For the Mwandia family, some of the most treasured family time is spent on two wheels.
Like many families, they’ve discovered the benefits of cycling together – finding it easy, convenient and fun to hop on the trails and explore.
“It’s nice to be all outside together doing something active,” said Angela Mwandia, who bikes with her husband, George, and two sons, Simbule, 6, and Nsenga, 4. “Everyone is out of the house, everyone is looking at the same things and no one is distracted.”
With National Bike Month in May, it’s a perfect time to get out and ride on the Dayton region’s more than 300 miles of paved, off-street bikeways – the nation’s largest bike trail network.
Here are some tips for safe and fun riding with your kids:
* Know where you want to go – and for how long. Take a short ride around the neighborhood to gauge how far your child can ride, said Lucy Sanchez, outdoor recreation event coordinator at Five Rivers MetroParks.
* Know what equipment fits your family. Try out various options through bike rentals or visiting bike shops, said Randy Ryberg, MetroParks’ outdoor coordinator for cycling.
* Be safe. All riders should have a well-fitted helmet and wear closed-toe shoes. Bike shop staff can help determine that a bike is in good riding shape, Ryberg said. Make sure all family members are aware of their surroundings on the trail and how to be courteous to other cyclists. Pack snacks, water, sunscreen and Band-Aids for a longer ride.
* Have fun. Children are often motivated to ride to a destination, such as a park. Cycling gives a different view of the world, so plan time to enjoy it, Ryberg said. “Even if you have a destination in mind, allow time to get there so you take opportunities to stop and see that turtle on the side of the trail,” he said.
Five Rivers MetroParks, which manages portions of six regional bikeways, has events planned throughout the month. For more information, visit metroparks.org/bikemonth.