Sunday, July 14, 2019

Kids, Mountain Bikes, and Ice Cream

NEMBA runs a series of kids rides throughout the summer and I figured Bug would enjoy getting out on the trail with some other kids and some knowledgable adults. At first she was a little apprehensive, but the prospect of ice cream won her over.
This particular ride was at Great Brook Farm where they have an ice cream shop where they make ice cream from the dairy cows raised on the farm. It is a really cool place. We have done several walks on the trails there. This was our first time riding at the park.
When we first arrived at the parking lot, it looked like chaos. Tons of families were milling about and kids were riding all over the place. Then one of the leaders came over and clued us in to the plan. Given the number of children and adults involved, it was extremely well organized. After gathering everyone together into one mass, they explained the ride structure and how to pick your group. Then they split into a number of groups.
Bug and I choose a nice middle of the road group. Bug was a little nervous because the ride leaders want all of the kids to ride as a group with the parents trailing behind, but she quickly got into the groove. The pace was nice and the terrain was middle of the road. There were some roots and loose gravel, but nothing too big. It turned out to be a good way to suss out where the group was in terms of skills and comfort.
An hour into the ride, about the halfway mark, the leaders decided to split the group again. One group  would do some easier trails at a slower pace. The other would do some more advanced stuff.
Bug decided to stick with the more advanced group and it was a good choice. We did some real single track stuff. It was definitely beginner trails with small roots and obstacles, but it was real riding. The kids all did a really great job.
There were two challenging parts of the ride:

  • A long, narrow bridge with a turn in the middle--the leaders had adults stand along the bridge to help the kids navigate and prevent any falls. Bug crushed it.
  • A steep, rocky decline with a sharp turn through a narrow gap in the trees. Most of the kids walked the part with the turn and trees. I rode it and totally understood why the kids walked it...
After the ride was over we all got ice cream. We also learned that if you do three kids rides, you get a free t-shirt. Bug is definitely looking to grab a new shirt!
After the ride I asked if she liked it. She said it was a little scary, but fun. She was proud of herself for learning to go over roots and trying some of the trickier terrain.
These are the moments that make parenting worth it.

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