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by Doug Usher
When my daughter was born, one of the things I was most excited about was our first bike ride together. Knowing this, my mother bought us a bike trailer for our baby shower from Lee’s Cyclery. As the months passed by and she got bigger and stronger, my excitement for that first ride mounted.
Generally speaking, most everyone I asked suggested we wait until around her first birthday
before we took a ride. She needed to be strong enough to fully support herself in the trailer and
her head needed to be big enough for a helmet. After finally reaching a 44cm head
circumference at her last checkup, we headed over to Lee’s in Old Town to get her a helmet.
For babies of her size, choices are pretty limited, but the staff was incredibly helpful in sorting
through options. They had a great Specialized brand helmet that, with the help of a thin beanie,
fit her head perfectly. Unfortunately, she absolutely hated wearing it. I’m talking screaming, tears,
everyone staring at us, hurry up hated it. But, going on the assumption that she would get used
to it in time, we made our purchase and headed home.
Now I needed to assemble the trailer. Truthfully, it was easy and came together quickly, which was good because rain clouds were rolling in on us. But I wasn’t going to let that spoil this moment. Besides, this is Fort Collins, those clouds could easily pass us by, or they could drop snow on us; either way we were heading out.
I’d gotten advice from an employee at Lee’s who said his kids hated their helmets at first too. The trick was for mom to get her secured in the trailer, while you sat on your bike, ready to pedal the moment baby was strapped in her seat. Once you start moving, he said, she’ll forget about the helmet and love it. He was mostly right. As we pedaled away, Madeleine stopped crying immediately, until she realized we were leaving mom behind. The tears started up again, but only until mom caught up with us on her own bike, and off we went, headed for the park near our house.
The freedom of being on a bike with her, able to hit the trail through the park and pedal right up
to the playground was awesome. Sure we’d done this on a walk before, but we were cruising
now and, for the most part, she seemed to be enjoying it.
Fort Collins has many great bicycle accessible spots to hit up with kids. Whether it’s one of our
many parks, connected by the trail system, a brewery, or just out for a ride, you’ve got options.
We even cruised by New Belgium to see their new beer garden and Liquid Center. It was
packed to the brim, filled with kids of all ages running around enjoying the outdoors, and of
course, bikes everywhere. With summer right around the corner, I can’t wait for the fun we have
in store. Come ride with us!