a peek inside the fishbowl

05 Apr, 2010

Know More Do More Mondays: biking

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Know More Do More

I’ve decided to summarize our Know More Do More campaign participation every Monday.* This is the first one.

I drew our first family activity on Rogers Daytime last week, so, much to my chagrin, I had actual witnesses. Marie Claude Turcotte (Manager of the School Age Program for Ottawa Public Health), the hosts and crew of Daytime, as well as all the people out there in TV-land watched as I pulled the following from the tip jar:

“Go for a family bike ride around your neighborhood or local park.”

And the statistic with which it was paired:

“Only 34% of parents report frequent use of parks and spaces.”

So here is where life gets in the way of good intentions, because it didn’t actually turn out the way I had envisioned.

This week we:

  • Did some yard work (as did the girls, in fact, they got out there before Marh and I did).
  • Did a cursory clean up of the garage. I put some of our old toys out by the curb. (They were gone in 10 minutes!) Paring down our stuff clears space for the toys the girls access on a regular basis and makes them easier to grab n’ go. Soccer balls, tennis rackets, skateboards, scooters, frisbees etc.
  • I took a hammer and some nails, untangled a crow’s nest of skipping ropes and hung them on the wall. I’m still not sure how the girls ended up with so many of them, but at least they are ACCESSIBLE now. Yay!

Mark pumped up our bike tires a few weeks ago (so no additional work there) but the girls did give their bikes a scrub down with a couple of sea sponges and a bucket of hot soapy water.

I would have liked to take a bike trip to some faraway destination, like the epic bike tour we did last summer (ok, maybe it was only epic for us) but I’m not sure Mark would have wanted to bike. He’s been biking to and from work (10km each way) and it’s been leaving him rather pooped at the end of the day. What’s worse, he’s not happy with the bike he bought two summers ago – it’s not as comfortable as his old bike – and unfortunately there’s no remedy for that right now.

So ours wasn’t going to be a big journey. I decided to use this activity to illustrate how far daddy bikes to work. I summoned an image of our neighborhood on Google maps and plotted a 2km loop. We’ve biked farther than this as a family, but I wanted to use THIS distance as a measure against other distances and use it to illustrate How Far Things Are. I thought this would be a good way to help them visualize how far 10km is exactly.

It took us 10 minutes to bike the loop, and when we got back I was able to describe 10km as “five times what we just biked.” I think they got it. And they appreciated what Mark has been doing twice daily.

Yes, it’s fitness AND math AND a lesson in bike safety! Woo!

Anyway, it went well. And although that particular little tip will be removed from the jar, the activity certainly won’t be removed from our repertoire. Biking is one of our favourite things to do as a family.

ALSO, the puppy has been great in terms of bringing an extra little bit of fitness to our lives. Our after dinner strolls have us walking more briskly (who am I kidding, we’re running after the dog) and it’s injected a lot more fun into it too. I’m not even counting the twice/thrice daily walks we take just to stretch our legs. Phew.

This post is part of the Know More Do More initiative spearheaded by the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network. KMDM is about empowering parents and inspiring them to take charge of their children’s health by taking easy steps to increase activity levels and improve eating habits. I’m one of two champion families who has been asked to take this challenge. You can join too. Check out the official website for more information. You can also get healthy tips by following @knowmoredomore on Twitter. If you’re blogging about your participation, please let me know so we can cheer each other on!

7 Responses to "Know More Do More Mondays: biking"

1 | DaniGirl

April 6th, 2010 at 9:32 am


Only 34% of parents use parks? Yikes, that’s awful! Would have thought it would be 80% and up!! @kidsincapital is doing a series on local parks — hope we can increase that number!

Hey Andrea, I’m curious — how long does it take Mark to bike the 10k to work? That’s about the distance for me, and I’ve vowed to start doing it at least once a week after I get my bike fixed. I’m guessing 30 – 40 mins? I hope it’s a little quicker than 5×10 mins!

2 | Kim

April 6th, 2010 at 12:04 pm



dh works near where you are now and I have been nagging him biking to work from Barrhaven the whole summer last year, it should be an easy 20 min on a designated bike path (woodroffe then huntclub). Here are the excuses:

1. No change room at work
2. so they have added a change room, but the shower is broken
3. It’s raining
4. I forgot my change of clothing
5. I have a meeting today
6. I have something to carry after work, I need the car
7. I am late!
8. It’s windy
9. Flat tire
10. Have you seen my bicycle lock?
11. But, my hair-do…..
12. I promise I will bike to work tomorrow
13. It’s raining…..Oh, have I said that already?

Here comes 2010, it’s been two weeks since I asked him to pump the tires. Not looking good.

3 | andrea

April 6th, 2010 at 12:12 pm


Dani – I think it takes him about half an hour. I am pretty sure his pace is a lot quicker than ours was the other day. :)

4 | karen

April 6th, 2010 at 1:04 pm


I was not surprised to hear that only 34% of parents use parks. I have taken my kids to our local parks countless times. Many of those times we have been the only ones there. I find that the parks are busy first thing in the spring when it has just started to get nice out. Not soon after everyone seems to vanish.

5 | Jennifer

April 6th, 2010 at 2:27 pm


We drew our tip from the jar last week. Can’t remember the exact tip, but we went for a walk after dinner each
night. How easy and how quickly it has become ‘just what we do’. That statistic on the park is alarming. Thank goodness not the case at our local park, it’s well used.

6 | DaniGirl

April 7th, 2010 at 8:32 am


Kim, I am so stealing that list of excuses! They’re very creative and it’s obvious your husband has put a lot of time and effort into them, so I’m happy to make sure they get a lot of use! ;)

(I have to admit, the hair-do thing one is my number-one concern. Helmet hair is such a lousy way to start each day!)

7 | Joanne from Orleans

April 7th, 2010 at 1:38 pm


I am not surprised about the parks stat – at our park in Orleans – we are often the only one’s there. :(

I am enjoying the challenge too!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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