Family Centered Cycling with Zia Rides
Written by Carol Godwin
So when was the last time you took your whole family somewhere and had everyone (even that surly teen) involved in fun and age-appropriate activities with new, as well as already familiar friends? No whining for internet, no sitting bored on the sidelines waiting for big brother’s sport to be over and no mom’s having to shuttle the whole group to the next event. Most people would hear the words “bike race” and imagine amazing out-of-this world athletes zipping by in spandex on sleek road bikes with fans crowding the sidelines. At Zia Rides, the term “bike race” takes on a whole new meaning.
Race categories for everyone
A Zia Rides race event is a family centered event with activities for everyone and for every age and skill level. Zia Rides Owner, Seth Bush, emphasizes that the events are about “promoting a positive community around mountain biking” and that “the events/races are really just a means for bringing us all together”. Toddlers to preschoolers have a blast racing around on balance bikes in their own mini obstacle course, elementary kids have a scaled-down middle of the day race that allows them to experience the fun in their own way and everyone else from tweens to professional racers to octogenarians has their own category to compete in, sharing the same basic course. Categories range from Solo rider to relay, duo, team and junior/senior pairs (usually parent and child). Additionally, 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest is first race of the year in the N24 – National 24 Hour Series Championship for Solo Racers, so the race includes both professional and serious amateur riders who are great role models for the youth. The number one rule at a Zia Ride race event is to be nice- treat those riding around you as if they were your treasured grandma- and in many cases they might be!
Even dogs get in on the fun
For those not competing, there are activities ranging from granola building and coloring contests to free massages and bike demos. Moms are comfortable allowing their kids to roam the campsite due to the herd effect: everyone is watching out for everyone else’s kids, giving kids time and space to be kids with new and already familiar acquaintances from around the country, while moms and dads have time to be themselves, perhaps even riding as a relay duo, taking turns competing and watching the kids. Even the dogs get in on the fun- well behaved dogs are more than welcome and they seem to form their own friendship packs, recognizing each other from race to race. Seth emphasizes that the series’ mission is “to provide fun family friendly events that welcome serious racers as well as week end warriors”, and really drives home that point by having his own kids fully involved in helping out.
“a means for bringing us all together”
Seth Bush is the owner of Zia rides and purchased the franchise in 2015 with the goal of professionalizing the series while keeping the family-centered feel of the events. Seth’s previous experience was in education sales, which explains the family-centered feel and focus of every event. The foundation race locations were in New Mexico (Enchanted Forest, Dawn to Dusk Gallop and Wild West) and Seth has expanded the series to relocate Dawn to Dusk to the McDowell Mountain Park, Arizona and Royal Gorge Colorado. Seth is hoping to eventually include all 4 corners states in the race series.
The next upcoming race is the Enchanted Forest Race, in the Zuni Mountains of New Mexico (June 8-9, 2019) and this race is a perfect first race event experience for families. The kids are out of school, the weather is fantastic, the race course is beautiful single track in tall pines and camping is in ponderosa pines with plenty of space to hang out with friends and family and hang your hammock. The course is an amazing course with epic singletrack winding through meadows, pines and aspens. The Zuni Mountains outside of Gallup, NM are a great place to ride, and are a great cycling or camping get-away any time of year. Zia Rides reserves the entire campground area for the weekend so there are plenty of spots to set up your area. Zia Rides creates a great party atmosphere with vendors, movies, food, kids activities, and fun for everyone.
What better Father’s day gift could you give dad, than a chance to ride his bike and spend the weekend with his family?
Wondering how a 6, 12, or 24 hour race is done? With Zia Rides’ family centered and fun-focused approach, there is no pressure to perform. 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest is a relay, which means that you are doing laps on your own terms and you can be as fast or as laid back as you want to be. No one is judging you, and everyone is welcome. Whether you are going for the podium or going for the party, Zia Rides guarantees that you will have a great time. There are options for solos, duos, teams, and a corporate category for teams of up to 10. There is also an Enchantedland category for younger racers and families on a shorter lap. So, come join Zia Rides for 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest – an amazing weekend of camping, riding, and fun! (What better Father’s day gift could you give dad, than a chance to ride his bike and spend the weekend with his family?)
Please visit Ziarides.com for more information. Additionally, Cycle Mania sponsoring the Zia Rides series in 2018 and is more than happy to help and answer any questions you might have (Cyclemaniaaz.com)