Cycling is an increasingly popular hobby among children — over 70% of all children aged between 5 and 14 ride bikes. Family bike rides are a great activity to enjoy together. They give you quality time to bond, explore new places, and get some fresh air and exercise. Preparing properly for your ride will ensure everyone has the best time possible.
If it’s been a while since your last bike ride, your kids may be lacking in confidence. Before you set off, give them a chance to practice pedaling, braking, and changing gears. They may be wary at first, but they’ll soon pick things up again — especially with your help and encouragement. It’s also useful to run through important basic cycling rules. For example, your children should know which side of the road to cycle on, how to navigate shared paths responsibly, and how to correctly signal at junctions. Additionally, it’s important to lay down family cycling rules. How far in front of the parents are your kids allowed to ride? How often will you stop for snacks? If there’s an emergency, how will you indicate to your kids that they need to stop?
Choose the right route
The route can make or break your family’s enjoyment of the ride. A hilly route will probably be too challenging for kids — their bikes generally don’t have the gear options needed to venture up hills, while steep descents may be too scary. Ideally, you want to pick a do-able flat route that isn’t too lengthy (children aren’t going to have the stamina to pedal many miles). Choose a destination that excites and motivates your kids — like a play park they can have fun running around and exploring. Riverside trails or canal towpaths, for example, are generally flat and interesting routes — although they can be narrow and muddy (and potentially nerve-wracking due to their proximity to water). Alternately, check out bike trails in your local area: they’re normally well-maintained, even, and without steep gradients. Bike trails also often feature seats and old stations that children will enjoy discovering en-route.
It’s essential to be prepared for emergencies on family bike rides. If you do get into a bike accident, consulting a cycling accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and options. Collisions with cars and poor roadways and walkways are common causes of bike accidents. Fortunately, with an experienced lawyer, you’ll be able to win full financial and quality of life damages. To be safe while riding, be sure to wear helmets and hi-visibility clothing. Pack a puncture repair kit, pump, and tire levers in case you get a flat tire. Always check your bikes over, and pump up all tires before setting out on your ride.
Family bike rides are a fun, cheap and healthy activity to enjoy together. By practicing cycling, choosing the right route, and preparing for emergencies, you can ensure your family has a great time.