Last week, we gave our kids one of the most exciting gifts ever. We had four new Huffy bikes delivered to our apartment, which were waiting for the girls when they got home from school. Mazzy and Harlow have only had hand-me-down bikes previously, so getting their own new bikes that were specifically picked out for them was super exciting.
We surprised Harlow with the So Sweet bike, which has removable training wheels and graphics of all Harlow’s favorite things, like emojis, ice cream cones and hearts. Mazzy got a metallic purple cruiser, which was definitely much more her speed than the pink princess bike Poppy bought her at a garage sale that we have at the house. Her new bike is also bigger and more appropriate for her height.
Mike got the Extent Men’s 18 speed mountain bike, which Harlow thought was super boring and gloomy because it’s mainly black.”I mean, mine is super colorful and makes me happy every time I look at it!” Harlow explained. Despite Harlow’s negative review, Mike was very happy with his selection.
My bike is the Good Vibrations Women’s Cruiser, which totally passed Harlow’s happiness test. Mazzy really loved it too. I mean, HOW FUN IS THIS BIKE????
That Friday, we went on our first family bike ride in Manhattan, which was only our second family bike ride ever, since Mazzy just learned to ride a bike last summer. You might remember that Mazzy and I tried to have a mother daughter bike ride in Mont Tremblant back in August, but that ended rather badly with me in the waiting room of a Canadian hospital. I blame the bike’s brakes because I guess I didn’t understand that braking with one handle would stop the bike short and throw you over the top. Fun times!
Our next foray into family bike rides was in Miami over Christmas. Mike got a two-seater bike with Harlow on the back. There were bike lanes and the streets were mainly flat which made for a really easy ride. Mazzy had gotten much more confident by that point and I avoided all major injuries. We had a truly wonderful time, with Mazzy naming it her favorite family activity ever (this means a lot because 9yos are really hard to impress).
That experience got me really excited for family bike rides this summer. There are always new big kid things that you realize you can do suddenly, which makes your kids getting older less depressing. Family bike rides are one of them!
Our plan was to ride our bikes along the East River, where there is a really pretty promenade, but I was a little nervous for how everyone would do on the streets of Manhattan on their way there. Mike was also afraid that the kids would get tired before we even got there. We ended up having our sitter take Harlow and her bike in a taxi to meet us at the promenade, to avoid any issues. Originally I was going to stick Mazzy in the taxi too, but she really wanted to ride with Mike and I on the way there. We agreed and she was right, she could totally handle it. I think she really loves when we trust her to do big kid independent things. It’s a tough leap as a parent, but if you know your kids can be cautious, it’s worth it. We just made sure Mike was always in front, Mazzy was following and I was bringing up the rear, so I could have eyes on Mazzy in the middle.
Going to the East River promenade was awesome because we so rarely head in that direction these days. Mazzy and Harlow didn’t even realize it was there. Back before we had kids, Mike and I used to go running there all the time, and then I think we took Mazzy in her stroller a few times when she was really little. But it’s a little far to walk with two kids, and there are closer playgrounds.
It turned out to be the perfect place to test out our new bikes— a long flat expanse, along the water, with a great view. We didn’t have to worry about cars at all and it was fun to pass all the various sporting events happening in the park along our path— a baseball game, a basketball game, people running around a track, a bandshell, etc.
At one point, we passed a waterpark with statues of seals that I remember taking Mazzy to when she was a toddler. She didn’t remember it at all. The water wasn’t turned on so we rode our bikes around it for a bit. We also passed under the Williamsburg Bridge and Mazzy spotted Domino Park across the way in Brooklyn. We had just been there recently, but went via subway, so I don’t think the kids had any idea where it existed in relation to where we live.
That’s the great thing about bike riding in a city. It gives you a sense of freedom and also a way to see your city in a totally different light. You miss the city entirely when you get everywhere via the subway and now that taxies have television sets, I don’t know how much my kids look out the window to see what we are passing.
Harlow did great on her bike. I didn’t think she would be able to keep up at all, but she was just a little slower than the rest of us. The promenade has lots of sections where there are big circular paths so Mazzy would just go fast, leave us in the dust, get to a circle and then circle back to find us. Mike had eyes on her the whole time, while I kept eyes on Harlow. Then we switched.
I also noticed that my bike was super comfortable and easy to ride. The cruiser has the seat set a little lower and farther back so you can ride upright. And it’s got easy coaster brakes so I didn’t have to worry about braking wrong and throwing myself over the top. I felt really comfortable and balanced, which helped me focus on the kids.
I think we all could have rode our bikes a lot longer and farther (the weather was perfect for bike riding!) but it was getting late and we needed to get home for dinner. I wasn’t sure how we were going to handle getting both kids back to our apartment with the bikes, but Mazzy and Harlow both really wanted to ride back. My confidence in Harlow had increased significantly during our ride, so we went for it. Mike stayed with Harlow while I stayed with Mazzy. We all got back in one piece and the kids were so proud of themselves for being able to do it.
“Are we going to do that again?” Mazzy asked. “That was fun.”
“Yes, of course! We can do it all summer!”
Biking is such a great family bonding activity.
Then I listened as she FaceTimed her friend and told her all about her cool new bike and our family bike ride along the river. My mom let me ride myself on the street all the way there!
You always know you’ve done something right as a parent when your kid ends up bragging about a family activity to their friends.
To celebrate National Bike Month, which was in May, Huffy partnered with the non-profit Together We Rise to donate bikes to foster families across the US. I think it’s awesome that Huffy would try to provide this awesome family bonding activity to families who need to bond the most.
To encourage all families and friends to ride bikes together, Huffy is currently offering a 20% discount when two or more Huffy.com exclusive bikes are purchased together. Just use the code JUNESAVE now through the end of June.
Our plan was actually to take our new Huffy bikes to the house after our Manhattan ride, but we had so much fun that now I want to figure out a way to keep them in the city. There are so many more areas in Manhattan I’d love to explore by bicycle, together as a family. I feel like this would really open up my kids to all there is to see and do in Manhattan.
Riding in the suburbs is fun, but there is no better way to see a city than on a bike.