When riding a bike is an important part of your life, it’s obvious that you’d want to pass that happiness onto your children. Family biking is not only a healthy, affordable, and sustainable way to get around with your kids, but an amazing opportunity for the little ones to get to know the area around them and to engage in family fun. While the way you ride will certainly undergo some changes once you become a parent, it doesn’t mean you need to bike less or drive more, it just means you’ll need to adapt. In the following post, we’ve outlined some tips, best practices, and gear ideas for biking with children of any age. Happy biking!
Start fresh: Get a good night’s sleep the night before and a good meal about an hour before heading out.
Safety tools: Make sure to bring a small first-aid kit to patch up any minor scrapes. Also bring a bike tool kit for changing a flat tire (see our fix a bike flat video for instructions) and learn how to fix a slipped bike chain.
Choose beginner terrain: Start in your child’s comfort zone, which is likely a flat, paved path, away from traffic, a few miles long. In time you can increase distance, incline, amount of traffic and explore unpaved trails.
Clothing: Dress in layers so kids can easily take off a sweatshirt if they get too hot or add a rain jacket if it should start to sprinkle. Also try to wear tapered sweat pants or tuck pants in socks to avoid fabric getting munched in the bike gears. In addition to your helmet, make sure to bring sunscreen, plenty of water and snacks. Make hydrating easy by keeping water handy. Does your child’s bike have a water bottle cage? If not, consider installing one for easy access. Many kids also love drinking from water hydration straws.
Helmet fit: Bike helmets are mandatory. They should fit snugly and not rock side to side or back and forth. Helmets should sit level and low on the forehead, about 1-2 finger widths above the eyebrow. Side straps should form a V under each ear, and the chin strap should be snug, allowing room for no more than 1-2 fingers between chin and strap. Do the yawn test; ask your child to yawn big and the helmet should pull down on the head. Make sure you model good helmet habits by wearing yours, too.
A-B-C check: Make sure tires have plenty of air, the brakes work and the chain has plenty of lube to work properly.
Saddle height: Kids like to have their seats low when starting out, but make sure their leg is almost fully extended in the 6 o’clock position (bottom of the pedal rotation) to get enough power when pedaling.
Though biking with your kids is certainly fun and doable, as showcased in the blog above, most of our tours are geared towards adults. With that said, if you and your significant other need a little time off parent-duty, book one of our fun, exciting bike tours or vacations today.