Looking to ride a bicycle with kids? Riding a bike with a toddler without proper gadgets can be challenging.
I am a mother of three and considering safety, the unavoidable tantrums, and keeping the activity fun, I am more than happy to share a few tips and accessories you can use to make your family byke rides fun.
When my husband and I decided to live a more active lifestyle, we tried multiple forms of physical activity and we found riding bikes the perfect activity for adults and kids. Below, I encourage you to see the advantages of going for bike rides with the kiddos.
- You can burn some calories
- Relief stress while enjoying the natural view.
- Spend quality time with the kiddos.
- Reduce the chances for obesity, depression, or anxiety.
Best Way to Ride Bicycle With Kids Under 6 Years Old
There is one tricky question about how you should start biking with little kids. It is “What accessories or gadgets can I use?” To name a few, the options include children’s Bike seats (front or rear), Bike trailers, Cargo bikes, Trailer-cycles, Tow ropes, and tow bars.
But you may wonder,
What’s Better For Your Family? – Should you use a BIKE SEAT, a BIKE TRAILER, or just let them use their own bike with training wheels?
Those are very tricky but important questions because there are pros and cons.
If you ask me, the best choice is what works best for your type of bike and family. In both cases, your child needs to be 12 months old and have the neck strength to start riding with you.
LETTING THEM RIDE A BALANCE BIKE OR A BIKE WITH TRAINING WHEELS
Bike riding for most kids is a process that simply takes PRACTICE, so it is fundamental to teach the kids to ride their bikes starting with training wheels. But, all activities have their moments.
With our 4 years old son, we have practice time using his bike with training wheels. We let him ride in the park and sometimes on the sidewalk. However, for a family bike trip, we find it more convenient to use either a bike seat attachment or a co-pilot trailer for him.
I think is better to use a bike seat attachment or a co-pilot trailer with a toddler.
- The whole family can ride to a better speed
- Way fewer stops.
- More control of the child.
Now, let me give you some insight into Bike Seat Attachments.
BIKE SEAT ATTACHMENT
Bike seats are fantastic because they allow an ongoing interaction with little ones. However, the front-mounted seats are best for younger toddlers, usually, they are handier when the kid is less than 33 pounds.
Getting baby bike seats allow for close-up opportunities to chat and enjoy the sights together as you ride along. It’s great! However, the kid is more exposed than they would be in a bike trailer.
ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS OF BABY BIKE SEATS
Please note that most bikes can accommodate all types of baby seats so it will only depend on your preference. Do you want your child to be positioned at the front or back of the bike? The answer is all yours.
- You should see that the weight of the child and their movements can affect the balance of your bike. So, having a child in a front child seat near the handlebars will affect how you steer. For your peace of mind, choose a well-made seat, major brands put more attention to security and quality.
- Most seats have support for them on the sides and the back.
- You should practice with pretend loads before riding with your kid on board. It may be really awkward at first to get on and off a bike with a child in a rear-mounted seat, hence the need for practice.
Bike Seat Attachment – Features:
Child bike seats offer a wide range of features. To name a few, they can have high backs that support a child’s head and shoulders, recessed helmet pockets, footrests, and foot straps, sidewalls to protect little fingers, safety harnesses, and reclining seats.
ARE BIKE TRAILERS OR CO-PILOT TRAILERS THE WAY TO GO?- ADVANTAGES & DRAWBACKS
Bike trailers that you can pull behind your bike are a popular option for hauling toddlers and children between the ages of 1-4. To me, it is also a great alternative for riders who aren’t comfortable pedaling with a child in a front or back child seat.
Indeed, it is my favorite and the one I use for my 1-year-old kid. Riding with a trailer will make you feel more comfortable and in control, especially if you are a short person.
Advantages of Bike Trailers
- I like bike trailers because they are pretty stable. They are low to the ground and very easy to steer.
- You can carry more than one child in a trailer. Many models are foldable and convertible for other uses, such as ski trailers, strollers, joggers.
- Trailers have more room than a bike seat and, the weight and height of some allow them to be used longer.
- On a trailer, kids can easily pick snacks on their own while riding or even take a pleasant nap. My 1 years old loved it!
Drawbacks of Bike trailers:
- Trailers are more cumbersome to pull. They are heavier and wider, but they are generally more stable.
- Conversations are more difficult because the kid sits further behind you. However, you can always find a way.
- They are more expensive but completely worth it.
- Older children using trailers tend to get bored with such passive transport. That’s why the alternative of Co-pilot trailers is a better one.
Trailer Features: Trailers offer a range of features, including cargo storage; reclining seats; the ability to convert the trailer to a stroller, a jogger or to be towed while skiing; recessed helmet pockets; and different-sized wheels.
Advantages of Co-pilot Trailer Bike
Co-Pilot trailers can be even a better choice for older children.
- Kids from 4-6 find more joy since they can also help to pedal.
- Easy access to talk
- They are easy to attach to most adult bicycles and often feature quick-release adjustable seat posts for easy in and out.
- It allows adjusting the seat and handlebar heights to ensure your children ride comfortably as they grow.
- Allows riding your bike with the Co-pilot trailer attached with or without the kid.
Co-Pilot Trailer Drawbacks:
You need to check the kid frequently to ensure is comfortable pedaling and to make sure he or she is not falling asleep. In my family, my husband rides with the co-pilot trailer with my 4 years old kid, and I carry my 1 years old baby on the bike trailer.
I remember a day when my 4 years old was falling asleep while riding the co-pilot. We were riding at a park and the scene was very scary and pretty dangerous! Fortunately, we noticed on time. To sum up the story, we finish the trip safely, but we had to move him out of the co-pilot to seat him with the baby on the trailer to avoid him falling. So, frequently keep an eye on your kids while riding.
SAFETY TIPS TO RIDE WITH KIDS AND TODDLERS
Parents! Biking together can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things you can do as a family. But, is a good idea to keep your expectations in check.
- Be aware, it would be a lot more stops.
- You would go at a slower pace than you are used to.
- Snacks and plenty of water is a must-pack.
TIPS AND ADVICE ABOUT RIDING A BIKE WITH YOUNG ONES
Make sure you and the kids dress up appropriately for the weather.
Remember to wear adequate fitting helmets. It keeps the child safe from accidents and helps them build the culture of riding with helmets. You should also wear one. Yes!, you should too.
If you put a helmet on your kid, but you then fail to do the same, they are never going to value bicycle safety in any meaningful way. Trust me, you want your kid to value wearing a helmet.
Helmets have been proven to reduce the risk of head injury by 88 percent.
Do not forget to thoroughly inspect your bikes before you set out for a ride. Take a look at the tires, they lose pressure over time. Make sure your tire pressure is adequate before you take off.
Watch Out for Too Much Lube in the chain. If you have too much lube on your chain, it can attract more dust and dirt. After using a lubricant on the chain make sure you clean the excess.
Do not risk a flat tire or rusty chain ruining the day. Bring a tool kit, spare tire tube or patch kit, and a pump in case of an emergency.
The most dangerous thing you can do on a bike is to ride unpredictably. Teach the kids to make eye contact with drivers. Make sure that the surrounding cars know what line you would be taking. Moreover, do not pull out in front of a car at an intersection if they have not acknowledged your presence.
Model good behavior and teach your children the rules of the road. You should follow the law while teaching them to do the same.
Know the bicycle laws in your area, they are going to be similar to vehicular traffic. Stop at lights and signs, signal before turning.
Involve the oldest kids in the process of bike maintenance. Washing down a dirt bike after a day in the trail is a need.
Riding bikes with kids is a healthy habit. It is not only a recreational outdoor activity because it also protects you and kids from serious diseases such as heart attack, depression, diabetes, and obesity. Indeed, the activity even lowers the stress level. So it is a win-win.
To make biking fun, safe, and enjoyable with kids you only need to pick the right trails and use the most convenient tools and gear for your family. Bike seats and trailers are the most convenient for an enjoyable trip with younger kids.
So What Are You Waiting For!
If you have any questions, please let me know, I am here to motivate you and encourage you to go out on the trails.
To your fun and relaxing bike trip