With the warmer weather finally here, enjoy a family bike ride for some quality time together. It’s a fun way to get some great exercise, take in fantastic scenery, and embrace your own adventure. Here’s what you need to plan a great family bike ride.
Family Bike Ride
The best family bike ride is one that is fun for everyone. So, remind yourself (and your kids) that the goal of a family bike ride is not necessarily distance, but to enjoy the experience together. When you’re getting ready for family rides, here are the things you need to know. If you plan ahead, you’ll be more likely to have a successful experience for the entire family.
What should I bring on a family bike ride?
Some of the items you need on a family bike ride don’t have to do with biking at all. They’re the normal things that parents of small children usually need to keep on hand for excursions out of the house.
Here’s a few items to pack for your bike ride:
- small first aid kit
- extra layer of clothes
Decide if everyone will be on their own bike, or if smaller children will ride in a bike seat or in a bike trailer.
Bike Tool Kits
In addition to those items, also bring a bike tool kit if you need to change a flat tire and also make sure everyone has well-fitting helmets. You’ll also want to check the air pressure in the tires ahead of time, along with the brakes and the chain. As long as these are all in good shape and working order, you are good to go.
Ways to make biking fun for kids
You may be wondering how do you make cycling fun for kids? If you keep in mind that your goal is to have fun, then a great way to make biking fun is to include a nice treat during the ride. Can you bike to an ice cream stand and get a treat before biking back home? Or maybe you can pack a treat and motivate your kids to make it a short distance before you stop and enjoy. But the treat doesn’t have to be edible! Consider biking to a local park and let the kids have some playtime before heading home.
In addition to including a treat during your bike ride, keep to a flat trail or bike path so that you don’t frustrate your younger children. However, as your children get older and build some stamina, challenge them to see if they can go longer distances. They’ll learn a lot of life lessons about perseverance through family bike rides.
But whatever you do, remember to keep your sense of adventure. The fun thing about family bike rides is that you can go places that you can’t go in the car. You can see incredible views by getting off the beaten path.
Bike Safety Skills
Before you head out, review the rules of the road with your children. Bicyclists are considered vehicles if you’re riding on the road. Always ride in a single file with the flow of traffic. Riding on busy roads near car traffic is only recommended with children that are older than 10.
Safe Bike Paths
For your younger children, find a safe bike path that cyclists of all ages can enjoy. Your kids that aren’t skilled bicyclists yet can still use their training wheels. And your youngest children will ride in child seats with a grown-up.
If your children need some practice before heading out with other people, consider taking your bikes to local parking lots that are empty and letting the kids ride around there to get their footing.
Here are some tips to keep everyone safe while riding:
- Parents should always ride up front with the children following behind.
- Stay together as a family and don’t go off on your own trails.
- Choose a route with less traffic.
- The person leading should use hand signals to alert those behind him.
How do you make cycling fun for kids?
Before you even head out cycling with the kids, consider including them in your planning. Talk about the landmarks and physical landforms you might see on your ride. Grab a map and plot out the bike trail so your child can see the route. You can help your kids learn to read maps and follow directions. It’s a great way to engage your kids in the family bike ride, even before you get on your bikes.
Best Bike Paths for Kids
Great routes keep cycling fun. Use a path or keep on a flat route so that your kids can enjoy the ride. Finding a paved road is helpful for younger cyclists. However, if you want to prepare your kids to be able to handle small bumps, rocks, or sticks on the biking path, then you could set up a fun obstacle course in your driveway for them to practice on.
Scenic Bike Rides
Find a great place to enjoy amazing scenery. See if you can ride in an area where you can show the kids fantastic scenery. By searching out scenic views, your kids are more likely to have fun cycling. But don’t be afraid to change up the trails every so often. It’s so much fun to try a new path and check out new scenery. If your children enjoy nature study, be sure to incorporate that into your ride.
Group Bike Rides
Bring friends on your bike trip! Make it a group activity with other families. But the bottom line is to keep it fun. If your kids are tired or have pushed themselves for a while, take a break. If they need time to play and get off the bike for a bit, then let them. Take some time to play at a park or in the grass. Just keep it fun.
Is it hard to cycle with child seat?
It can take a bit of practice to feel comfortable cycling with a child seat. For best results, practice with some weight in the child seat before your child gets in. Then, when loading your child into the seat, have another adult help to hold the bike while your child gets seated. Or use a double-pronged kickstand to keep the bike stable while loading young children onto the child seat.
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that children can start to ride in a child seat on a parent’s bike after age one. Just be sure they have a good fitting helmet and are buckled in securely. Most standard bikes, including mountain bikes, can have a child seat mounted onto them.
Finding Bike Trails
To find the best bike trails, you’ll likely want to join an online group. That way, you can read recommendations of other parents and find local family-friendly bike trails near you. Many apps help you find multi-use trail options that would include bike routes. You could also ask at a local bike shop for recommendations.
If you Google “kid friendly bike trails near me,” you’ll also see lots of options, from miles of trails, to paved path options, to ideas for longer rides if your kids are older.
Another exciting option to look for locally are rail trails. These are former railroad lanes which have been converted to biking paths. Some still share the right of way with active railroads. Because they are former rail paths, they have a flat or low elevation gain.
Family Biking Essentials – What to Bring Along
When you’re heading out on family-friendly bike trails, you’ll need more than just a good bike. Consider these 10 bike bag essentials, including a multi-tool, hand pump, and CO2 cartridge. That way, you’ll be ready in the event that one of your bikes needs a fix on the trail.
Of course, we already mentioned above to include snacks and water as you head out on your bike rides. Plus, don’t leave your cell phone at home. In case of emergency, you’ll want a way to call for help.
You’ll also want to have reflectors and lights on the bikes, especially if you’re riding in the evening. In addition to that, be sure to wear comfortable clothing. Wearing layers is best. Also be sure to have snug fitting helmets on everyone.
But the most important essential to bring with you on a family bike ride is the whole family! Even though it may take a bit of planning, and you will need some extra patience with the little riders, the family memories and fun ride will make an experience your kids will never forget.
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