Monday, April 08, 2013

Biking with the Sheep

It was about a year ago when I reported that my youngest son had finally finished learning to ride his bike. Hard to believe it has only been a year. Very soon after that, he started asking me to get him a mountain bike. The little one-speed bike apparently was not doing it for him. He wanted a bike with multiple gears and hand brakes like the rest of the family. He always enjoyed riding his little bike, but thought it could be better.

The boy turned 8 on Friday, and we finally got him that mountain bike. He loves it and was very excited to try it out. We made the mistake of giving it to him very close to dinner time, and it took us awhile to get him back to the house to eat.

We let him decide what our family Saturday activity would be. He picked (not surprisingly) to go on a bike ride.

We decided to ride up Waterton Canyon. I've blogged about Waterton Canyon before. It is the beginning of the 480 mile Colorado Trail. The canyon is a good place to take the kids riding.  It is off-road, but nice and wide. It is also very scenic, with access to the South Platte river and rocks to climb. It only has a slight elevation gain, so it is pretty easy without being too simple.

Connor loved his new bike and after brief instruction, easily got the hang of the hand brakes and the gear shifters. He went much faster than on his old one-speed and did not get tired as quick. He loved the ride.

One of the coolest things about riding in Waterton Canyon is that quite often you get to see Big Horn Sheep. (the Colorado State Animal). There is a good-sized herd that lives in the Canyon and quite often they make their way down to the bike trail. 

On our way up the trail, we came across 3 male sheep hanging out just off the trail. Even though we see them a fair amount in Colorado, I am still always in awe of Big Horn Sheep. Out of all the wildlife we've come across, I don't think any says "Colorado" to me more than they do.

We had lunch at what I call the end of the canyon. This is at about 6.5 miles, making it a 13 mile trip for my son's first mountain biking ride. He did a great job and even seemed to handle the slight uphill distance a bit better than his older brother and mom.

The ride back down the Canyon went even better. The path was down-hill so we went a bit faster. We even saw some female Big Horn Sheep. The males had decided to climb up the canyon walls.

Connor loves his new bike. Later that day and Sunday, he took the bike out several times to ride around our neighborhood. His mom and I apparently picked a good gift for his birthday. I am sure we will be riding lots this summer.

I can't wait to bring the boys on single track mountain bike trails. Now that Connor has his mountain bike, I am sure it won't be too much longer.

Go Blackhawks!

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