Family Bike Vacay: Choosing the right bicycle gear for travelling with kids
How Do You Go About Choosing The Right Bicycle Gear For travelling with kids ?
Travelling with kids, especially when they are young, can be difficult. If you are an avid biker, you know the importance of owning appropriate gear to go on shorter rides, as well as longer rides. Your child(ren) will have the exquisite opportunity to enjoy the time spent in nature, but you need to choose carefully how you equip them.
There are several questions you need to ask yourself: do you want to buy new or used? How long will you use the gear? Will only one child use it, or more of your children? How do you find the age-appropriate gear? And last, but not least, will your partner be joining you on your family adventure? If you are seeking answers on these, or similar, questions, keep on reading to find the best solution for you!
Trailers are best suited for babies and small children up to the age of two. They are the safest way to get them on the bikes, because in trailers, you can strap your child in and not worry that they might fall out. Another point for trailers is that they are ideal for longer rides, because they are comfortable, spacious, and your child can even sleep in them.
However, the trailers are only suitable after the child is strong enough to hold their head on their own, because they won’t hurt themselves that way. To be completely sure that your baby is safe and sound in this bike caravan, consider also which season it is, your style of riding, and where you are planning to go.
We do not recommend trailers in areas with heavy car traffic, reasons being the pollution and inconsideration from the drivers. Trailers are a good option for a day in the nature, on a route you know well and that isn’t very bumpy.
There are even some trailers that can take more than only one child, and you can always decorate the trailer to their liking and make their ride even more enjoyable.
Bike seats are a great substitute for a trailer. They are ideal for a more hilly terrain and a lesser distance from your child. Also, they are most suitable for ages 1-4. If you prefer to keep a close eye on your young one and don’t usually go on longer rides, than this might just be the choice for you.
However, make sure your child feels comfortable in the bike seat, since there are various sizes and shapes available now. The most popular child seat designs are the one where the child is behind the rider. The downside of this design is that the communication with the child may be difficult.
For a younger child, we suggest seats that are attached to the handlebars, for a more intimate riding experience and easier communication. One of the cons for bike seats is the balance. It can be quite difficult to balance the bike to stand upright while you lift the child and strap them in, especially if they are fussy. This is something you will learn quickly, though, especially if it is in your daily routine, but for a start, ask a friend or partner for help.
For a toddler, bike seats and trailers may not be a good solution anymore, given that they need to get more independent and start learning to ride on their own. A first bike is a big milestone in a child’s life, especially in a life of a child whose parents are avid bikers. The first bike your child gets to ride should offer them a positive experience, and the best way to do so is to let them be involved in choosing their own bike.
If you involve them in buying a bike for them, your child might be more interested and less scared to ride a bike for the first time alone. Take one day to sit and look for discount bikes online together, and watch how the excitement in your toddler grows as they prepare for the next stage in their life.
Once the bike finally arrives, take your child to try it out and be there for them if they feel insecure. Remember, the most important thing to teach them is to have confidence in themselves and the bike they are riding. They will learn eventually, so don’t put too much pressure on teaching them how to ride a bike on their first day.
Couplers and tag-alongs
Couplers and tag-alongs are a perfect choice if you have an older child (ages 5-8) that you want to take on a longer bike ride, but they just don’t have the stamina for a three-hour ride. The difference is that a coupler lets you connect your child’s bike to your own with an arm, and a tag along is a one-wheeled bicycle that has to be connected to your bike the whole time. A coupler gives your child the opportunity to be independent, and to help them only when they get tired, or are on shared use path.
A tag-along is a better solution when your child is not yet as confident in their riding and requires a little help, or for longer rides when you know they will need frequent breaks.
The downside of a coupler may be that some models can be difficult to connect, and your child’s bicycle can end up leaning, making it quite dangerous when turning. This can have a negative outcome on the confidence you are trying to build. A con for tag-along bikes may be that you will need a lot more energy to pull yourself and your child, especially if you are planning to go to a hilly terrain.
Cycling with children can be great, if you have the right amount of patience, understanding, and most importantly, the right gear. We hope this list helped you choose the best option for your family bike vacay and choosing the right bicycle gear for travelling with kids! Enjoy your ride!