Summer is now officially here and we are so ready to start school break. We can’t wait for days spent at the pool, beach, and water park, and we can’t wait to spend more time outdoors together as a family. One of our favourite family activities is to hop on our bikes and go for a ride. We are always on the hunt for a great family-friendly trail or path to ride, so we spoke with Colleen MacDonald of Let’s Go Biking, a fabulous resource for family-friendly bike trails in Metro Vancouver.
Here are her top tips for finding a great trail for an easy family ride plus a few of her favorite rides in Metro Vancouver
yoyomama: What makes for a great trail or ride for families?
Colleen MacDonald: Look for a flat paved or hard packed trail with no hills or steep edges. Routes with few people and something to see along the way make for an interesting ride. Parks are a great place to start. The first ten rides on Let’s Go Biking are easy and suitable for beginners of all ages.
yymm: Do you have any tips for a successful family bike ride?
CM: Start with a short and simple ride with a treat at the end, like ice cream at Steveston or Fort Langley. It will keep everyone motivated to get to the end of the ride. Take short breaks along the way, for catching your breath, resting little legs, and taking in the beautiful scenery.
yymm: Do you have any bike safety tips?
CM: Make sure all bikes have pumped up tires and the seat is raised to the proper height – with their foot on the pedal at the lowest point you want a slight bend in their knee. This allows for the most leg power for getting up little hills! And of course, make sure everyone, parents included, has a properly fitted helmet. It’s also a good idea to look at a map of the ride with your kids before you leave and point out any spots where they will have to cross the street or watch for cars
With these tips in your back pocket, you are ready to hit the trails. Here are Colleen’s top three favourite rides for beginners:
- Colony Farm has a nice mix of paved and gravel trails, there’s a river, a park and treats at the end.
- Fort to Fort is one of Colleen’s favourites – easy for little ones, views of the working Fraser River and surrounding mountains. Fort Langley is a great destination for treats, with at least 3 different shops for ice cream.
- Shoreline Trail in Port Moody is a safe, paved trail around the end of Burrard Inlet. Start at Rocky Point Park and have a picnic at the end of your ride.
When kids are more confident on their bikes and want to explore further, Colleen recommends these rides for intermediate riders:
- Seaside Greenway is the most popular route in Vancouver’s great network of greenways. It’s well marked and a safe separated paved bikeway for riders of all ages and abilities. The newest section from Granville Island to Jericho Park is super. For a fun family outing around False Creek, add in a trip on the harbour ferries.
- When riders are able to go a little further head out to the Maple Ridge Dykes or South Dyke Trail in Steveston
- When the kids are older and want a longer ride, take them up to Seymour Forest. It’s a great, car-free ride that meanders through the forest on a paved road. It’s the perfect ride on a hot summers day, as you will get some nice shade from the giant trees.
Thank you, Colleen, for sharing your infinite family-biking knowledge. We can’t wait to get on our bikes!
For more great rides, visit letsgobiking.net. You’ll find over 100 different rides to take in and around Metro Vancouver and beyond. Each ride has a detailed map and tips on what to do and see along your way or at the end of the ride.