Thursday, March 17, 2016

#YVRFamilyBiking: Will Stroet

Will, Kim, Ella, & June biking on a sunny March day
When I cycle around Vancouver, I often see other families on their bikes. There are more & more every summer, I think. So I thought I'd share some of their stories here on Spokesmama as a regular series. For my first #YVRFamilyBiking profile, I spoke to someone you may already know: children's entertainer Will Stroet & Kim The, his wife & manager. They live in Vancouver with their two girls, five-year-old Ella, & 21-month-old June.

Tell me your cycling story:

Kim: I started biking when I was six years old on training wheels. I didn’t ride a lot with my parents but I remember riding around with my best friend in our neighbourhood every day after school in elementary school. I also used to ride my bike to work in Burnaby and North Vancouver but now that I work from home, I don’t have a bike commute and I miss it!

Will: I started riding at a young age. Having grown up in Vancouver, with parents who were also keen cyclists, we would often do family rides to Granville Island, Jericho Beach, Kits Beach and to friends’ houses. I remember as a kid having an ever-growing boundary within which I was allowed to ride on my own. It was a good system that gave me freedom to explore my community and go to friends’ houses on my own while also showing me that my parents trusted me to be responsible on my own. As I got older I would bike to school, then UBC and also to work when I used to be a teacher. Now as a touring musician riding my bike to gigs is no longer possible as I have lots of gear and bandmates with me.

When did you start riding with your kids & what gear do you use to get them around? 

We started riding with our kids when they turned one! We bought a used MEC bike trailer from a friend when we had Ella and then when June was born, we sold it online through a Facebook swap ’n shop site and bought a used double MEC bike trailer. Ella is learning to ride on her own but can’t go very fast or very far so we use the trailer with them when going on outings around town.

Where do you ride these days? What's your favourite place to bike to with your kids?

We are fairweather cyclists now so haven’t been biking much this winter. In the spring and summer, we frequently ride to Granville Island, Kits beach and pool, Jericho, Spanish Banks and along the seawall to Science World.

Do you have any tips for families getting started riding with their kids? 

It’s so much fun and way easier than dealing with car seats and traffic. It’s a great way to get exercise, fresh air and the kids love being towed in bike trailers. Starting early makes it easier to get them used to wearing a helmet (which they dislike at first)! Stick to the many bike routes and get a cycling map available at any bike shop.

What would you change about biking in Vancouver? 

We love all the changes city council has been doing to make Vancouver a more bike-friendly city. We’re also pleased there will finally be a bike share system set up in the city. This will be excellent for those times when people come to visit us from out of town so that we can go biking with them while they’re visiting.

What do you like about biking in Vancouver? 

We love that there are so many bike routes and that improvements are being made every year. We feel safe on the road as riders. The rain can be a drag sometimes, but at least the temperature never gets so cold that you can’t ride.

Will clearly wants to encourage kids to get active with all his songs about biking, triking, soccer, hockey, walking, dancing, etc. Does the new album have songs in this vein too? Can you tell us about it? 

I have always enjoyed writing songs that encourage kids to get active. While the main theme of the new album is wordplay, there are still songs about getting outside and playing. “Swinging on the Swing Set” is a swing tune about playing on the playground, “La récréation” is a French song about having fun outside during recess, and “Let’s Have Fun” is a Blues Brothers inspired song about playing, jumping, and dancing. Pre-sales of the album launch online TODAY on iTunes and our online store as well.

Speaking of Will's music, have you heard about his CD release party? “Wordplay” is launching on April 17 at 11 AM at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver. A screening of new videos starts at 10:30 AM. Tickets are on sale now: to order online and save $3, click here.

More about Will's music:

Co-founded by musician Will Stroet and his wife and business partner Kim Thé, Pebble Star Productions is a bilingual children's entertainment company based in Vancouver, Canada that inspires kids to be healthy, active and engaged members of our community. Will performs music for kids across the country at festivals, theatres and schools and also stars in the TV series, “Will’s Jams,” airing on Kids’ CBC weekday morning at 7:25 AM and 9:25 AM. To check out more about Will, visit and his YouTube channel. You can connect with Will on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @willstroetmusic.

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