Do you bike commute with kids? If so, you know the struggle!
Kids want to stop and play on every sidewalk. They whine about going too fast or getting tired. You worry about them darting out into traffic without looking first.
However, fear not!
We’ve rustled up some tips to make the bike ride to school or the grocery store easier on yourself and your family…
7 Top Tips For Cycling To Work With Kids
1. Get The Right Bicycles
The bicycle you bring along for any bike commute should be appropriate per your kid’s age. You could get bike trailers that’ll let you bring your kids on your trip while you take charge of the riding. Another option to consider is a tag-along bike for your 7 to 10-year-old, whereby the kid’s bicycle doesn’t have a front wheel, but rather attaches to the rear end of your bicycle.
You can also choose a tandem for your bike commuting with your kids. Tandems will let the kids participate in the cycling, but you’ll be the primary rider.
Most people let their older ones have their own bikes but ensure that they ride on bike paths.
- Guide to 24-inch bikes
- Guide to 20-inch bikes
- Guide to 16-inch bikes
- Guide to 12 & 14-inch bikes
- Guide to kids fat bikes
2. Ensure That The Bicycles Are In Pristine Condition
You should perform regular maintenance on your bicycle to help reduce the chances of cycling accidents. You could always take the bicycles to a local bicycle shop for tune-ups every couple of months if you’re not up to it yourself.
However, it’s best to perform a quick DIY performance check before every trip to ensure everything is ok, even if you just had your regular tune-up. You can easily conduct basic safety checks on the brakes and tire pressure.
A well-maintained bicycle will go a long way in protecting your child’s safety.
3. Stay Visible
Your visibility to other road users is imperative to keep you and your kids safe.
You can enhance your visibility by adding reflective tape on your bicycle and any gear attached, such as a trailer. Alternatively, get reflective coats, waterproof jackets, or vests. It’s also wise to attach a safety flag on the rear end of your bicycles.
Lights could also play a key role in your visibility on the road. You can attach lights and bicycle reflectors at the front and rear end of the bicycles and wheel spokes to increase your visibility even when it gets dark or there’s low visibility outside. You can also choose electrified helmets with integrated LED lighting.
Read more: Commuter lights for bikes roundup
4. Get Safety Gear
Protecting yourself and your kids when bike riding with your kids should take precedence. A helmet is arguably the most crucial safety gear to protect the head from any unforeseen accidents. Make sure that your kids wear helmets during a bike commute, whether they’re passengers or riders.
A GPS device is another great piece of equipment to have. You can install it on your kid’s helmet or bicycle to know their whereabouts if you get separated, or they wander off.
Wrist gloves, elbow and knee guards are other crucial safety gear you need to get for your kids. They’ll protect against severe bruising on the wrist, elbows, and knees if your kid falls during a ride.
Read more: Commuter bike helmets guide
5. Dress Appropriately
When dressing up for a bike run, you should protect your kids from weather elements. Generally, cold winter days might require extra layers, while sunny days may need lighter clothes. Note that the weather could quickly change, so it’s best always to carry extra layers even when it’s scorching outside.
Multiple layers are usually better because they offer more flexibility against changing temps.
Always have high-quality rain and winter gear like coats, mittens, and warm socks for the cold days since the cold could make your child ill after a single bike run. Choose light clothes for the outdoor commute on warm summer days, and don’t shy away from purchasing full bicycle riding kits for yourself and your child.
6. Map Out The Best Route
The route you take will play a key role in your safety. It’s ideal to familiarize yourself with the available and safe bike commute routes within your community. Before taking your kids out on any commute, perform surveillance on the routes and mark the safest paths you can use.
Try to keep off any busy roads. Keep an eye out for bike paths and protected bike lanes as they are safer for kids than active traffic paths. Once you’ve established a path, you can introduce your kids to the route. Try to have multiple safe routes for your kids’ bike commute to school or grocery stores near your home.
7. Don’t Forget Snacks, Drinking Water, And A Basic First Aid Kit
If you’re planning a longer ride, prepare for the bike commute by packing some snacks and water for drinking (especially when it’s hot). This will save you from the trouble of rerouting to a shopping store. The snacks will also provide an energy boost to take you through the remaining journey.
Another crucial thing to bring along is a basic first aid kit for an emergency. The kit will let you take care of minor injuries quickly and get back on your biking within no time. Some must-haves in your first-aid kit include disinfectant, bandages, and disposable gloves.
Bike commuting with your kids is a great opportunity to spend some quality time bonding and having fun. It’s also an ideal way to keep the family fit and establish a healthy exercise routine for the kids. Above all, you’ll cut on fuel costs and contribute to the safety of the environment around you by limiting your carbon footprint.
And remember…RIDE SAFE