My New Trail Self-Care Routine as a New Dad

Posted 09/10/21 by Erick Cedeño in America's Trails, Trail Use

Graphic by RTC

This article is part of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Trail Moments initiative—to elevate new and tried-and-true trail voices around the country, and how trails impact the lives of Americans. Learn more at trailmoments.org and #TrailMoments on social media. Share your story, or view a collection of trail moments stories.

Before I became a dad, I traveled every state by bicycle over a period of 12 years and became known as the Bicycle Nomad™, sharing my experiences on Instagram. I have traveled the lengths of major trails like the Great Allegheny Passage (gaptrail.org), Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath and Ohio to Erie Trail—and traveled parts of other iconic corridors like Missouri’s 240-mile Katy Trail.

Erick Cedeño on the Exposition Line Bikeway | Courtesy Erick Cedeño
Erick Cedeño on the Exposition Line Bikeway | Courtesy Erick Cedeño

One favorite long-distance trip of mine that blended bike routes and rail-trails was the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, which stretches for more than 2,000 miles between Alabama and Canada.


Related: Five Rail-Trails Along the Underground Railroad

Now as a new dad, I want to be home with my son and wife—and am no longer doing those long, 30-day-plus tours. But I’m still passionate about trails, and I continue to travel by bicycle on shorter trips—particularly on trails.

A typical week as the Bicycle Nomad™ has changed since I became a dad, but three times a week I ride my bicycle to remote places, usually 20–30 miles from home, to have coffee outside. It gives me the sense of adventure my spirit loves. It also allows me to spend time alone and check-in with myself. This personal reflection time has always been important to me.

We recently moved, and now call Santa Monica, California, home. Local trails are a way I can explore my new community and run errands. On trails, I’m able to enjoy the ride, let my guard down, be stress-free and not worry much about automobiles.

Erick Cedeño on the Exposition Line Bikeway | Courtesy Erick Cedeño
Erick Cedeño on the Exposition Line Bikeway | Courtesy Erick Cedeño

Watch the video above to explore the 12-mile Exposition Line Bikeway rail-trail that connects Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles.

If you are a new parent who wants to explore trails, I recommend first researching trails in your region and then planning a short destination ride with your family. You can make the experience more fun by getting ice cream, smoothies, breakfast or lunch!

Erick Cedeño on the Exposition Line Bikeway | Courtesy Erick Cedeño
Erick Cedeño on the Exposition Line Bikeway | Courtesy Erick Cedeño

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Have you recently discovered trails, or are you a long-time trail enthusiast? Either way, we hope you’ll share your “Trail Moments”—and the stories of how trails have impacted your life during COVID-19. Take the survey below, or share using #TrailMoments on social media.

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