Family Day at the Bike Park

Photos and words by brand ambassador, Leslie Kehmeier

It’s a really good time to be a mountain biker. From the big city out to the smallest communities, there’s plenty of sweet places to ride.

Perhaps the most exciting part about this abundance of riding is the rise of bike parks. We have a few here in Colorado, including Valmont, one of the most well-known facilities in the country. It’s a place that’s inspired many other communities to follow in their, for lack of a better term, wheel tracks.

In July, Ruby Hill bike park opened with a full compliment of features from pump tracks to dirt jumps and multiple slopestyle lines. It’s just minutes from downtown Denver and an easy drive from my house in Golden. It’s been on my radar to go ride. It's also super family friendly so I called my sister, mother of four, and made a plan for a day at Ruby Hill.

Uncle Chris (wearing the Baron Jersey) gives our 10 year old niece and 13 year old nephew an overview of Ruby Hill bike park in Denver.

I come from a family that’s very active and outdoorsy. My sister and I watched our fair share of tv as kids but we also spend a boat load of time in our backyard playing sports and discovering nature (aka doing yard work for our parents). Bicycles were definitely part of the routine for us. Although we were limited to the cul-de-sac on our street or some close adventures in the neighborhood, I recall spending a lot of time pedaling. I guess I was hooked from an early age.

As auntie, I've been really psyched to pass along my love for bicycles to my sister’s kids. I’m even more excited that there’s so many great places for them to cultivate a love for the activity, something vastly different from when I was their age. Bike parks are a perfect place to get them hooked.

From the moment my sister pulled up to the park, I could see the kids vision locked into the dirt mounds and wooden ladder bridges in front of them. I’m sure they had a flood of thoughts ranging from curiosity to excitement to fear. We got their bikes set up as fast as possible so they could get to the discovering.

I couldn’t explain the pump track fast enough before the 10 year old dropped in and started to get a feel for the rollers and berms. She didn’t quite get the pumping (no pedaling) concept but wasn’t afraid at all of leaning her bike beyond the vertical plane as she took lap after lap.

Family style progression (wearing the Sprint Hoody)on the XS slopestyle line.

Meanwhile, the 13 year old was curiously pushing his bike up the hill to check out the slopestyle course. Uncle Chris spotted him just in time to jam up to the start hill and give him a lay of the land. Ruby Hill has a range of lines ranging from beginner to expert with a variety of features including rollers, table top jumps, berms and wall rides.

Eventually the 10 year old ditched the pump track and followed the boys up the hill. It didn't take long for her to lead them out on endless laps of the XS line. I don’t want to make predictions, but I think she’s going to be the ringer of the group.

My sister and I took turns helping the seven year old ride without training wheels. I’m certain that she’ll be the most daring since she just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t try the dirt jump lines with the training wheels attached.

My sister (wearing the Jersey Girl top and Joy Ride knickers) helps her youngest learn how to ride a bike.

We did a few family runs on the XS slopestyle line amongst the swarms of other riders, many of them families.  One of the coolest things about this type of park is the ability to ride together. It’s all about progression. You can be a complete beginner or a highly-skilled expert and ride together, creating your own experience.
My sister (wearing Lin'N Flannel and Joy Ride knickers) discovers a new way to work out, laps on a pump track.

As a fitness nut, I knew my sister would enjoy the park as a workout. The pump track impressed her the most. After a few laps and she would pull up and say “whew, this harder than I thought. This is a workout!” What surprised me was her smile. It was big and infectious. I’m glad I could introduce her to a fun way to work out.

It was hard to call it a day and pack up. Not surprisingly, the 10 year old begged for “just one more lap.” According to my sister, the bike park buzz lasted into the evening. 
Working on his balance and skills, my nephew rides over a ladder bridge at Ruby Hill bike park