brand?

girls Bikes

girls bikes

As I stated earlier, we are SERIOUS about our bikes. So when I started shopping for my daughter’s first bike, I spent a ton of hours both at local bike stores and online reviewing what makes a good kids bike.

What I found out after hours of reading was that the fit of the bike is just as important to our little riders as it is to us.

So getting a bike that has the proper balanced geometry is critical. What this means is that the bike isn’t just shrunk, it’s appropriately sized to allow our kids the ability to balance and properly pedal. I had all but made my final decision to purchase an Isla CNOC 14 when a buddy of mine who works at a bike store called me randomly and started raving about how well built these Isla bikes were. That was all it took for us. We contacted Isla and ordered up a bike for Christmas delivery.

toddler bikes

The ordering process was very simple. We went over a few questions regarding our daughter’s height and inseam to make sure the sizing would work and we were off and running. We added the fenders to the order because #1 they look awesome and #2 they are nice for keeping the water down during snow melt here in the Denver area.

toddler bikes

The fenders lead me into my first compliment for this bike. How many kids bikes do you know that are well designed enough to actually have quality fenders as an option? These fenders are both functional and stylish. They immediately make you realize how well thought out this bike is. The fenders are firmly attached and hug the tires just enough to stay out of the way during the inevitable crash.

kids bikes

Another feature that we’ve been impressed with is the braking system. The Isla CNOC 14 has both a rear coaster brake and a hand front brake. Initially I thought it would be a while before our daughter figured out how to use the handbrake, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Within a couple of rides around a parking lot she had figured out how useful the front brake was for slowing down and getting her feet on the ground before stopping. The brakes are smooth and function very well. I anticipate that maintaining them will be a breeze.

Toddler bikes
Happy Dance!

The folks at Isla have been making bikes long enough now to have come up with some really creative safety features for first time riders. One of these features we liked was the enclosed chain guard.   The free-floating chain guard keeps our little girl from finding a way to get her clothes, hands, hair, socks or any other items that don’t belong wedged into the chain. For a parent, this is incredibly comforting and helps you focus on teaching your child to ride the bike vs not damaging themselves.

girls bikes

Finally I would say that the adjustability of the bike is very well thought out.

The seat can be lowered significantly and the handlebars can be moved around to accommodate all different sizes of munchkins. It’s nice to know that this bike will be able to grow with her for a little while.

toddler bikes

Our experience with Isla bikes has been superior to all expectations. They are producing well-built kids bikes that have quality components and are built with tough falls and learning in mind. Our little girl is riding a pedal bike at three years old! She is totally enjoying the experience and we are excited to have found her a bike of this caliber to learn on. Thanks Isla bikes for making an amazing bike for our little cyclist.

girls bikes

 

Strider Bike – Strider Life

strider bikeWhen our little girl was 20 months old Santa brought her a Strider bike. You know the little tiny bike that doesn’t have any pedals. Where the kid just sits on the seat and “strides” along pushing their little feet while the bikes coast down the sidewalk. All the while they are learning how to balance. Amazing right!?

strider bike

Well she didn’t quiet take to it like we had hoped she would. She would walk over it and not sit on the seat. She would look at it and tip it over. Needless to say we were pretty discouraged by her lack of interest in this bike.

Especially since we bike as a family ALL THE TIME!

strider bike

xmas strider

So this past October we loaded her Strider Bike up in the Sprinter and headed to Vail, CO. (I received a Pugsly Fat Tire Bike for my birthday and we were on our way to pick it up!!) With 2 fat tire bikes and a push bike in the adventure van we headed to Frisco Bike Park. The Perfect Pump Track for our little girl to get some practice on!

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We took turns spending time with her while the other got to ride their respective fat bike. She did alright since she had hardly been on the push bike in nearly 2 years. We posted this video of her on Instagram. We got a comment that her seat was too high. So we took the friendly advice and lowered it….low and behold it made a WORLD of difference.

strider bike

Now our little dare devil is concurring all types of trails, skate parks and pump tracks. She LOVES single track and yells out “WHO DOESN’T LOVE SINGLE TRACK?!” while she is bombing down the trail!

strider bike

Its hard to keep her off the bike now.

We ride it nearly every day including trips to the mailbox and around the block in the snow.

This year if she is good Santa may bring her a pedal bike… we will see.

strider bike

strider bike

 

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How to have a Weeknight Adventure!

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION

Our last post we gave a you Simple List of Family Adventures that you can do any day of the week. Last night we decided to take our own advice and have a weeknight adventure!

 

If you can’t tell we LOVE our bikes … we have 9 total in our basement (not counting the baby’s Strider). Our friends call it the “Bike Shop.”  Needless to say we don’t get to ride ALL variations of our bikes too often.

 

We are part of a Mountain Bike Club near our house and they have a weekly Wednesday Night Ride. Normally we are elbows deep in a CrossFit workout during this time, but the stars aligned yesterday and we were able to do BOTH!

 

The trailhead is a huge open area where everyone parks and is still off the main road by at least 400 yards, so there is no traffic or a busy parking lot with lots of moving vehicles to be concerned about. We always attend these events as a family, including CrossFit (check out Abigail’s evening Crossfit Set-up here).  The baby is not a burden to either of us, and we became parents knowing this. So we have changed our lives ever so slightly to accommodate her. When we mountain bike, we take turns. This is the only biking we do that we can’t all do together; at least not yet. Last time we were out on the mountain bikes, I got to ride and Donald stayed at the trail head and watched the Abigail. This time I stayed with her and he rode.

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Trail Head

 

The ride was only about an hour long, so Abigail and I explored. These trails are part of the trail system we played in the mud at last week, although there was no mud this time.

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Adventure equipment

 

We took our time and explored the trail. She wanted to find Daddy so we headed in the same direction the bikers went.

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Trail

 

We picked up rocks and looked at flowers!

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Finding Rocks
DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Putting the flower back

 

Her Dinosaur goes everywhere with her now.

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
showing Dino the trail

 

She found a rock for him to hold during our walk!

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Dino and his rock
DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Dinosaur loves to hold rocks

 

We poked along at no fast pace, playing with our shadows and touching nature.  I have found lately that if I let her choose the pace, and the direction on the path we are going, she feels like she is making decisions and I am supporting her. This has helped with our Tenacious Twos. We struggle at somethings, but if she has a chance to make decisions and be independent the day can go much smoother.

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Taking a break
DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
holding Hands

 

When it was time to head back, I carrier the little adventurer for a bit. We had walked into the trail system about a mile. When we got back we had a drink and chilled at the Sprinter.

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Hanging out in the Sprinter!
DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION
Taking a Break

 

A great after work adventure was had by all! Have you been out on an after work adventure this week? Tell us about it! Send photos too and you could be featured you on our next post!

 

DO NOT COPY - PROPERTY OF ADVENTURE FAMILY IN MOTION

How to bike and wine taste as a family in Middleburg, VA

A few years ago (pre-baby) we discovered an area in Virginia where the wineries were close enough together that we could easily bike from winery to winery. One winery even said there was a “bike and wine taste tour”.  We have been trying to find this area since we moved back and low and behold, this weekend we did!

Wine tasting - Adventure Family in Motion
Wine tasting – Adventure Family in Motion

It was about 50 degrees outside so we loaded the bikes in the UAV and  headed northwest to an area near Middleburg, VA. The hour and a half drive took us on the backroads passing an awesome craft brew shop called Crafted.  It shares a parking lot with the only diesel gas station in a 15 mile stretch so we were in luck by finding both of them. Crafted wasn’t open yet so we made a point to stop on our way home.

Crafted
Crafted — Haymarket, VA

Just outside Middleburg lies the very small town of Aldie, VA.  The Aldie Mill Historic District had a nice quaint feel. Although, if you blinked you would totally miss the town.  While driving along, we noticed the all to familiar smell of  a smoker, bellowing out  the smell of the BBQ Master’s latest offerings at the Aldie Country Store.  Varun Parti is definitely a BBQ Master! We feasted on two massive plates of BBQ smoked ribs and 2 pints of mash potatoes and macaroni and cheese.  With an amazing lunch in our bellies we were sure to get a long ride in.

BBQ Master
BBQ Master
BBQ Master
BBQ Master
BBQ Master
BBQ Master
HUGS - BBQ Master
HUGS – BBQ Master
BBQ Master
BBQ Master
BBQ Master
BBQ Master

We first stopped at Chrysalis Vineyards which sits 1.5 miles off hwy 50 on a rutted single lane dirt road. We pulled into a picturesque setting with a pond, rolling hills and plenty of seating. There is a nice place for families to corral the kids while the parents can sip on a  glass of wine, play bean bag toss or have a picnic.

Chrysalis Wineyard
Chrysalis Vineyard
Chrysalis Wineyard
Chrysalis Vineyards

From Chrysalis Vineyards we drove a few miles down 50 to Greenhill Winery & Vineyard (although you could bike this portion, the road is a little rough at times).  Sitting directly off hwy 50 on a 1/4 mile long driveway, The Greenhill Winery and Vineyard was where we decided to start our cycling trip. While Donald unloaded the bikes I got us a nice glass of Syrah for sampling and pre-ride motivation.

Adventure Family In Motion
Adventure Family In Motion

This winery loop is a relatively easy 7 mile bike loop, with the primary difficulty being not tasting to many glasses of wine to continue on with the adventure.  You can start this loop by heading out of Greenhill Winery and turning left on US 50 for approximately 1/2 mile until you come to your first dirt road on the left named Parsons Road.  Parsons Road is a quiet dirt road with limited to no traffic, perfect for a mountain bike, hybrid or cyclocross bike.

Greenhilll
Greenhilll Winery

At the “T”in the road turn right on Halfway Road and start up a gradual hill. Before you know it, you will be at Boxwood Estate Winery and it is time to taste some more wine. Boxwood has a very modern layout with a wine cave, a picnic area and a circular tasting room.  Skylights and white paint fill the rooms with immense lighting and the wine cave is gorgeous.  Boxwood has great wine with a pristine layout.

Boxwood Winery Estates
Boxwood Estate Winery
Boxwood Winery Estates
Boxwood Estate Winery
Boxwood Winery Estates
Boxwood Estate Winery

After Boxwood, you jump back on US 50  and bike through the town of Middleburg. We had been here before years ago on a motorcycle and remembered the plethora of restaurants and cool shops in the downtown area.  This area is  a go to weekend stop for washingtonians. From antique stores to a conglomerate of restaurants and coffee shops, Middleburg is a great place to poke around on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Yepp Child Seat
Yepp Child Seat

When we got back to Greenhill we pulled the bikes up to a table at the edge of the field and shared a glass of red wine. The little lady of ours scooted around on her Strider in the field and stomped through the very small snow pile that was rapidly melting.  We ran in the field chasing puppies and tried to catch the horseback rider on the horizon.

Crafted
Crafted — Haymarket, VA
Crafted
Crafted — Haymarket, VA
Crafted
Crafted — Haymarket, VA
Crafted
Crafted — Haymarket, VA

After a day of biking,  we loaded up the UAV and started the drive home making sure to stop at Crafted on the way back. The quaint shop was loaded with tons of craft beers, wines and ciders. The owners and their cheerful dog greeted us with a friendly smile and a nice chat about ciders and the awesome assortment of beers available!  The owners have an extensive knowledge about the 100s of beers stocking the shelfs and are more than willing to explain the differences of them all.   After purchasing a good amount of cider and beer for future samplings, we were on our way home wrapping up another awesome adventure.

Relaxing after a fun day!
Relaxing after a fun day!