Contributed by The Taylor Family
Mountain Bike Atlantic had a chat with Hillsborough, New Brunswick locals, the Taylor Family, about their favourite places to road trip for mountain biking as a family of four.
Which trail networks in Atlantic Canada are your favourite to visit and ride with your family?
We live 15 minutes from White Rock Recreational Area and 30 minutes from Fundy National Park, so these two are our most frequented riding spots. We loved Brookvale and look forward to riding it again this summer. We also visited Sugarloaf Bike Park and really enjoyed what it had to offer.
What is it about those trails and surrounding communities that make them suitable destinations for all members of your family?
White Rock has lots of fun, technical singletrack that entertains and challenges all four riders in our family. After two years, we are still discovering different circuits that challenge us in new ways. Fundy’s trail system is fun but less technical for us. What we enjoy is to shuttle the runs and get as many gravity-fueled rides as we can! What we also like about Fundy is the area and other amenities that are available. The facilities at Chignecto Pavilion are top-notch. We rarely ride Fundy without stopping in the Village of Alma to grab some food at the Alma Boathouse Restaurant after a fun day of riding.
Do the skill levels vary greatly among your family?
Our kids are now 13 and 14, so their skill levels are fairly comparable to ours at this point in time. We have been mountain biking with the kids since the youngest was 6, so we have spent many years with varying skill levels.
What does each member of the Taylor family look for during your visits?
We look for variety in new trails and look to experience different riding challenges from one area. We try to find trail systems that offer multiple riding options such as skills areas, pump tracks and trail circuits of green, blue and black diamond. We all ride the same trails, but we vary sometimes on how those trails are ridden. For longer trips, we also look for areas that have other entertainment options to enjoy post-ride or on off days.
How often do you travel together to check out trails?
We always travel as a family to ride. We ride locally 2-3 per week and try to travel to different, new locations every few weeks during the summer season!
How do you incorporate schooling into your MTB travels?
We have home-schooled the kids for the past five years – mainly for the flexibility of travelling. When the kids were in a traditional school, we did take them out for a few days at a time and once for a month to travel and ride. They were younger then, so this was fairly easy to work out with the school. Now, we have the option to travel whenever we want and bring school with us.
Do you travel by car?
We prefer to travel with our toy hauler RV. We also have a custom rack for our SUV for local outings.
What kind of accommodation do you look for? Any highlights?
We look for serviced campsites in close proximity to the trails. Campsites with a playground or that are near the beach or water offer a great break after a long day of riding – not hard to find in the Maritimes! Onsite shower houses are also a great plus. The Sugarloaf Provincial Park camping facilities at Sugarloaf Bike Park are a great example of what we look for.
How do you make sure everyone is fed when you’re travelling? Do you picnic trailside, go to local restaurants, or visit grocery stores and cook for yourselves?
With the trailer, we will generally plan most of our meals. We always look for a great local restaurant to check out on one of the evenings. While on the trails, we pack snacks – mostly bacon! If the trails are away from our campsite, we will generally pack a picnic lunch and eat trailside.
As the kids have grown, our needs have changed. Instead of searching for playgrounds with slides, we look for beaches and WiFi.
We have definitely experienced rides where things didn’t go as planned, someone has a tummy ache, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed, etc… There have been many tears shed from everyone at one point or another. We have made it a point to get out and share our love of riding with our family. Some days this requires a lot of patience. That being said, we still love every ride!