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Enjoying the great outdoors can be an experience that no child forgets. He 9_l_208118074a5ff1aecf6fccarries the memory of fond and familiar times spent in nature’s playground with him into adulthood, and one day passes on the desire to explore mother-nature to his offspring. The memory of holding a fishing rod alongside mom or dad at the water waiting for something to bite, of walking through a maze of tall trees in the wilderness with the lingering smell of pine, of campfire marshmallows and chocolate smothered between dampened graham crackers; these are all gifts that can be found in the outdoors.

It is a gift without cost. Whether your appreciation of outdoor life comes in the form of observation or study, whether or not it includes its capture in watercolour or in photograph, or whether it involves physical exploration by air, land or sea, the intimate discovery of your world outside around you can and should be available to you without penalty. Who has not wondered in awe at the wingspan of an eagle in flight high above; who has not gasped at the majesty of the roar of the mighty Niagara River as it passes over the Falls; who has not stood still, frozen at the sight of deer leaping at the edge of the forest. Spending time outdoors with your kids should not be overlooked as a viable and affordable alternative to costly vacations far away. One inexpensive activity to share the local outdoors with your family, and get exercise is bicycling.

Bicycling can be a thrilling way to explore the outdoors, as well as help parents of energetic children to expend some of their over-abundant energy. Of course there is an initial investment involved if your family plans to go on regular rides, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. As well, once you have acquired bikes for each member of the family, where you go to ride them doesn’t have to cost a thing!

Bicycling promotes health, togetherness, and as I found out last week, teaches a certain amount of unspoken etiquette, a sort of “rules of the road” for bicyclers on paths. All of these are great reasons to get your family together, pick a bike path you’d like to explore, plan a date (this weekend, next Tuesday…) and get outside to enjoy the outdoors on bikes!