Sunday bikerides

Almost every weekend I go out for a bike ride with my 4yo son. It's a tradition we started almost a year ago and it quickly became a highlight of our week. We have a few different loops ranging from 4km to 10km.

Strava screenshot

Sometimes we go fast, other times we sit on the curbside for hours. Watching cars, trucks or constructions.

Sometimes we end up on a beach, other times on a playground. Sometimes we have a destination in mind, other times we don't.

Sometimes we talk the whole time, other times we ride side-by-side in silence.

It's a time that forms a deep-deep bond between us.

It's a time where he gets my undivided attention in a semi-distracted environment.[1] It's a time where we follow his curiosity. We are out in nature and there's no agenda. We try to make it back home by lunch, but mostly end up eating a snack somewhere out there.

After a good ride we'd be sharing a snack. Sitting on a rock in a marina watching the boats, the planes, throwing rocks in the sea. As a father I consider this the peak. I'm trying to make sure these memories burn into my brain, which is one of the reasons I'm writing this essay. I also started uploading these rides to Strava.

I'm also convinced that during these 2-3 hours he learns some very important lessons.


The curiosity-led learning is one aspect. We're following his interests, so he tends to remember all the details from all the rides. He's also getting really good at biking, which builds endurance amongst other physical skills. I think these are vastly underrated in our society today.

Early childhood development tends to focus very heavily on the development of the mind. So most people end up living completely in their head. I think it's equally important to know how to live in your body. And if you can teach that in childhood, then it'll come natural.

The other aspect though is persistence and learning how to not give up. See, the trick here is that I'm biking too. So there's no way out. I didn't realize in the beginning how big of a deal this was.

If we go 5km out, he has to ride the 5km home too. Doesn't matter how tired he is.

If he falls, I help him up, we clean the wound. But then he still has to ride home.

It's an environment where giving up is simply not an option. There's no one to blame. I can't carry him, even if I wanted to.

All in all these Sunday bike rides are fun adventures, sweat memories, but also there are some hidden lessons in them. Highly recommend!

[1] I'm convinced that semi-distracted environments are the best way to have kids open up. This is also why we cook at home. Making dinner and having the kids running around is a far easier way to get them to talk then during dinner itself.