Tips For Cycling With Kids
Cycling can be a wonderful family bonding exercise, no matter what age your kids are. It can also simply be an eco-friendly way to get your family from A to B for those shorter journeys, and will save you the extra fuel expense. Here are some tips for a happy and safe bike ride with your family.
Make sure your bikes are in tip top condition
If you are getting your bikes out for the first time in a while, you need to check them over. Look at the tyres to make sure they are correctly inflated, and don’t have any bald spots or cracks. Check the brakes are working properly, and the pedals are spinning smoothly with no resistance or grinding.
Have the right kit
Children should wear a well-fitting helmet which is EN 1080 European Standard approved. Arms and legs should be covered to provide some protection in case they take a tumble, and they should wear comfortable and well-fitting clothes and shoes which allow them to move freely.
Children under five
Until they are about five years old, most children won’t be able to pedal independently for any length of time. You can attach trailer or child seats to your bike to carry them if you wish. Trailers are pulled along at the rear of the bike, and can seat one or two children, plus extra kit such as food and toys.
You can also use bike seats, which are mounted either at the front or rear of the bike. Your bike will need to have mounts on the frame to attach the seat to. If you are not used to riding with an extra weight on your bike, it’s a good idea to practice first with a large sack of sand, or something equivalent to the weight of your child.
Children over five
Most children will be ready to learn to ride a bike when they are five or six years old. For longer journeys, you could use a trailer bike or ‘tagalong’, which is a single wheel attachment which fits onto the back of a bike. The child can pedal along, but they can also be pulled along when they get tired.
By the child time is nine or ten, they will probably be keen to cycle independently. Make sure that they have a bike which suitable for their height and weight, rather than passing on an older sibling’s cast-off, which may be too large or small. Ideally, a 20 inch or 24-inch wheeled bike will suit children up to the age of 12.
Plan your route carefully
Your child may have completed a bikeability course to learn how to ride in traffic, but until they are over 12 years old, it’s best to avoid very busy roads. Remember that kids tire more easily than adults, so plan plenty of rest stops for drinks and snacks. Also look for places of interest to stop and explore, to make it a fun day out for all the family.
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