Navigating the UCI Road World Championships as a fam

Once-in-a-lifetime event! Time to make some memories, people. Here are a few ways to get your kids in on the fun!

Photo by: Señor Hans

It’s happening. It’s here. Tonight Richmond will celebrate the opening ceremony of the UCI Road World Championships, and tomorrow we’ll see how these many (many…oh so many months) of preparation and anticipation will play out as the first race events get underway.

Guys. It’s going to be great.

Yes, I know, the road closures have everyone feeling pretty twitchy, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime event happening right here in the good ol’ RVA, and you and yours get to be part of it. It’s time to make some memories, people! Get out there! Join the fun! Use these ideas to help your kids get in on the action, too!

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Bike to the race

That’s it. “Getting into the spirit of things” is a life skill we should all model for our children. Plus, riding bikes as a family can be a total hoot.

Embrace your alternate routes

You know what lots of kids like? Maps. Do you know what you’re going to spend lots of time looking at over the next week-and-a-half as you figure out how to get everyone to work, school, and the actual race events? Exactly.

Spend some time as a family on (or download the Richmond 2015 app) and work together to plan the different routes you’ll need to take to get around town. Heck, make a competition out of it: try one kid’s suggested route to school on Monday and try the other kid’s suggested route on Tuesday. Whoever selects the quicker route wins the title of “[Your Last Name] Family Map Literacy Champion”, which is clearly a thing all families should have so you can fight about it–half-jokingly, half-bitterly–at Christmas and weddings.

Create a family biking (or walking) goal

I won’t lie, while I’m stoked about this bike race, part of me does expect those attempting to drive in and around Richmond to just give up and abandon their cars in the middle of the street, a la “Everybody Hurts”. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

As a family, commit to biking and/or walking as much as possible during the nine days of the race. Work together to set a goal for total non-driving miles you’d like to see the family complete before the final cyclist crosses the finish line on September 27th. Then use an app like Strava or Map My Ride/Run to track your family’s progress over the course of the coming week (and some change). If you reach the goal, celebrate! If you don’t reach the goal, celebrate anyway because you made the effort!

Let everyone get behind the camera

The UCI Road World Championships will be nothing like anything this town has ever seen, so why not jump at the chance to preserve as many of those perspectives as possible? As you watch the races, or just as you make your way around town, give each family member the chance to snap some shots. The kids will feel even more connected to the action, and you parents will love to get a glimpse of how your kids see the world–literally, in this case1

Play the “license plate game”

But instead of seeing who can spot most of the 50 states on license plates as you ride down the highway, you and your kids will look for representatives of each of the nations2 competing in this championship taking place on the streets of your own hometown. Now some versions of the license plate game permit you to punch your opponents as you shout the name of your most recent “find”, but I’ll leave that to individual families to sort out.

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Now let’s do this, Richmond! WE CAN DO THIS!

Looking for activities to keep the young ones occupied between trials and circuits? Check out this list of bike-race-related-but-not-necessarily-bike-race-affiliated things.

  1. And if you don’t love your kids’ pictures, we probably will
  2. The Richmond 2015 app has a list of all of the countries competing, for your reference. 
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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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