Sunday Rides

Before the oil shocks of the ’70’s, (when there was no weekend shopping, and only one or two channels on TV).  Many a family would head out for a ‘Sunday Drive’.  With no particular destination in mind the kids would be jam-packed into the back (what seatbelts?) and Mum and Dad in the front.  If you were unlucky your parents would bicker the whole way, and one of the kids would get car sick.  If you were really unlucky the kids would bicker the whole way until the car screeched to a halt and they were told to ‘get out and walk’.  Ah yes, those were the days….

I’m glad to say there is a much more pleasant modern alternative.  The Sunday Ride.  With no particular destination in mind, you can grab your bikes and head out for a wee tiki tour. You can meander around your neighbourhood, explore somewhere new, or make use of a nearby bike path or trail.   You can spot fairies, count dogs or admire gardens.

Apart from ensuring your brakes work and your helmet is on your head, no special preparations are needed.  It doesn’t cost money, it get’s us out of the house, away from our devices, and into our neighbourhoods.  It provides an opportunity to ‘bump into’ friends (not literally I hope) and have a friendly chat with the neighbours.

It’s not about where you go, it’s just about how you go, and being.  It is gloriously simple, and simply fun.   Enjoy your Sunday ride, and perhaps tell us about it in a comment?


Everyday Cycling

Habits.  Some serve us well, like brushing our teeth.  Others are not so useful, like reaching for the car keys whenever we need to go somewhere.  And the thing with habits is that we just do them – without really thinking about it.  Sometimes when we step back and think about our options, we find new and better choices available to us.  For example, when your kids were babies the car was probably really useful, but perhaps now they are older their are some alternatives to car use?  Using bikes or walking is called ‘active transport’.  It is good for our bodies, our minds, our communities and our environment.

Making a short trip of 2km by bike with kids is quite realistic. Although, if you are just starting out, you might want to build up to that.  And research estimates that over half of urban trips are less than 2km* – giving you a fair few trips to pick from!  Often it is quicker to go by bike: congestion can be bypassed and parking is way easier!  It is definitely more fun.

Some everyday destinations you could consider cycling to include:

  • School
  • Shops
  • Cafes
  • Library
  • Pool
  • Soccer / swimming / rugby / music lessons, etc
  • Visiting friends and relatives
  • A trip to the playground or park

Google maps is a useful way of seeing just how far away your destination is, as well as your route options.  It even shows you estimated time it will take to bike vs drive vs walk.

Once you get out into your neighbourhood you’ll have lovely opportunities to meet your neighbours, smell the roses and discover new aspects of your part of the world.  And you may even find yourself with a whole new habit going on!

Biking is ordinary to me. So much so, I got caught off guard the other day. It didn’t really seem […]

via Habit Loop — Bikeyface

*The Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) (2007) reported in their Sustainable transport plan 2006–16 that the car was used for 54% of morning peak trips less than 2km long and 76% of trips less than 5km. The data also showed that cycling and walking were significant modes of transport for trips up to 5km long, but negligible for trips longer than 5km.  Source: NZTA




Be Sparky

“What a child wants – and DESERVES – is a parent who is SPARKY!” Roald Dahl

I love hearing stories of the fun parents have cycling with their kids: seeing  the sparkle in their eyes and hearing the glow in their voices.  Something about riding a bike brings out the best in us.  Cycling with kids is such a good opportunity to be ‘sparky’.  Roald Dahl’s full quote is good advice for any parent, but especially when we are out on our bikes with our kids:

“When you grow up and have children of your own, do please remember something important: A stodgy parent is not fun at all! What a child wants – and DESERVES – is a parent who is SPARKY!”

So when the going gets tough, or even when it doesn’t.  Get Sparky.  Here are some ideas:

Get Gaming

Do you need a crow bar to tear your kids away from a favourite computer/console game? Well, get with it.  Turn your bike ride into the game.  Have challenges, levels, characters, weapons, enemies, whatever it takes.  Join in the game, be the game, just do it outside, on your bikes, in the fresh air.

Be Silly

Kids too young for gaming.  Good, make the most of it!  Tap into whatever their thing is.  Fairies? Trains? Mermaids? Ponies? Minions? Pick the theme, the characters and harness up your imagination and theirs to power up some story fun.  Your bikes, your destination, your location….. they all become part of the game.  Let your hair down, give yourself permission to be a bit silly…… be sparky!

Once upon a timing

We love stories in our house…. do you?  Stories can come from anywhere.  If you are stuck for inspiration just borrow someone else’s.  You can tell stories from your childhood, kids love those, especially if they feature their parents being less than capable and perfect!  Or you can build a story together, taking turns to add a bit to the story.  It is always entertaining when the mermaids end up in space with the dinosaurs…..  And when you are busy telling stories, or listening to them, then you are less likely to notice that you are tired, or that it is windy, or that it was further than you thought….

So there you go, another important tool for your biking outings: sparkiness!

What are your sparky ideas?  Go on, tell us!

Book Review: Everyday Cycling

Winters a great time to snuggle up with a good book, and here is one you will find enjoyable and useful.  I like the focus on everyday cycling rather than a sports / fitness orientation.  It is written in a friendly, enthusiastic style and stylishly presented.  And it has a bit of info for families – another thing missing from most cycling books.

Of course what we really need is a book on cycling just for families, but that is not far away!  Meanwhile, check out:

Everyday Cycling by Alastair Smith

Here’s what one reviewer had to say:

This book is ideal for first-time cyclist and also has some worthy tips for the more experienced cyclist…The content layout and colour images are clear, simple to read and very comprehensible…For such a small book, it covers just about everything you can think of for urban cycling, from selecting a bike and cycling gears through to riding skills, bicycles on public transport, basic bicycle maintenance and recommended routes in major cities throughout the country…Above all else, this book is a great gift for the person ‘who has everything’ including a bike that’s just sitting in the garage collecting dust.

It is available in bookshops and online from Awa Press, RRP $35.

10 tips for the ladies on how to become a cycle commuter – Ignite Your Thinking

Some great tips for women who want to cycle.  And the idea of commuting with your kids is included too, awesome!

This is for the ladies out there, did you know we are very under-represented in the urban cycling stats? It’s time to change these figures!

Source: 10 tips for the ladies on how to become a cycle commuter – Ignite Your Thinking

Three reasons to cycle with kids

Okay, so who needs a reason beyond that it is fun?  In case you do, here are some thoughts on a couple of the other benefits of cycling and a reminder that, most of all, it is fun!


We want our kids to be healthy and active. We want less congestion and pollution. Cycling is a great way to introduce your kids to healthy activity and healthy options for getting around. Habits established when we are children last a lifetime.

The stats about kids health and activity levels make sobering reading. In NZ, kids are only cycling an average 6-9 minutes a week. Let’s find ways to change that: Let’s get out there riding with our kids!

Family Time

Sometimes my husband and I wonder if we are dragging our kids into our interests. But if you judge your time spent with your kids by the memories you are making, then our cycling trips come out tops. Our last cycling holiday was at our kids request, as will be our next one

“let’s have a family cycling adventure like this every year”.

They love the time together without the distractions of daily life, obligations and devices. They love the sense of adventure. They enjoy the shared challenges and experiences. We are making great memories.


What is it about riding a bike that puts a smile on your face?

I saved the best for last, because cycling is FUN.  There is something about the breeze in your face, the power in your legs, the sense of freedom. Everyone can remember their first bike and the thrill and accomplishment of learning to ride it. Bikes are fun, simple as that.

Why do you cycle with your kids?