I wrote a blog a bit ago about why I love cargo bikes so much. It’s a great activity for me and my boys. I’ve recently had a few parents ask me why I prefer this particular activity so much. Well, it’s a complete blast, to name a great reason! But I also thought about a few helpful benefits of cycling that have helped me as a parent, and have helped me strengthen the development of my kids.
I’ve loved riding bikes ever since I was a kid. It’s one of those things that never gets old, and once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget. As I’ve gotten older, though, I realize that it’s more than just a fun activity, as my health has become a major factor in ensuring my overall well-being.
With that, one of the greatest benefits of cycling has been incorporating an activity that positively impacts my heart health. I can tell in my stamina, both in my personal and professional lives. I can walk greater distances on construction sites and inside of home projects without getting tired. Plus, I find myself playing and dancing longer with the boys. I don’t even feel worn or out of breath. Once upon a time doing those things would have had a time limit. That’s not been the case recently, since I started taking more regular rides with the kids.
I’ve also noticed that my legs and calf muscles are much more toned—undoubtedly because of the pedaling I do on the bike. Most trainers and exercise specialist say that cycling is a low impact activity, and I agree. It’s not too strenuous on my body, but I also think I determine that when I decide how fast or slow I go. (I typically don’t go too fast with the boys in the cargo.)
Mental benefits of cycling
I think a by-product of riding my cargo bike with the boys is regaining mental stamina as we venture throughout the city. I didn’t measure it, but I found myself happier when I rode around with the boys. I’m sure it was a combination of the vitamin D from the sun, the mood enhancers from adrenaline and endorphins being released, and the natural reaction of happiness I feel when my kids are happy.
Whatever the combination or equation, one of the best benefits of cycling for me is having a more positive spirit and outlook on my life as a mother and professional. There’s a realization that I’m spending quality time with my family, and that makes me feel good. Also, I’m deliberately exercising, and that makes me feel great about my health and wellness. Those thoughts impact my self-esteem and outlook on my life. I get an opportunity to regularly release the stress from deadlines and various project needs, if but for a while. I feel like I’m winning on all accounts!
What about the kids?
I’m not the only one that gets something out of our casual cycling sessions. There are several benefits of cycling that I’ve seen my boys experience. They’re not necessarily getting the physical results that I get (because they’re getting chauffeured by their loving mother). But, I see the relational positives when we go out. They get to explore the city and engulf their little minds in the sights and sounds of so many different cultures.
I’ve answered so many questions from them about things they see or want to experience as we enjoy the cargo bike. Those can run the gamut from choosing their own sunglasses from a local vendor to helping the homeless that we see while riding. I don’t hide reality from them, because this is the world I want them to impact. That has caused me to answer some difficult questions from them. However, it has also allowed me to be an example of how they can change the world in small ways. That has resulted in buying shoes for some in need, and helping others less fortunate get a meal.
It’s this bonding and exploration that I think I love most when my kids and I go riding. These are experiences that might not necessarily happen while riding in a car. I guess our cargo bike allows us to not just drive by the world we live in; we get to immerse ourselves in it, and I get to do it with them. We share these experiences as a family, and that’s a benefit of cycling on our cargo bike that is so precious and priceless to me.
For many people, it may just look like my boys and I are aimlessly wandering the streets of Venice Beach. It’s so much more, though. We’re living, learning and growing together with each pedal rotation. We are also being good to ourselves and each other with each trip. And, we’re making memories for a lifetime, and I hope we are creating a tradition they will want to do with my grandkids in the future.