In the biking world you have probably heard his voice or experienced his passion and energy announcing events. He is known as the Director of Good times, one of the Godfathers and original member of the ‘Froriders’ and a Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee. Pushing the limits of mountain biking for over twenty years, he has had many chapters in his life. We sat down to ask him about his latest adventure, being a dad. This is Brett Tippie.
How has your life changed since becoming a Dad?
My life is a lot busier. Having my girls is the best thing that ever happened to me. I have an awesome wife, we met late in life, we are going to be old parents but that’s ok because we have lots of energy.
I’ve really got to get super organized in order to get everything done. I have to do to be a good parent and good father but I also need to get some shred time. You need to be dialed with your partner to do the necessities like groceries, school pickups etc. I used to run on a loose program, I was a bit of a nomad. Now I have had to become super organized as a dad. I want to be a good dad that still shreds with friends or solo but not be a deadbeat non-involved dad.
I’ve spent a lot of my life doing gnarly things. Now it’s a little bit scary when you have kids. I want to be around to support them and see them grow up. I really went for a lot of things in my life; big cliff drops and steep chutes that were potentially life threatening. I knew I was only risking my own well being, so I went for it. But now as a parent, I really pick and choose my moments when I go for it because I want to be there for my family. I still go for it when everything’s in my favor though!
How do you balance your biking habit with being a parent?
One of the biggest things I’ve done is make a deal with Niterider lights. They hooked me up with some super powerful lights so I could take myself and friends riding at night. If I miss a ride during the day, I can always go night riding and get a shred in after my kids go to bed. That’s my personal time in the bag where I can always get up for a shred.
Do your kids enjoy riding bikes and what do they enjoy most about biking?
My little one is on a balance bike and she is 4 years old. My seven year old was on a run bike at three. She loves getting out there and going fast with the wind in her face and being with her Dad. In Deep Cove, we have some trails that are not super gnarly and we even go out in the rain. She just loves being with her dad, having fun. Whether she is skiing or biking she is always screaming “again! again!” I love it and spaz out with her! I love riding solo and with friends but when you do it as a family it is much more special.
What do you say to other bikers that insist they don’t wants kids as it would get in the way of their hobby?
That’s a legitimate concern- it is a sacrifice you are going to make. Once you have kids, it is more amazing than you could ever think of and it is well worth the sacrifice. You don’t sacrifice all your bike time, you just sacrifice the ability to go biking whenever you want. If you have a good partner, a good support system and if you get super organized…you can have it all. After the kids go to bed, if they are at a birthday party, playdate, Grandma’s, or pay for a babysitter… do whatever it takes to get that ride in, you’ll get it done if you want to ride bad enough.
Having kids was something I wanted to do before I was done. I have been riding a lot in my life, ridden around the world and looked after my own selfish hedonistic pleasure for a long time. I wanted to make the sacrifice to have a family. You will lose some biking time but it is totally worth it. If you see people posting on Facebook pictures of getting married and having babies and all you can think of is BRAAAP- Well I am married and have kids and I still BRAAP- I just have to work a little harder to get it.
What do you think about the kids bike industry?
I think it’s great to see kids on little bikes. The balance bikes are amazing for teaching kids the way of the bicycle. That sense of balance and learning to feel the center-line of the bike is awesome. Companies like Little Shredder even make full suspension bikes that work awesome. I think a lot of companies that make kids bikes, make low or mid end bikes but it would be nice to see some high end bikes if you want to spend a bit of money to get a really nice kids bike. But I think it’s encouraging the more and more I see little rippers out there and I want to see more- it’s our future.
Any advice for that tired parent that needs find time to ride their bike?
If you are too tired get get out and do it anyhow. Once you get out there the wind and the oxygen will spruce you up. The fun and joy of arcing corners and getting that rush of riding will overcome the tiredness. When I am tired I go anyway. It is tough being a parent and you have sleepless nights but be organized and push through that tiredness. When you have a chance to ride you will be thankful you did.
Are there any products that you use that have really helped you integrate your kids into your cycling lifestyle?
Number 1: Run bikes – Kids feel secure and safe with their feet on the ground, bum on the seat and they feel that roll factor and actual riding.
Number 2: I have a little full suspension Little Shredder for my older daughter. I used some Magura disc brakes that are super powerful and are an easy to pull. I also have a sweet Suntour fork on it. I spared no expense to make sure it was more fun and easier for her.
Number 3: I had my girl in a Full face helmet. She had a few biffs early on. I have her riding in the rain and sometimes at night in the north shore rooty mountains and I know that helmet has saved her teeth. I brought her up slowly and gradually introduced her to the trails and casually she got really good without even realizing it.
Number 4: Wearing armour- knees and elbows help a lot.
Any stories about bringing you kids biking and the lessons you have learned along the way?
I know that it can be scary out there in the woods and we take things for granted when we have been biking for a long time. You don’t look at the trail the same when you are by yourself. You don’t look at the sharp sticks on the side of the trail. It is a fresh world for these little people, start them slow and work them up casually- they will be build the confidence and experience to have a good time out there. Don’t be a crazy hockey dad!
Ok a story- My little girl was asked by the bike journalist Daniel Baker when she was 4 years old: “Would you rather be a Mountain biker or a Princess?” And she said “Mountain biker.” And then Daniel asked if there are any Princesses that mountain bike and she stated ” No, but if any did it would be Jasmine because she wears pants!”
There you have it. Words of advice and encouragement from the Legend Brett Tippie. Like what you read? Please give us a Facebook thumbs up below.