My husband is an avid cyclist. He bikes to work instead of driving, and when we first married, he would enter races on the weekend. I used to bike with him, until I had a bad crash right before I got pregnant. I think he knew, at that point, that I wouldn't be riding with him as much as I used to, but he had high hopes for the future of the baby we wanted.
Biking with our little one. When our son was born, I could see my husband taking stock of the baby's sturdy little legs and wondering how long it would be until he had a new companion for his long bike rides. He decided that he'd wait until our son turned five to teach him how to ride a two-wheeler.
It was still a few years before the two of them could really navigate long trips and busy roads together, but the two guys in my life have always bonded over their bicycles. These days we try to rent bikes wherever we travel — and I even join them occasionally.
Walking with our little one. Personally, I was waiting for another milestone: I wanted a companion for long walks. I love to explore, and wheeling a stroller can be limiting, especially on rocky trails or lumpy cobblestones. Kids may learn to walk at around age one, but they don't learn to really walk — to stroll alongside you for miles or hike with you on a beautiful forest trail — until they're at least six.
That's why I found traveling with my son most challenging between the ages of three and six. Before he turned three, my son would stay in his stroller while I took my walks. I could go pretty much where I wanted to, when I wanted to, as fast as I wanted. But, at that age, my son didn't like being confined to a stroller, and our plans had to adhere to his pace and his schedule. I tried to use those years to acclimate my son to the joy of long walks, encouraging him to keep up with me as we explored together.
Eventually, things changed. He started to get interested in new scenery and even museums. Years later, I have an intrepid explorer who does far more than keep up with me. He's faster than me, has more energy, and has an insatiable appetite for seeing new things.
I can't think of anyone I'd rather take a long walk with. And I know my husband would say the same about his live-in cycling companion, too.
Beth Weinhouse is an award-winning journalist who specializes in writing about parenting issues and women's health. She's been an editor at Ladies' Home Journal and Parenting magazines, and her work has appeared in dozens of consumer magazines and websites.
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