My name is Jerome Clementz, 36-year-old by now. I’ve been a professional mountain bike rider for more than 15 years. Most of my time was spent exploring, training and racing all around the world. Luckily my wife Pauline was able to join me during most of this travel as she helped me running my career and she’s also a skilled rider.
At some point, around 2 years ago, we were having a kid together, no stress for me as I was slowly moving out of my racing period, so I was not worried of having to invest energy into baby duties, early morning wake up and short nights. Actually, I was super excited for this new part of my life and ready to face this challenge.
Our life was full of this kind of morning
Telling the news to my family and friends, they first were happy for us but also raised some concerns. ‘Game over’ ‘no more riding for you’, ‘Now you are stuck at home’ ‘it was great to meet you, but now we won’t see you anymore’ were the kind of remarks I’ve got and made me realize things will be different.
I never experienced more than 2 months at home without traveling and all my weekend were dedicated to the outdoor exploration with or without my bike. This was probably a tough part to digest, but after all, I like to learn and experience new things. Or maybe you can still do cool things with a kid!
The need for action is always calling
I’ll save you from all the details of the beginning with a newborn and will not encourage you to go crazy from the start but once you can understand when your kid is enjoying things there is plenty of opportunity to still live an exciting life and bring him on your journey. Luckily bike is probably the tool who has the most options to share moments together. We started with Thule trailer, on some cycle path and some gravel road for some nice exploration. No need to stay at home we could still spend our time away and discover new places.
Cycling has a lot of tools to enjoy the ride with a kid
When he turned 2, he started to ride properly his push bike and we could put him on a seat on the front of the bike, to really share the stoke. Believe me, we never pushed him, and he quickly were asking us for a ride.
He doesn’t have to tell us twice and it’s almost daily that we bring him in the mountain for an hour in the wood with a mix of him riding his bike and some singletrails seated on his Macride(the seat on our bike). Thankfully we have a nice e-bike that really help us to make this ride easier and everything more accessible because, with those extra 13kg, it would be a mission without the assistance.
Front seat views are better
One problem solved, every day at home with a kid is not that bad, but what about holidays.
For this year we picked Val Di Fassa in the dolomites, a place that always fascinate us for its unique peaks, the endless valley, breathtaking views and Italian lifestyle.
We started our stay with some ride on the cycle path along the Avisio river where Emil, our son could ride his bike with us either on the tarmac, in the skills parks or pumptrack we could find on the way without forgetting a stop or 2 on some playground. There is not only bike in our life…
A day in the valley
Listening to the recommendation of the tourism office we made a visit to Fuchiade area with the trailer on some easy gravel road, check some lake and farmer life on remote places. Donkeys, cows, goats and sheep all around for a mellow day with a real taste of holidays.
Mellow day to warm up
Then as the weather was great Val Duron was a must-do for us, it has a steeper access but once you reach the plateau, you are lost in this valley with big rock formation around, some sharp peaks grassy field, few farmers hut and a nice waterfall.
Getting close to the wildlife
For us, our bike is a tool to reach nice places in harmony with nature, get to discover things you can’t reach easily by car or too far to get by foot, but also have this fun and technical aspect that fulfill our adrenaline and challenge need. Those bikes, and especially now Ebike, allows us to imagine some adventures and get to share this safely with our son, it for sure changed our way of designing our holidays and almost daily life as parents.
Someone was asking for good downhill
The best of it is that now, he is requesting some ride and ask to go outside. For us, this is the nicest things he could ask us, and we are always keen to support his demands.
All the family is having a good time
So, when he told us that he didn’t want to ride Gravel road anymore and that he was looking for some Jump and berms, it was hard to say no. We looked at some Green and flowy trail on the Val Di Fassa Bike park to make him happy.
What a pleasure to ride with him in and hearing him giggling while you are also enjoying the ride for real. On a personal standpoint, these feeling match the one you get when you clear one of the most technical trails or when you achieve one of your goal in your racing career.
But don’t forget that a 2 years old kid also need to rest, sleep long night and get a nap in the afternoon. Which allows us to go one at the time on a private ride, where you can push the boundaries and live your own moment in the wild. We set turns and either early morning for a sunrise or when he goes to refuel the battery.
Time for some single ride
To get to some remote places
People may think that we are crazy, but I can tell that I never weight as much the consequences of each of my decision. Falling is not an option and I always have in mind his safety on short terms but also impact on his future health. It’s not because you see someone doing something with a kid that you should do the same. People have different skills levels and kids have different evolution timeline. It’s not a race or about doing the craziest thing to impress the world but to create shared happiness in your comfort zone.
So, thinking back of what people told me 2 years ago, probably in a kidding way, I can definitely say that having kids doesn’t ruin your life, and even less your riding opportunities. There is some change for sure but also a lot of new experiences that make life always as enjoyable, if not even more.
Before you are doing it for yourself mainly but now you also have this teaching and learning aspect that create another sense of achievement and I don’t speak of the stoke you feel when you see your child smiling and asking for more. There is many opportunities and good things to do together and this is what life is all about.
Photos by Ale Di Lullo, Video by Maxime Moulin