Stepping into Allie and Tyler's garage is like visiting the best curated selection of equipment for biking enthusiasts. It makes you want to throw your arms around everything and ask questions later because you know, with the various options and attachments, there is a logical explanation for each item that can only come from years of experience and education.
Give me a rundown or lay-of-the-land of your biking equipment. What do you have and what is each attachment/bike used for?
We have six bikes total, so I guess you could say we are bike hoarders. We each have two mountain bikes: one XC (cross country) bike for all around riding and racing and one trail bike for more aggressive trails and fun rides. Plus a cyclocross bike and an electric cargo family bike.
Are there specific brands that you love most? Why?
A: For mountain biking, the Mac Ride is a must have! It allows you to ride singletrack safely with a little one. We stared riding with Ryder, our eldest son, when he was 6 months old. I take him up the main corridor of the Rattlesnake all summer long. We love ripping it down Spring Gulch and Curry. But the Radwagon is my absolute favorite. It is so fun to commute with this piece of equipment. When fully loaded, I can carry two kids, two dogs, and extra gear (kid bikes, backpacks, groceries, etc). It is the minivan of bikes. We love to bomb around town and also head to the river with this bike
T: It makes riding fun for both the kid and the adult. The kid is out front and gets to see where they are going and get the feel of leaning into the corners and feeling the wind in their face.
Both of you have such busy schedules, and for many parents getting ready for a physical activity with kids is daunting. Tell me what it looks like when you both want to take the kids biking (mountain or road).
A + T: We honestly find getting the kids ready to ride on the commuter bike easier sometimes, rather than loading them in their car seats. They love to ride on the RadWagon so they are always eager to get in it versus the car which sometimes they absolutely hate. They just wear normal clothes and a bike helmet--so not that difficult to get ready. When we go mountain biking Ryder typically beats us to the bike. Last year was hard because we had one kid under one and the other child almost two so they were at such different levels in regards to biking. This year we will definitely be able to get both kids on their own Mac ride and ride trails as a family.
How do you explain the biking community in Missoula, specifically the Rattlesnake area/neighborhood?
A + T: One word: epic. We basically moved here because of the superb access to singletrack out of our back door. It’s such a great community that fosters cycling for all ages. From watching the young kids in derailers up to local cyclocross races held by MTCX at the Ten Spoon Winery, the Rattlesnake is a community that embodies cycling as a lifestyle.
Tell me about a time when a piece of your gear came in handy and saved the day.
A: I can’t think of a time when gear saved the day, but I will tell you about a time when everything went horribly wrong. I was riding on the Bitterroot Trail near Victor with my son, who was only eight months old, towing him in the Thule chariot, and I was four months pregnant with our youngest. When we started the ride there was a small wind advisory, but being the avid cyclists that we are we decided wind would add a little extra challenge. On our way out, I had the most amazing tailwind. I recall feeling like I was going 30 miles per hour with very minimal effort. We proceeded to go about eight miles and then decided we better turn around when the weather worsened. When we decided to turn around this is when it got real bad. As we tried to ride towards Stevensville we hit 30-mile per hour headwinds. At this point during our ride we quickly realized the chariot does not do well with this high of headwinds. I felt like it was almost elevating off the ground with my son in it. My husband sprinted for home to get the car while my son and I sheltered in place along the highway. Let me tell you, it felt like a total mom-fail moment. Eventually we made it home with the help from a nice older couple. So my recommendation would be not to take the chariot out in high winds as it is not very aerodynamic.
Where did both of you get your love of biking?
T: Mine started when I was 10 years old and my dad had to get ACL surgery. His recovery was supposed to include riding a stationary bike, but that was too boring so we both got mountain bikes. It basically flourished from there and I’ve been an avid cyclist ever since.
A: I grew up riding horses and eventing. When I went to college I could not have a horse so the closest thing I could find to provide the same amount of thrill and excitement was mountain biking. Mountain biking had the same type of outdoor adventure and challenge that I loved about riding horses.
How are the kids liking being on a bike?
Ryder loves riding in the MacRide. He is transitioning now into riding his own Strider bike. Hayden loves riding on the Radwagon but almost instantly falls asleep once we start moving. We’ll see how this summer goes, he’ll be one and now able to ride the MacRide.
Any suggestions for parents who want to get out more with their kids? Easy places to start?
Our kids are still so young, so we’re still trying to figure this all out. But I guess if I have any advice I would say just get out and try it. The only way to see if your kids are going to like it is to try it. Missoula Parks and Rec and MTB Missoula have also done an amazing job at providing awesome access to trails and skill parks throughout Missoula.
- XC bike: Orbea Oiz
- Trail bike: Pivot 429 trail
- Family electric cargo bike: Radwagon cargo bike
- XC bike: Specialized S Works Epic
- Trail bike: Santa Cruz Hightower
- Cyclocross: Pinarello Crossista plus
- Thule chariot: multi-sport trail that can be used for biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
- Mac Ride: Front-mounted child bike seat
- Thule Yepp Maxi: essentially a child bike seat that mounts to the Radwagon cargo bike. We have 2 of these.
- Radwagon accessories: Caboose, front basket (for caring groceries and dogs), Conestoga (water proof frame that goes around the kid seats so you can ride in different elements).