Congrats on joining the cycling craze!! I homeschool my two youngest (ages 12 and 14) and we use cycling as part of our P.E. requirement. Now that would probably scare most kids away from ridiing, but I don't tell them how I'm counting their minutes and miles for school work!! (Shhhh!!)
With the price of gas, we've been using our bikes and trailer (we use the trailer to haul either our 4 legged furry kids or errand purchases) to do our local errands that can be accomplished on a bike. We make trips to the grocery store, the library, fun places that the kids want to visit as well as hitting the bike trail near our home. The bike trail follows a river and every 8-10 miles we take a break and they kick off their shoes and get their toes wet in the river for a few minutes. It give them a chance to "play", have a snack and allow their legs to rest for a bit. Then we're off again.
I've challenged them to add a mile each week before we turn around to come home. Their response was, but Mom, that means we're adding 2 miles!! (Wow! Homeschooling has paid off!! LOL!) I played dumb of course, but they fell for it! Our first rides were about 8-9 miles and now we're up to 16-18 miles. I told them when they can make it at least 20 miles in a trip without bonking, we'll ride the bike trail that goes from our town al the way to the beach (about 28 miles). They're really excited about that.
Making it their choice to ride and letting them pick the locations we ride to is great incentive for them. We bought small bags (Walmart $8.99) that attach to the handle bars so they can pack their own snacks and refueling gels/jelly beans. I think they think they're almost ready for pro-racing!! Ha!
You might also look for some local rides that include shorter family rides (5, 10 or 25 miles) and see if they want to participate in them. Many half century, century and double century rides also offer shorter family rides. Sign up for one and make a day of it!!
Good luck with the kids and congrats on your efforts to get the whole family riding!!
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