Living in LA, it is second nature, for most, to just jump in the car and be on your merry way, but sometimes shaking up old family traditions make way for new perspectives and awesome adventures. This past summer our five year old took off her training wheels and sped into the world of cycling, so we thought, what better way to honor her new-found freedom than by starting a new family tradition; bike picnicking.
It’s a fairly simple concept. Pack up dinner. Secure it on your bike. Head to your favorite neighborhood park. Eat and be merry. But, we discovered very quickly there are many details that needed to be worked out in order for the whole family to enjoy, so here, in a nutshell are the lessons we’ve learned to get the most out of our new family tradition.
1. Respect Your Child’s Ability
Don’t choose a park clear across town if your little one’s legs generally only make it once around the block. Take into consideration the entire family’s endurance level and map your course accordingly.
2. Know the Code of the Road
Study up and then impart that adult-sized wisdom to your kids, empowering them with the knowledge to stay safe. Ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as the vehicles. Stay alert at all times, and remember, a bicycle is a vehicle which should obey all traffic signals and signs.
3. Securely Stow Your Food
The last thing you want, after thoughtfully and carefully preparing and packing a lovely family dinner, is for it all to end up like roadkill, spilled out across the asphalt. Use a big front-wheel basket, or even better, a cool and convenient cargo trailer, like this Burley Nomad. Guaranteed to hold everyone’s eats, with room left over for mom and dad’s beer. I got my hands on one of these sweet Nomads when Burley invited me to be one of their #MothersOfNature Ambassadors and I can’t wait to find more cool uses for this cargo trailer!
4. Be Prepared for Mishaps
Being prepared is rule #1 of parenthood and biking is no exception. Invest in a small bike repair kit and a first aid kit, and make sure your cell phone is fully charged. Of course, chances are your ride will be smooth sailing, but you never know when it may come in handy.
5. Feast Like Royalty
If there’s one thing I know for sure, any outdoor activity is better with a delicious reward. I am known for going a bit overboard, sometimes when it comes to make-ahead meals to enjoy in nature, but here are a few super simple ideas the whole family will devour.
1 Heirloom Tomato
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Thinly slice the tomatoes, mozzarella and red onions then lay them on a plate, alternating tomato, mozzarella, basil leaf. Once you have used up all of the sliced ingredients, sprinkle red onions on top, lightly salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar!
Roasted Broccoli & Fennel
2 heads of Broccoli
1 Fennel Bulb
Salt & Pepper
Cut the heads of broccoli into florets and slice the fennel. Toss everything lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
2 Large Apples
1 small container of Blueberries
3 Persian Cucumbers
1/4 pound of Grapes
Core and slice 2 apples. Remove grapes from stem. Peel and chop cucumbers. Toss everything into a bowl and serve!