I Made Myself A Mountain Bike Buddy

May 25, 2019

Moms riding bikes with their son

How can you really be a ‘mommy blogger’ unless you are writing either about the trials and tribulations or pure joy of raising a child...or you have an amazing art project, chore organizing chart, or ‘family’ recipe to contribute to the world?  The later ‘creative’ categories are not really in my wheelhouse!

As I wrote in some of my earlier posts this year, ‘trials and tribulations’ is a category I am all too familiar with. Living on the road, in an RV, for 8 months with my family has certainly made me an expert in that area!

I have not posted since before Christmas as we needed to rejigger our time commitments to sort out our daily routine.  The overwhelming nature of road-schooling, RV’ing, and running a business pushed me into a realm of chaos that needed all of my focus and attention to get back on track.  Sitting to write became a ‘time slot’ that I could not afford to focus on.

Now here I am, our journey coming to an end, back at it (with hindsight as my editor), and with 8 months of experiences that I could possibly blow up the ‘mommy blogger’ world with...ok, not really.  However, there is a wealth of storytelling, experience, and lessons in my head that I look forward to drizzling out over time.  

For this post, however, I am going to focus on the ‘pure joy’ part of raising my child while on the road.  Yes, I am working on a ‘growth mindset’ where you focus on the ‘positives’...or at least that is what my therapist said I was supposed to do :)

One of my favorite positives is that we are killing it in PE! 

I admit to NOT being such a great teacher in the standard academic areas, however, the educational moments that take place on a mountain bike ride are numerous and valuable.  Together, my son and I, are on a winding path of learning. 

Values, skills, and emotions such as teamwork, resilience, perseverance, joy, frustration, and accomplishment all weave together as we head down the trail. 

The tools learned while riding really helps us grow as a family and get through some tough moments.

NOTE: - Ok, we were able to weave in some 'academics'!  Play the 'biking number place value' game while riding with your kid.  As we are riding down the trail each one of us would call out a single digit number that we would designate for ourselves.   Braden would put the complete number together based on place value.  

For example:  There are 3 of you riding on the trail.   If the biker in the lead shouts out "3", then the middle rider shouts out "7" and the last rider shouts out "1", your child would organize the numbers by place value to be 371.  We then shift positions and keep the same number.  Depending on what position you are on the trail would change the number.  For example, 731, 137, etc.   Super fun.  Every so often our dog would run in line and he would be a "0" and add a thousands place to the number:)

To be honest, we have had many moments where not only the ‘wheels were coming off’ (literally as we keep losing hub caps off of our RV), but as a family, we were coming unhinged.  At times we were in situations where we could not escape the RV or each other.

Let me create a picture for you:  

Envision yourself being stuck at a Camping World for hours in some industrial and/or Suburban area with your hungry child bouncing off the walls of a small waiting lobby with no windows, Olivia Newton-John blasting on the radio, you can’t get into the RV to grab food at that moment because it’s up on blocks, maybe being looked at, with the dog entangled in his leash as you keep him from wanting to nip at all the ‘RV people’ who think he’s so cute but he is just as over it as we are.  Oh, and you can't get an internet connection to get some work done...ugh!

Braden falling apart

Mommy falling apart!

These trapped moments were the times that really challenged me as a parent.  I felt trapped and in turn, my energy and responses to my family were not healthy. Not to mention my responses to the Camping World service staff...yikes.

Though these low moments were more often then I would have liked, most of the time we were in situations where we could extract ourselves by getting on the bikes.  If we had extra adult demo bikes in the trailer I may have offered a bike ride to the Camping World staff as well...

Yes, of course, I would say this as we are CERTAIN that bicycles can change the world.  But honestly, it CANchange your relationship with your child. 

My son and I are cut from the same cloth.  Because of that, he is unfortunately saddled with some harsh….ooops...I forgot, I’m supposed to focus on the positives…  

...Because of that, he of course is a badass mountain biker who LOVES being in the outdoors just like his Mom:)  

The trail has become a place where we can breathe, repair, take in some shared family experience and remember to just have fun.  

The trail and bike have become a safe place to just enjoy each other and remove ourselves from the distractions that cause so much stress and anxiety.  

Granted, most of our issues are ‘first world problems’, but being on the bike reminds me of that and helps me let go.

Truthfully though, there are times where it takes me a bit to unwind, even on the trail.  I find myself pushing my son to go faster or falling into that ‘come on you got that’ world.  Sometimes it takes a reminder from him for me to take a breathe and realize it’s all good...and that he is only 8 years old and rides better than most adults...   I love when he teaches me a lesson.

My favorite moments are when we are starting to head down a slippery slope of frustration with each other and he will say, “Mom, we should go outside, you know you are happier when we get outside”.  Or, as we are riding he will say, “biking always helps our family get happier”. I love the awareness.

Aside from the amazing ‘emotional’ lessons learned, riding trails with my son, has become one of my favorite physical places to learn as well.  It is so amazing that I have a built-in riding buddy who actually loves being out there as much as I do. Not only are we exploring and connecting with our physical world, he is also teaching me new skills and how to look at a trail.  

I have been riding mountain bikes for almost 25 years and I love that my son’s playful nature has opened up a new style of riding for me.  I look at certain trails now in a new light. “Mom, follow me” he will say and off we go, down the trail, as I try to stay on his wheel, and discover the playful joy of just riding with my favorite buddy.  At this moment, trials and tribulations are things of the past.

We know you are tired when you come home from work or after a chaotic day, and the notion of loading up bikes, snacks and such to get to the trailhead or a safe riding area seems overwhelming, but the rewards you get when riding with your child outnumber anything else.  

The added time you put in to make it happen will pay off in more ways than can be counted. Even old dogs can learn new tricks, so get out there with your child and look for those new tricks!

-J9





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