Riding with my son
I became a father at the end of 2018 and since he’s been able to walk he has had an obsession with bikes and I know it’s all my fault.
The first bike I bought Monty was an indoor bike which had a wide “double” wheel at the back to help with stability. He absolutely loved it. He gained confidence and soon started to whizz around the house.
Before Monty turned 18 months, I started looking for a bike. Balance bikes are now the recommended way to get children cycling, so they can concentrate on getting their balance without having to worry about pedals and brakes. I found a second-hand balance bike from Strider Bikes.
The warmer weather had arrived, so Monty and I headed up to Marquis Drive over Cannock Chase, where he could have his first taste of cycling outdoors. The paths are wide and there are a lot of places to safely ride.
He took a few moments but soon impressed everyone who walked passed, with most people commenting on how small he looked but that he was enjoying it. We didn’t venture far, but he seemed to love it.
Monty’s first ride over Cannock Chase, at 17 months. May 2020.
Getting bigger and looking more confident. October 2020.
Riding with the dogs and exploring. November 2020.
As Monty got a little taller, he was able to make better use of the bike. We regularly went over Marquis Drive as well as down the gravel path near Shugborough Hall. After a few more months Monty gained his confidence and was soon wanting to ride it between the trees and over the roots!
Kids Ride Shotgun
I saw a video on GMBN about riding with your little one and it looked perfect. Instead of sticking your kid in a rear seat, staring at your back, they can ride up-front, holding the handlebars and get the full riding experience.
After borrowing a friend’s bike who had it set up and having a go with Monty, we were both impressed. As a parent, you’re more engaged with your kid, you can easily hear what they’re saying, whether they’re liking it or not. You can talk to them and explain where you’re going on to hold on tight.
I’ve taken Monty, with my two dogs, over Cannock Chase a few times now. We started easy, riding simple fire-road double-tracks, covering around eight miles each time. A nice break halfway round allows me to catch my breath and Monty to explore.
Now Spring has sprung and Monty is a little older, I am starting to explore some easy single-tracks – slowly – so we can get the full mountain bike experience. My Santa Cruz Solo is getting more use and we’ve both got big grins on our faces.
Our first proper ride with the Shotgun seat.
Monty with a big grin and my Santa Cruz Solo, in the woods.