IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF CLEARY BIKES YET, THAT’S BECAUSE THEY USED TO ONLY BE AVAILABLE ACROSS THE BORDER BUT NOW, THANKS TO MIKE AND LINA, THE BIKES ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN CANADA. LET’S GET TO KNOW ABOUT KIDS BIKE CANADA A LITTLE MORE.
Q: Hey guys, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: We met in Germany at the World Championships for slalom kayaking and I moved to Canada fifteen years ago. I’m a graphic designer and Mike is a kayak coach and sport development director. Biking started for me as a mode of transport in Germany and Mike has always ridden trails growing up, but has become much more central in our life since our kids started.
Q: When did you start getting Cleary Bikes to Canada
A: We brought the first order over in January this year. We visited Cleary’s headquarters in San Fransisco last fall, when we were at a wedding, and casually asked how hard it would be to bring them in to Canada! Four months later we were rolling!
Q: What made you want to get involved?
A: Our son first rode a department store bike for about a month. We happened on a used Cleary Hedgehog and after seeing the difference that made to his riding ability, we were hooked. That first bike is now on its fourth family and still going strong! Our daughter started on the Cleary Gecko before she was three and has now progressed to riding the Hedgehog and the Owl (depending on the day). We knew how awesome these bikes are, and wanted to share with others.
Q: How long have you both been biking for?
A: I started when I was 5. Living in a small town it was just how we got around. Mike has a vivid memory of successfully riding a bike his first time around 5 at pre-school in Banff and then proceeded to get in trouble because he hadn’t asked the other person if he could try it. He didn’t watch TV for a year, twice, in his teens so he could buy new mountain bikes. We’ve finally progressed to cushy full-suspension bikes but still enjoy the hardtail in the park or commuting in town on skinny tires.
Q: How old were your children when they first started biking?
A: Erik was four with pedals and Anna was shortly after at two and half. We built a small bump line in our neighbourhood (in the dark of night) and it was really helpful for our kids to develop skills in an easy setting.
Q: How life changing were balance bikes for your family?
A: Both kids spent lots of time on their balance bike. Anna had the advantage of tagging along at the bike park earlier. She was doing the flow trails at two years old on her balance bike. That time of learning was great because it got us back into biking in a big way.
Q: What are the benefits of balance bikes for young children?
A: It’s pretty clear that balance bikes allow kids to ride sooner. They develop the skills of balance and steering (and in some cases braking) without having to have their feet leave the ground. Once a kid can coast downhill with their feet in the air, then they really have the ability to ride with pedals. It’s just a matter of teaching the pedal motion and helping them overcome that initial fear of instability. We’ve found that a clear parking lot or ice rink is the best. Sidewalks are too skinny and it just takes one wobble to lose that crucial confidence.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of making a list of Kids friendly bike park? I love this list by the way.
A: We hadn’t found a really comprehensive list of bike parks that was easy to access so we compiled them into a blog post. Then we needed a giveaway at the Vancouver Bike Show so we had the lists printed up. We actually pull the list out pretty often to plan ourselves. On our last trip to BC we hit 8 parks in a week!
Q: What is your favourite bike park in BC?
A: That’s tough because there are so many, but probably our current favourite, for the kids, is the Hope Bike Park. Our kids 5 & 7 were able to ride the most variety of anywhere else and the setting in the huge cedar tree forest was really special. It is also really accessible for the local kids, whereas too many parks are built on outskirts, causing people to have to drive to them.
A: I would love to go and do some of the more travel oriented rides in France and Spain. Mike would be content riding the trails in Alberta and BC forever, but if we were going to travel beyond to bike, it would be Vermont and Moab/Fruita.Q: How important is it for you to support kids biking initiatives?
A: From the outset it has been our goal to give back to Canadian projects and programs that benefit kids specifically. Pump tracks are something specifically that we would like to see built in many more communities. BC is leading the country for sure, but Alberta has some hidden gems that are road-trip worthy. Yellowhead County (between Jasper and Edmonton) has 9 pump tracks alone! Quebec seems like it is on the right track, but there is so much room for growth across the country. There’s literally hundreds of grants for projects are really quite easy to apply for once you understand the process and there seems to be an growing understanding in municipal government about these initiatives.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: We loved our recent trip to Squamish and think that the template for the Little Explorers Club is wonderful. It would be cool to see Little Explorers clubs pop up in other locations!
I am so excited that we got to meet this fascinating family earlier in September, they are such devoted parents and are all about the outdoors and going on family adventures. I feel grateful that they are on board with us and our Bike Club and I am looking forward to work with these guys to support kids biking initiatives.
I LOVE THEIR LAST THOUGHT ABOUT HAVING LITTLE EXPLORERS BIKE CLUB AT OTHER LOCATION. IT WOULD BE AWESOME TO MAKE IT HAPPEN AND I TRULY THINK THERE IS A NEED FOR THIS.
If you want to know more about Kids Bike Canada, click the link below to check out their website and the list of all of the Kid’s Friendly Bike Park around BC.