It most definitely feels like Spring is upon us and the Summer season is just around the corner.
This means longer and, hopefully, warmer days, lighter evenings and plenty of opportunity for general outdoor fun.
And there's no better way to enjoy a family day out than going on a bike ride! Not only is it fun but it also offers a great opportunity to promote that all-important family exercise and bonding time.
From confident cyclists to little toddlers building balance skills, everyone can get involved in this engaging and very rewarding activity. It helps the whole family enjoy a happier and healthier lifestyle.
For Karen Wood, managing director at Strider Bike UK, there's no better way to embrace exercise, learn safe cycle habits, and generally just enjoy the great outdoors!
Here are Karen’s top tips for organising the perfect family bike ride:
Before the bike ride:
Good preparation is key to the success of any bike ride, so here are a few points to help you get it right.
- Have you got the right equipment? Heavy bikes and very young children are not a good combination on a bike ride as the little ones will have a tendency to get tired and simply abort the exercise long before the finish, leaving you to deal with their bike and your own.
Balance Bikes offer a lightweight, sensible option for any toddlers in the family - with no pedals and their feet flat on the floor they can take things at their own pace and ride the safe, fun way.
- Have you prepared bikes? Well maintained bikes reduce the ,likelihood of accidents. Also, choose bikes for toddlers that need very little assembly, with good quality bearings and puncture proof tyres to keep the wheels rolling.
- Have you prepared your child? Changes in weather are an all too familiar feature in the UK - getting wet and cold will put most people off the idea of a bike ride so include suitable clothing. And don’t forget the refreshments, a small first aid kit and a tool kit just in case.
- As we’re sure you’re aware if you're a parent or carer, children are at their most energetic in the morning and can tire in the afternoon so make it an early start.
- Have you done your homework? Make sure you're familiar with the route before setting off as getting lost can be stressful for children. It can also leave them dehydrated if you get geographically challenged for too long.
In fact, why not get the children involved in this? It’s a great learning experience for them to be looking at the map and helping to settle on the best route to take.
During the bike ride:
When the bike ride is in full swing you may well travel along a number of different terrains from bridal ways to parks and, obviously there is likely to be some roads involved as well.
- Be visible. Whilst it’s not advisable to take very small children on roads, it's still a sensible idea to wear high visibility clothing.
- Take frequent breaks. Stop regularly and give everyone a chance to get off the bike and explore - this will also make the whole experience more fun.
- Stay hydrated. Always carry plenty of water to drink before you start feeling thirsty.
- Eat snacks. These keep the energy levels up and provide a great excuse for those all-important breaks mentioned above. Especially when you find somewhere with a nice view.
- Make it fun. What children see along the route of the bike ride is just as, if not more, important than the destination. Point out interesting landmarks and things of interest for longer lasting memories.
- Be enthusiastic. If you keep an upbeat attitude, children most often will be inclined to mimic it making the ride far more enjoyable for all concerned.
Hopefully, now you’ve read our top tips you’re in a position to plan and execute the perfect family bike ride - so don’t delay, set the date for the next one today!
On a final note we’d love it if you could take some pictures along the way and let us know about your experiences on our Facebook Page.