There is something about this slight chill in the air that gets me really excited about pumping up the tires and busting out the mountain bikes for some fall riding. There is no shortage of great trails all around the city that the whole family can enjoy! My husband and I began mountain biking just over four years ago while we were traveling the country full time in our RV. We got to experience world class trails out West, but there is something special about the riding right here in Chattanooga that makes me feel like we are still way out there in the wilderness.
Chattanooga has trail systems that cater to any and all skill levels, which makes riding with the whole family so much easier! There are so many places to ride, but some of our family favorites include Raccoon Mountain, Enterprise South Park, White Oak, and Stringers Ridge.
When our daughter Brynn was a baby, my husband, Gerrit, and I used to run shuttles for each other on Raccoon Mountain while she snoozed away in the car. I would drop him off at the top and he would choose one of the black diamond trails to take to the bottom where I would pick him up, then go back up to the top so I could take a turn as well. This saved a lot of time and energy not having to pedal up every time with maximum fun on the downhill with our limited nap time. As Brynn got older she didn’t always nap, but we would get a blanket out and play in the grass while we waited for one another. When she was around 15 months, we invested in a bike seat so she could ride with us on the more mellow trails. She absolutely loves her Mac Ride!
It’s a bit different than a lot of other child bike seats out there, but it’s perfect for mountain biking! The best part about the Mac Ride is that it is easily moveable from my husband’s bike to mine, and you feel completely balanced and in control compared to the seats that sit on the back or front of your bike. On rides that are a bit longer we like to take turns so we both have the opportunity to ride at max speed and to keep things interesting for Brynn.
It’s obviously super important to keep her safe while we are riding, so she wears a helmet and we don’t take her on any trail that we are not completely comfortable on or that is beyond our skill level. She loves it and claps and cheers when we go over a bumpy section or have to peddle a little harder up a steeper section.
Now that we have another little baby, we have been pulling our bike trailer from Burley on pavement in our neighborhood or out at Enterprise. Enterprise South Park is a fantastic place for beginners! There is a skills park area and trail difficulties build on each other quite nicely. Enterprise is also a great place to bring a balance bike. Brynn is almost three and she is getting more and more interested in riding on her own so we have been bringing her Strider Bike to practice.
Mountain biking is a great way to get outside with the whole family, even if your kids are small, and Chattanooga has so many great places to get out and explore! If the single track trails are not in your wheelhouse right now there are still so many places to ride, like the wide double track Rhododendron trail along the Ocoee River. Or even just taking a family ride downtown and over the Walnut Street Bridge is just as much fun!