As long as I can remember, I have loved the freedom of riding my bike. As a child, nothing motivated me more than being able to ride. I remember one Christmas, when I was all but ten years old, when my parents bought me a brand new CCM Marauder, my first "real" bike. Not a hand-me down, but one I could call my own.
My First Bike - A CCM Marauder
I loved that bike, and spent that whole winter admiring its unusual design while waiting impatiently for the snow to melt. I still have fond memories of checking in on my gift which spent the winter in the garage, anticipating the fun I was going to have on it in the spring.
I would stare at it for hours.
My dad and I never rode together, but he certainly understood the passion I had for riding. I think he realized the impact that first bike had on me, and encouraged me to use it well. In later years, he realized just how much the gift of a new bike meant - more so than any other gift a kid
like me could receive. Getting a bike for Christmas or a birthday was always the best gift.
I only understand now, nearly 40 years later, how the bicycle has been a good friend to me over the years, even when in some of those years I didn't ride much.
The first bike I bought with my own money was a Raleigh Avalanche, a steel-framed mountain bike that I had used up until a few years back when I discovered the world of road-biking.
Today, my oldest son rides that reliable Raleigh, and I make sure to maintain its
Before having children, I imagined what it would be like to ride with my kids. Teaching them how to ride on two wheels, discovering the neighbourhood...going that extra distance unachievable by foot. Riding together is something I can do to connect with my kids...something I guess I'm good at and the energy translates to them.
When we got the bikes out early this spring due to the mild winter, I realized it was finally time for my youngest son Timmy to have his first "real" bike... a bike he could call his own like I did with my CCM. I think I was more excited than he, recalling the feeling I had with my first bike.
He was reluctant at first, a much more cautious kid than I recall being. He was comfortable on his small 16" frame, a hand-me down from his older brother. To him, a new bike meant the uncertainty of something new. But he needed a larger frame, and so out we went to find his own ride...
Trying a bike... a little small
We looked at the big-box stores, the local bike shops, and even contemplated
throwing him on a road bike.....
A Junior Size Road Bike
But a road bike limits a kid, who wants to spend much of his time on trails and in parks...perhaps a road bike down the road, in addition to his mountain bike, but for now, an all-purpose is what he needed.
Last summer, we made that Father-Son biking connection while on a camping trip with my sister in Algonquin park, Ontario. Near the site, we found a bike trail that went on for many miles. We rode for about 15 kms, but it was on this trip that we realized we shared the same relationship to the bike. My son still talks about that trip, and later this summer we will return once again, albeit this time with his new bike.
A Proud dad with Son and Niece
The search lasted a while. It took some convincing that my son needed a larger frame, and while it would feel unusual at first, he would soon discover the benefits of a new bike...
We searched and searched, and tested....
And then we found a bike with a colour scheme that jumped out at him. Could this be the one? It certainly was the right size, and beautiful to look at. My son gave it some serious thought...
Today, our favourite thing to do together is to tour the parks in our neighbourhood. We call it the 13-park ride, and it covers a distance of about 11kms.
Not a bad distance to travel on a brand new Shiny Trek mountain bike... and as he gets
familiar with his new ride, our trips keep getting longer....
....followed closely behind by a happy and proud father.....and thoughts of nostalgia
from his own childhood...