Recently, I’ve had biking the brain. I, like many others, am anxiously awaiting my new bike—a Specialized Como E-bike in a gorgeous raspberry color. I’m not exactly sure when it will arrive, so right now, I’m busy planning all sorts of rides with my son, my co-workers, and my husband. Although I’m not much of a rider, biking has been a huge part of my life since Chris started working at New Moon almost 30 years ago—and since my son hopped on the balance bike on his 1st birthday, the activity that has been at the heart of our family. Trips searching for the newest ride, shuttling the boys from trailhead to trailhead, cheering on Egan’s mountain bike team—those experiences have created so many happy memories.
Since Mother’s Day is coming, I thought it would be fun to touch base with some other awesome biking and biking-adjacent moms to see how this lifetime sport plays a part in their lives.
Biking as a family is great way to spend time together, but depending on the kids’ ages, longer rides can be tough, and it can be hard to find time to break away from the daily routine. “For the past few years, cycling is something that I have always done by myself or with other serious bikers. In today’s world, we are all so busy with school, work, and family, it leaves little time…As my kids are getting older and learning to ride it enables me to spend more quality time with them doing something we both love,” explains April, a cyclist and runner. Mom of 7 and Birkie employee, Stephanie, enjoys being active with her kids, ages 8 to 24. “We’re able to all have fun and be active together.” She and her family likes to ride paved trails with no traffic or technical challenges so her whole family can enjoy the experience.
Kristin, an avid athlete who enjoys triathlons, Crossfit and is basically up for anything, likes to incorporate trips to destinations with her kids. “We ride at a nice and easy pace. My favorite is to bike to the beach, jump in, and bike home. Last April, the kids and I rode our bike to Silverthorne and swam just after the ice went out! Actually, I was the only one crazy enough to jump in.” (See, I told you she was up for anything!) “I love that we can escape distractions and just BE together.”
Also keen on including a destination mid-ride, Kristina, Creative Services Manager at Link Snacks, Inc., feels riding with the family is truly a social activity. “Whether my husband and I are riding gravel roads together, our family of four is riding single-track, or everyone—including the Grandparents—are making our way to town…it is a special way we can all be together, visit, and enjoy the scenery in a different way.”
Jane is a world-traveling adventure-seeker—mom of one and grandma of 3. She has loved cycling since the early ’80s. Her daughter, Marja, was raised with Jane’s and her husband’s love of cycling. The whole family even cycled through Ireland when Marja was only 10-years-old! Retirement hasn’t lessened her love for the sport. Jane bikes with the many group rides around town, learned to snow bike and mountain bike during the pandemic, and now she’s getting the next generation involved. “Probably the best part…is sharing this love (of biking) with our 3 grandchildren.” (Author’s note—all of whom have started out their cycling careers on Egan’s original balance bike that I mentioned earlier!) “The older two are now proud owners of Specialized Mountain bikes…and Grandpa Mike…will be at New Moon soon looking at a third.”
For some moms like Malu, mother of two sons, learning about cycling as a family has brought them closer together even as her sons are becoming more independent and riding without her. “My boys love biking! Because of the intensity of their passion, I have learned the lingo in the fastest and most effective way—complete immersion. I can now tell the difference between a road bike and a gravel bike and a mountain bike. I know that “Specialized” is a brand not an adjective, can understand what “mm” of travel in a shock means, and thanks to New Moon Joel’s history lesson I finally get why “clipless” pedals isn’t a misnomer. I hear my boys binge on bike videos, and bond over the dream bikes they plan on having—full suspension carbon fiber obviously. We have learned how to change an inner tube together, and found out the hard way that it is not “lefty-loosey” to remove both pedals…I have learned to let go of them at the single track trail head and wait expectantly at the other end…Supporting my kids as they enjoy a healthy, outdoor activity together and with friends gives me hope and happiness as a mother.”
But riding and learning with the family aren’t the only ways biking can benefit a household…and a mom. Many ladies I reached out to feel that cycling alone or with friends also has a huge impact on the time they do spend with their kids.
Kristin says, “Cycling has helped me be a better mom! Not only am I taking care of my health, which makes me an all-around better human being, I also can be more present and focused on my kids after I’ve blown off some steam on my bike and enjoyed those exercise endorphins.” April agrees, “Cycling has helped me become a happier and healthier mom because it helps me relieve stress. Biking makes you happy. Even if you’re miserable when you saddle up somehow just being outside and enjoying the fresh air and the people you’re with can lift your spirits. Exercise is probably the fastest way I know how to improve my mood , gain energy and be more patient with my kids and that’s why I love cycling.”
For Kristina, the exercise is great, but the company is too. “I love the support you feel riding with friends and other moms. I also value cycling alone and the time it gives me to think about things.”
For me, and I think for the other moms (and riders) I know, where we live makes it easy to enjoy all kinds of biking. I think we would all agree with Kristina’s sentiments, “I want to acknowledge and appreciate all the people who make the Hayward/Seeley/Cable area such an amazing place to ride bikes! This includes trail crew teams and the entire cycling community which has always been both welcoming and encouraging. We’re lucky to roll out from here—there truly is something available here for every kind of rider. Thank You!”
Being a mom and taking care of your kids is a constantly changing endeavor. For our family and for me, biking is that bridge that has carried us through the terrible twos, childhood, and now the teen years. While we love those kiddos as fiercely as when they were born, our relationships change as they go from childhood to adulthood. Egan is 13 now and starting to spend more riding on his own just like Malu’s boys. This is the new normal for us as moms of teens, and she describes this process so beautifully.
“Being a mother is complicated. It is a dance between holding them too close and letting them go, between overprotecting and missing something important, supporting without smothering, encouraging without forcing, rewarding without spoiling. Biking, since I can no longer keep up with them, has started this bittersweet yet necessary process of my letting them go and trusting that they can come out on the other side – perhaps needing a few more bandaids or bike repairs along the way…When I watch them take off down the single track into the woods, bright helmets flashing amongst the trees, gears clicking, I am often overcome with that twisting ache that every parent knows—the feeling of parts of your heart going out on their own, over roots and rocks, twisting through trees, racing along on their own paths out of sight. Sometimes I stand there, long after they have gone, and remember watching them learn how to ride a tiny blue bike with their Dad, the first day they balanced without training wheels, and how he ran along behind them with outstretched arms until, then too, they took off without us.”
Whether you are riding to get some alone time to exercise or with the kids to create some great memories, biking can be that bridge to feeling empowered, focused, and together as a family. So hug your kids and grandkids. Take the time you need to become a happier mom and get out there and ride!
Thanks to all the moms who contributed to this article — Judy Young, Owner of New Moon Ski & Bike