Family Cycling Create Lasting Memories

Create Lasting Family Memories

by: Ernest Freeland

In our lives which seem to get busier by the day the time on the bike allows us to escape, slow down our lives, while regenerating our body and our mind. The bicycle is a wonderful tool, a tool for fitness, a tool for transportation but it is also a great tool for the family.

I remember growing up our family would occasionally ride our bikes through Valley Forge National Park. Valley Forge was so cool because the bike path was rolling and wound around through so many great areas of the park. There was the long hill that was always a challenge to climb and at the top of the hill was a statute of a man riding a horse. (I had to look it up to remind myself that it is the statue of Anthony Wayne) That was also the top of the world’s best sledding hill at least in the opinion of a ten year old. After a hard fought climb I was always rewarded with a fun downhill ride that led off to the next adventure. The trail passes close by some of the cabins that George Washington’s soldiers spent the winter in.  I used to enjoy stopping there and wandering through the cabins imagining what it must have been like for the soldiers back then.  Of course no ride was complete without a stop at the visitor center where I could get some water.  Some of these rides were enjoyed by my Mom, Dad and I some of them were adventures that Mom and I would have.

I remember spending time with my Dad rebuilding the first bike he bought me that had gears from a garage sale, those gears certainly made climbing that hill easier.  While Mom and Dad had the coolest Raleigh 3 Speeds with a Brooks saddle I wasn’t afforded the luxury of a new bike just yet. That would come later as a Christmas Present.

I cherish all of these memories of time spent with the family all because of cycling.

When is the last time you took your family on a bike ride?

A bike ride with the family doesn’t have to be some monumental trip. It can be as simple as a ride around your neighborhood, a longer trip requiring more planning or something in between.  For my family the rides never occurred on a regular basis they just seemed to happen.

Families today are so busy these days running each and every way. A bike ride can become the time that everyone looks forward to, a time to catch up with each other, get outside to enjoy the great outdoors with an added side bonus of some fitness.

Cycling is a sport that is relatively inexpensive to participate in. No country club dues, greens fees or lift tickets needed. Just get on your bike and go for a ride. Certainly you need a bike to participate in the sport but you need equipment to participate in any sport.

Maybe best of all cycling is a healthy low impact sport that can last a lifetime.

People are busy and I hate nothing more than heading out for a ride and my bike doesn’t work perfectly. It’s frustrating, my time to ride is limited and it’s very frustrating when something takes away my riding time. That is why Crofton Bike Doctor makes bicycle ownership for you as easy as possible. All of our bicycles are professionally assembled so that they work right from your first ride. For every bicycle we sell we make sure they are properly fitted to the rider so the bike is as comfortable as possible for the rider. Every bike purchased from us also comes with lifetime basic adjustments. So when the bike needs an adjustment just drop it by and we will get it all tuned up and ready for the next ride. This way you can spend more time planning your next adventure then working on your bike or worrying if it will work. If you need help planning that next adventure then while you are at the store one of our professional sales people will be happy to assist you in planning your next outing. Or if you prefer we carry a wide selection of books on all of the great areas to ride. Be sure to ask for the free Maryland State Bicycle Map that we always give (based on availability) out with new bicycle purchases and are happy to provide all of our customers with one.

So what you need to do is pick the right bike for the type of riding you want to do. You’ll want to factor in where you’ll want to ride how far you’ll want to ride and with whom you’ll do most of your riding with.  So what kind of riding sounds fun for you and your family?

We’ll explore some of the different options and types of riding.

When many people think about cycling they think about a road bike with the “curved” handlebars now there are many different styles of bikes that are better suited for different types of riding.

For riding on the road the road bike is the obvious choice. Road bikes have come a long way and when you are properly fit to a road bike can offer great comfort for rides. In the last few years most manufacturers have designed road bikes with a slightly longer headtube to bring the rider to a slightly more upright less aggressive sitting position on the bike for greater comfort. The road bike will also have the largest set of gears which will make traveling the road easy and ideal for rides of all lengths on paved surfaces for the rider who wants to cover some miles quickly and easily.

A second option for road riding is a relatively new style of bike called a fitness bike or what we sometimes call a “real fast hybrid”. The fitness bike has a little more sporty position then a traditional hybrid with bigger gearing and slightly narrower tires. The fitness bike has no suspension making it lighter than a traditional hybrid.  Some of them even come with carbon fiber forks for greater comfort. The fitness bike is ideal for the person who wants to get a great workout with a little less aggressive positioning then what the road bike offers but more sporty then a hybrid. The fitness bike offers a little more versatility for the owner then that a road bike, the wider tire will still give you the option to ride across a field or on a fire road if you so desire. Fitness bikes also can be well suited for light touring and commuting.

The next style of bike is a hybrid bike which gets its name of being a hybrid between a road bike and a mountain bike. For this design the mountain bike offers the more upright sitting position and wider range of gears for riding, while the road bike offers the larger diameter tires which will roll faster for you. The hybrid has a wider more comfortable saddle then a road bike and a nice upright sitting position with a suspension fork and seat post. Hybrids are ideal for riding on the areas many great bike paths or light off road riding such has fire roads.

Of the styles of bicycles I have talked about are all built using 700c wheels, these wheels are larger then 26 inch wheels which are what the next two bikes are built around. A larger wheel will roll quicker and easier than a smaller wheel.

The comfort bicycle is very similar to a hybrid style bicycle. The biggest difference between a hybrid and comfort bicycle is that a comfort bicycle uses a 26 inch smooth tire. It still has all the great features of a hybrid with the upright sitting position, suspension fork and seat post and wider saddle for your riding comfort. The wider tires will offer a little more comfort to the rider and a little lower center of gravity from the smaller tires. Comfort bikes are well suited for people who plan to spend more of their time on less improved paths like fire roads or crushed gravel paths.

Then there is the mountain bike which is going to be best suited for off road riding. Mountain bikes have two styles; a hard tail which has front suspension and full suspension which offers the rider suspension in the front and rear. The mountain bike is best suited for the person who wants to ride off road and take in all the great miles of off road riding the area offers.

There certainly are other styles of bikes like touring bikes, triathlon bikes, fixed gear and single speed, commuting and BMX bikes but for the purpose of this article I just wanted to offer you an overview of the most popular options that are out there. We carry all of the bikes I just mentioned and would love for you to stop by so we can help you pick the perfect bicycle for your riding. We love to talk about bikes!

One thing that I recommend when at all possible is for people that ride together to try and ride the same style of bicycle. The reason I recommend this is that way everyone will have the same advantages and challenges that the ride offers. Certain people will not have to be working more or less than the other riders to keep up with the group. If someone wants to go explore that trail that leads to a new adventure everyone will have the same ability to explore the trail together.  This guideline helps keep the fun factor up and the argument factor down (for couples anyway) for everyone on the ride.

Road Riding: 1st Choice Road Bike 2nd Choice Fitness Bike

Mountain Biking: 1st Choice Mountain Bike

Bike Trails and Paths: 1st Choice Hybrid or Fitness Bike 2nd Choice Comfort Bike 3rd Choice Mountain Bike

If your children are too young to ride their own bikes we have several different options for them as well. We carry child seats, child trailers and trail a bikes or tag alongs for the older children. Check out an article I wrote that compares the pros and cons of child seats and child trailers.

Cycling can take you closer to nature or back in time with history. We are very fortunate to live in the area that is abundant with great places to ride. If you are willing to do a little traveling you can likely have a different cycling adventure almost every weekend of the summer. I’ll talk about all the great places to ride in another article but for a quick overview check out our Adventure Center or for some of the great rides that are coming up check out the Rides and Events Page.

So stop by and let us help you create memories that will last a lifetime.