Benefits of of being an active family and bike riding
Riding a bike can be a great way to have some quality alone time, but it’s also a fun way of spending some time with your closest family. With warmer weather and sunnier days, families can escape from indoor activities and head out on adventures that reach beyond the front yard. There are a lot of benefits of of being an active family and bike riding is a great activity to get everyone moving. Here are a few things you need to know about cycling with kids before you and the your family start pedaling.
Family cycling isn’t only about introducing your kids to two wheels. It’s also a great opportunity for a non-cycling partner to start riding again. Let the newer cyclist set the speed and and decide how long your trip is going to be.
Also, fit any bike trailers, child seats or luggage to the bike of the more experienced or stronger cyclist. Make sure you avoid busy roads, which can be intimidating. Opt for a quiet route that’s going to be fun for all of you.
For the first few outings, keep the mileage low. Remember to take some snacks and drinks. These are just a few basic rules.
To learn other things you need to know about cycling with kids, read on!
The right kit is a must
With the right kit, the whole experience will be safer, more comfortable and more fun for everyone.
First of all, be sure your child has the right size helmet and wears it every time you go riding together. If you want to buy a new helmet for your child, let them pick out their own. It’s more likely that they’ll wear them for every ride.
The most crucial thing is to check that the helmet fits and your kid knows how to put it on correctly; a helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and it shouldn’t rock backward, forward or side to side. The helmet straps should always be buckled, but not too tightly. They should form a „V” under the ears when buckled.
You can avoid sunburn by applying sun block and choosing light clothing with arms and legs covered. When it comes to children sitting in child seats, remember that they won’t get as hot as you so dress them with an extra layer of clothing.
Kids get very cold when cycling in winter, even when they are sitting in trailers. Wrap them up really well. They could wear a balaclava under the helmet (it will fit if you remove some padding), which will prevent cold ears.
Small kids are usually non-pedalling passengers. But they are portable if you’ve got the right equipment. The most common choices are child seats and trailers, though cargo bikes are getting more and more popular.
Trailers are perfect for younger children as they are stable, sheltered and safe. They are usually two- or three-wheeled and will seat one or two children. They can be attached to the back of the bike, and are pulled along behind it.
A roll cage and covers protect the children inside from weather, grit and insects. There’s some room for diapers, groceries, toys, etc. Also, the age range is greater than with a child seat.
The recommended minimum age for most is nine months though, which is the time when children are able sit up. What’s more, trailers are more visible for other road users and very stable.
So if you fall, the trailer should stay upright.
Majority of child seats fit on the back of a bike, using a special attachment system. Front-mounted child seats that usually sit on the top tube between the handlebars and the saddle are also available.
The advantages of child seats include a lower price and less leg and lung power. They are the best for trips in good weather and most of them suit children from nine months to three or four years.
The usual weight limit is between 18 and 20kg.
Before your first trip with your child in the seat, practice a little by placing an item that has a similar weight to your child in the seat.
Have a trial run so that you know what it feels like. Also practice getting your leg over the top tube without swinging it over the saddle; otherwise may accidentally kick your small passenger!
One more vital thing you need to know about cycling with kids is that nothing (clothing, feet, fingers) can end up in a wheel. To prevent this, all trailers have side panels and most seats have foot straps and side panels, too.
Trailer bikes and towing arms
If your kids don’t cycle on their own, there are other ways to get them pedaling. A trailer bike, which is half a bike plus a towing arm, is the least expensive option. Most of them suit children from four to nine years. The only limit is weight: your trailer bike passenger shouldn’t weigh more than half your bodyweight.
Another idea is getting a towing arm that fits to the front of your child’s bike and holds the front wheel off the ground. It actually works like a trailer bike.
The greatest thing about it is that after riding together and reaching your destination, you can detach the towing arm and allow the kid to ride free. Remember to fit a rear light to the trailer bike when you ride at night.
When you go on a long ride, check on your trailer biker regularly and have stops and snacks every now and again.