Guest blog post by: Ashley Halsey
Biking as a family is an amazing activity for so many reasons. You can teach your kids a love of getting healthy outdoor exercise, spend time together as a family, improve your overall mood, and more. Even if your kids are too young to bike and are riding with you, showing them the thrill of biking from an early age can start a biking habit. How do you even get started, though? Check out these top tips to make your family bike ride a fun and safe experience for all.
Choose the Right Bike
Your kids’ bicycles will change a lot as they grow and become better bikers. That means a bike that is perfect for your six-year-old child may not be the right one for your eight-year-old. Many parents make the mistake of buying a bike for their child that they can grow into.
Joanna Markham, a travel blogger at Writinity, says that “while you might be saving money, this is a big mistake because your child will be too small for the bike, will struggle, and will also be less safe. If you’re trying to save money, you can buy a pre-owned upcycled bike that is serviced and certified by an expert.”
If you’re not sure your kids will love it yet, you can start by renting a bike.
Pick the Correct Gear
You also want to make sure they have the right gear so your kids are happy and comfortable as well as safe. The first step is obviously the helmet, and here you want to make sure it’s a properly fitting helmet. Even if you’re just going up and down the block, a helmet is absolutely crucial. Set the right example by wearing one yourself.
You also want to make sure they’re all dressed for the weather. If it’s raining, you need to make sure your kids have the right rain gear for cycling in the rain. If it’s cold, you need to make sure their hat fits under the helmet and they have warm socks, mittens, and a good coat. Be sure to get reflective tape to the trailer, bike, and helmet. If you’re using a trailer, you should also add a safety flag to it.
If you’re cycling in low light, you need to have both headlights and taillights on all of the bikes so everyone can see you properly, and to comply with state laws. Finally, be sure to bring along enough snacks and water for the ride and make sure at regular intervals that everyone is drinking enough water.
Family bike rides are fun activities, but you still want your kids to understand that bikes aren’t toys. They are vehicles and should be taken as such. You’ll want to teach them the importance from a young age of using the proper hand signals, showing them each one, and the rules of the road. Review these rules before each bike ride, especially if you have younger and excitable children.
You also want to perform a maintenance check before you head out. You can do the whole process with your children so they learn how to check their brakes and tire pressure. Greg Tamblyn, a lifestyle writer at Draft Beyond, explains that “on the road, be sure that your child knows that they must ride on the far right-hand side of the road in the same direction as traffic, and never go against traffic.”
Choose the Right Routes
You may be a seasoned cyclist, but your children aren’t so you want them to feel safe on the road. As such, choose bike routes that are kid-friendly. That means avoiding roads with large hills, busy roads, and anything else that kids might struggle with. Looking at the route in advance will also help you figure out the right shortcuts if you have to end early.
The Greenway is an excellent spot for kids and families looking to get started!
Don’t go too far, because you don’t want your kids to start seeing the bike ride as a chore. If the rides are short, they’re more likely to see it as a fun activity and want to do it again later. Pick a fun destination like a creemee stand or a trip to an event. Be sure that you’re letting the slowest rider in your group set the pace, so that everyone can enjoy it.
Ashley Halsey, a professional writer for Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays, loves to focus on lifestyle and family tips. She enjoys sharing her suggestions with families on activities that parents can do with kids, and encourages outdoor physical activities for children.
NOTE: This post content is provided by a guest blogger. The stated author is solely responsible for accuracy and copyright.