The beginners guide to cycling with kids

Once your kids have mastered riding a bike, cycling as a family can be a rewarding activity that is both fun and great way to get physically active.

Once your kids have mastered riding a bike, cycling as a family can be a rewarding activity that is both fun and great way to get physically active.

Exploring tracks, finding new exciting destinations and stopping for picnics along the way are all fantastic activities to keep kids busy and engaged, and may create lasting joyous family memories.

Whether you’re new to cycling or old hands, there are a few things you need to take into consideration when planning your family cycle adventure.

Before you set off, plan your ride well and familiarise yourself with the route. Bear in mind the ages of your kids and ensure your track won’t take longer than they are able to go. Walking home pushing bikes and piggy backing kids is not a fun adventure.

For younger kids, and less experienced riders, it is safest to stick to bike paths rather than riding on the road, but with many beautiful tracks set up all around the country, there is sure to be the perfect path somewhere near you. You may need to drive to the path so you’ll need to confirm there is adequate room in the car or you have bike racks fitted.

The first step to safety is making sure the kids know basic riding rules such as helmets must always be worn, how to brake safely, and when to use their bell. Most bike paths are shared areas and there may be other riders and pedestrians. Teaching kids to keep an eye out for others on the track and the etiquette of ringing your bells or allowing others to pass will help safeguard yourselves and others.
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As with a road trip, do a quick safety check before departure to make sure all bikes have good tyre pressure, working brakes and are in tip-top working order. Check the weather is clear, and consider heading off either early morning or late afternoon, as the middle of the day can get very hot, especially in summer.
 
Pack enough water and snack supplies for your trip and factor in stops along the way. Making regular stops along the way can help conserve energy but also help keep short attention spans focused. A picnic spot, a café or shop, or even exploring in a local bush area or park can break up the ride, keeping it fresh and fun.
 
Everyone must wear suitable clothing, sturdy shoes, and a bike helmet, but other than that packing will depend on the length of your ride and where you are headed. Sunscreen is another must have. Packing a repairs kit or a first aid kit may seem like overkill if you don’t end up needing it, but if you do, you’ll be a hero!
 
Planning together the day before can be a great way to get the kids involved and excited about your impending adventure. Google bike paths in your local area and allow the kids to help choose your adventure. 
 
When riding, stay together as much as possible instead of riding off ahead leaving the kids trailing behind. Sticking together is not only more sociable, but you can also keep a keen eye out for the kids getting tired or distracted which may be dangerous. 
 
So, now you’re ready to hit those tracks, feel the wind in your hair and really make the most of your family cycling adventure.

Bupa Team Family

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