Staying home and creating a balance with school, work, and family life has been a new challenge for families this spring. If you are feeling the need to get outside—or get your kids outside—consider the Canalway Trail as an ideal place for safe recreation and hands-on learning. The trail will take you though hundreds of years of New York State history along the Erie and Champlain Canals. There are fun places to explore all along the way.
Here are a few top tips for cycling with kids that will ensure fun outings for the whole family.
- Choose a realistic destination to give your kids a point to shoot for as they ride and a sense of accomplishment when they reach it. Consider a lock, lift bridge, a neighboring town, park, historic site, or ice cream stand.
- Plan shorter rides initially and lengthen them as your child’s interest and stamina grow. Better to leave them wanting more than exhausted at the end of the ride.
- Stop along the way. There are plenty of great areas to stop and see historic canal structures, learn New York history, and spot wildlife. Refuel with water and snacks as needed.
- Teach your kids to practice safe bike etiquette. Show them hand signals for stopping and turning. Take turns calling out “Passing on the left!” In New York State, all children under the age of 14 are required to wear certified bicycle safety helmets. Be a good role model and wear yours, too.
- Celebrate your accomplishment. Track your miles and share praise for being safe, going the distance, and noticing things along the way.
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor has developed kid-friendly rides in each region. Parking, mileage, and things to see are included for each ride. eriecanalway.org/explore/cycling/cycling-kids
Take the Canalway Challenge
Challenge your family to complete 15 miles along New York’s canals as part of the Canalway Challenge. You can complete your mileage in one big trip or many shorter ones. Register for free online and earn a certificate of recognition, car magnet, sticker, and sport bandana when you cross the finish line.