Let Your Kids Enhance Your Bike Your Park Day Experience

September 12, 2016 - Eva Dunn-Froebig is Adventure Cycling's events and outreach coordinator.

Discover something new about your park or public land through your child’s eyes.

Families will love Bike Your Park Day on September 24. Enhance your Bike Your Park Day experience by sharing bicycling and a love for the outdoors with your kids.

Bike Your Park Day can be whatever you want it to be.

  • Get there your way: You can ride to your favorite public land if it’s nearby, or you can drive or take public transportation and ride once you get there.
  • Choose your distance: You can ride any number of miles that suits your family’s needs — the point is to get everyone on a bicycle to explore a nearby park or public land. 
  • Take it slow: Slow down along your ride and stop to read interpretive signs with your children to learn about historic sites or the natural world.
  • Urban parks count too: Explore your city in a new way by bicycling to an urban public land like a national monument or historic park.
  • Be a steward: Complete a kids’ ranger program or participate in a National Public Lands Day service project with your child during ride breaks.
  • Explore with them: See the park from the seat of your bicycle and through the curious eyes of your son or daughter.
Bring kids of all ages on your Bike Your Park Day ride.

The National Park Service offers many programs to help your kids discover the outdoors. The Every Kid in a Park initiative offers your fourth grader and your entire family free entry into parks. And by the way, admission is free in many parks on September 24 for National Public Lands Day.

Fourth graders and their entire family enter parks for free in 2016, thanks to the Every Kid in a Park initiative. 

Whether your child sits in a bike trailer, bike seat, or they ride a tag-along bike, strider bike, a bike with training wheels, or their own two wheels, it’s easy to participate in Bike Your Park Day with little ones. Check out the Get Inspired page for more resources on planning your family ride. 

Participants using bike trailers, child seats, tag-along bikes, strider bikes, and bikes with training wheels are all welcome to be part of Bike Your Park Day.

Be Safe

Make sure your kids — no matter what age — wear a properly fitted helmet ... you too, moms and dads! 

And before you leave, give your family’s bike equipment a check. Fill the tires with air and ensure the brakes work.

If your family feels uncomfortable sharing the road with vehicles, seek a separated bicycle/pedestrian path on public lands as your Bike Your Park Day route. Some parks, like Crater Lake National Park, hold car-free days, so you can ride with your kids worry free. If sharing the road with vehicles, see and be seen by riding in daylight, wearing bright colors, and making eye contact with drivers.

Participate in a car-free day in a park or public land, like the one pictured here, at Lassen National Park.

Pack A Picnic

Snacks and drinks are key when you’re riding with kids.

I once saved a ride with my son, filled with complaints about sunscreen and an itchy helmet, by stopping for a water-pretzel-gummy-bear break. I used to never let my son indulge in sugar-filled products like energy chews and gels. But now, anything goes when we’re riding our bikes. I pack my panniers with turkey sandwiches, beef jerky, cookies, cold lemonade, and energy chews or candy. The right snacks can make a big difference in a child’s mood. Plus, you can turn your assortment of snacks into a lovely trailside or roadside picnic.

Food is important to young bicyclists — and for bicyclists of all ages!

Be Flexible

Weekend plans don’t always go as expected when you have kids in tow. Sometimes you have to turn around early or spontaneously stop for ice cream. Little ones may get too tired to ride the entire route. Bring a bike trailer or tag-along bike and a way to transport your young child’s bike as backup in case your child decides to hop in your bike trailer for a rest. Alternatively, seek a shuttle service so you have the option of riding one way, or just decide that it’s okay to turn around early. Use the time to explore your park off your bicycle or participate in a National Public Lands Day service project. As your child goes on more bike adventures, he or she will get stronger and more interested in riding longer distances.

Everyone is OK! This litte guy rests and cools his head in a stream of water during a car-free day at Glacier National Park.

Not sure where to start when planning your Bike Your Park Day ride? Here are some examples of family-friendly Bike Your Park Day rides, open for others to join, ranging from 3 miles to 45 miles. Join an existing Bike Your Park Day ride on the interactive map or get inspired to plan your own.

Bike Your Park with your entire family.

Now join a ride or design your own adventure and be sure to register it for free at BikeYourParkDay.org.

Photo 1 courtesy of Meg Whicher | Photo 2 by Jeff Bookwalter | Photo 3 & 4 by Saara Snow | Photo 5 courtesy of Lassen NP | Photo 6 & 7 by Eva Dunn-Froebig | Photo 8 courtesy of Jamie Bianchini

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40th Blue Length wise.jpg

Adventure Cycling celebrated its 40th anniversary all year with National Bike Travel Weekend, the Montana Bicycle Celebration, and Bike Your Park Day. Look for National Bike Travel Weekend and Bike Your Park Day in 2017. Thank you to the 40th anniversary sponsors: Raleigh BicyclesMontana Department of CommerceSalsa CyclesAdvocate CyclesBlue Cross Blue Shield of MontanaPrimal WearVisit MississippiVisit IdahoTravel OregonOsprey PacksExperience Plus!Destination Missoula and Missoulian.

Find out more about Adventure Cycling’s generous sponsors.

 
 

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