The sun is shining (yay!). Time to take the kids mounting biking…with a tag along! (Yikes!)
I love cycling.
Mountain biking and road racing. In fact, I’ve been a fan of races like the Tour De France long before it became ‘trendy’. Even as far back as the final day time trial between Greg Lemondeand and Laurent Fignon.
The problem is, cycling is one of the many things that I don’t get as much time to do as I like, what with a busy family and busy jobs.
My bike is now woefully old. I’ve had to stick that many replacement bits on it over the years, it’s not exactly the same bike it started out to be.
And with all our camping gear, trailer, canoeing equipment, and the fact that there’s 6 bikes in our little garage, getting my bike out can be a challenge.
But with the warmest day predicted so far this year, and the fact that we weren’t off camping or doing something else (although only two of our kids were available), I decided it was time to get the kids out for a bit of mountain biking.
Taking a Tag Along Trailer
Our youngest (aged 5) still isn’t riding his bike completely unaided. This is something I kick myself for on the inside regularly. We’re such an active family, yet he’s not getting around by himself yet.
That’s part of the problem of course, we’re too busy with work (I’m away a lot), we’re off at the weekends, and week nights are filled with homework and after school clubs. But he’ll get there (he’s nearly got it now).
But even if he was peddling on his own, taking his own bike wouldn’t be an option for the ground and distance we were covering, so the tag long trailer, which is now almost a permanent fixture to my bike, had to come along.
An Easy Mountain Biking Route
We’re lucky where we live in that there’s a good area to mountain bike on Haughmond Hill.
This is a Forestry Commission area, but is much smaller than their larger visitor centres, and doesn’t have the ‘red’ and ‘black’ runs you can find elsewhere. Instead there’s just lots of trails for bikes, and most aren’t too technical.
I’ve been biking on Haughmond Hill for decades. When I was young, getting there used to be down narrow grass tracks, and there were only a few trails around the back of the hill that not many people knew about.
Now there’s a good bike route from Shrewsbury that connects up with the town’s cycle paths, so we could get there without having to worry about roads.
Rather than go up the hill (and there’s now a great many trails that go up and down the hill), we went on the trail around the side, which still had a few challenges.
Mountain Biking with a Tag Along
I’ve taken all our kids mounting biking on the tag along trailer.
Of course, this puts a great limit on what you can actually do, but it does work off road and gets them used mountain biking from a young age.
First challenge is the weight. Up hill becomes a challenge (despite please from me for our little lad to help with the pedalling), and down hill control is also difficult.
Particularly troublesome was ploughing through deep mud in a dip. Just as you want to pedal up the slope the other side, you have to pedal extra hard to drag out the tag along that’s still in the mud behind!
Then of course there’s the manoeuvrability. Tight turns are very difficult, and you have to make sure your little passenger doesn’t get caught on anything as you pass through narrow gaps.
And balance isn’t good too. Forget any fine bike control when someone on the back keeps leaning the wrong way.
But despite all those challenges, you can use a tag long for a bit of off road family biking. And the kids really enjoyed it, which is what it was all about anyway.
Fitness Tip: If you are interested in cycling to keep fit, remember that you won’t be going as fast when you have the kids with you, but put a tag along on the back and you’ll still get a good workout even at the slower speed!! 😉
A picnic halfway around was a welcome relief for us. We were hot, covered in mud, scratched by brambles, and stung by nettles….but having a great day out.
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