Wednesday, August 17, 2016

2016 Canadian Vacation: All I Wanna Do Is Bicycle

Once upon a time vacations for Daniel and I meant spending as much time outside doing activities we love. We used to visit Hilton Head and spend our time biking all over the island. Laying on the beach and swimming wasn't really our thing.

Our vacations tend to involve experiences like backpacking in the Smokies, camping in Hawaii, climbing Mt. Washington in New Hampshire (when I was pregnant with Jack), white water rafting on the New River in West Virginia, white water kayaking on the frigid Nantahala River in North Carolina and biking the North Carolina portion of the Cherohala Skyway.

And then we had kids.

To be honest, in terms of our love for outdoor activities, babies threw us for a bit of a loop. Don't get me wrong, we still did (and do) more with our kids than the average family, but it was definitely less than what we were accustomed to.

The last few years we settled into beach vacations. Driving down to a condo on the Gulf. Relaxing by the water. Maybe taking our bikes for a spin. But it was a lot slower than what we were used to. Nice, but definitely different. 

This year we had a change of plans, heading north to visit my extended family. We decided to spend a week and rent our own cottage on a lake. It was important to us to be in close proximity to my family reunion, but being on the water was important.

As luck would have it, we rented a cottage right on the north end of Lake Simcoe, a 10-minute drive from my aunt and uncle AND right next to the Oro-Medonte Rail Trail.

On top of that, the week before we left for vacation, Jack spontaneously taught himself how to ride his bike. And just like that we were incredibly excited about the possibilities of our vacation. 

Right before Jack learned how to ride, Daniel had decided to buy a trail-a-bike. This contraption hooks onto the back of Daniel's bike converting it to a bicycle built for two. We also had a bike trailer for Isaac that Jack could ride in if he got tired.

So off we went to Canada, kayak and bikes in tow.

Our cottage had a half-mile gravel drive and Jack practiced riding on it daily. He crashed occasionally but would hop up, proudly show us road rash on his arms or knees and get back on his bike. He only cried a couple of times.

From our cottage, we could take the Oro-Medonte Rail Trail into the town of Orillia to eat dinner. Restaurants were between 2-3 miles from our cottage. 

The first night Jack proudly road his little bike, making it the entire way (about 5 miles round trip) to dinner. He would periodically have to stop – his hands would get sore from riding on gravel paths, but he did great and we were incredibly proud of him.

Our second night, we decided to let Jack ride on the trail-a-bike as we went further into town. This allowed us to go faster and much further. 

We had planned on an 8-mile round trip, but we took a wrong turn and ended up going 11 miles. Jack rode the ENTIRE way on the trail-a-bike.

By our final night of riding to dinner, Jack had taught himself how to balance on his bike, riding with his hands sticking straight out to the side! Whenever he got tired of sitting, instead of stopping, he would just stand on his pedals.

On the trail-a-bike he could stay on the bike and ride on bigger roads. He proudly told EVERYONE that he got to ride on the highway. Just FYI, it was not a highway, just a country road for a short distance to our trail.

We had such a blast riding bikes on this trip. Isaac is already showing keen interest in wheels and I know it won't be long until we can go on much longer rides with both of our boys. 

I'm pretty sure that we biked at least 20 miles as a family during the week. Daniel thinks it was closer to 30! We are thrilled to be back in the saddle, riding longer distances.

My next post will be about our paddling experience on Lake Simcoe.

Video of Jack riding on two different sized bikes
and Daniel showing off his little kid bike skills.

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