Bicycle touring with kids can be a great way to get active, see some new places, and spend time together as a family. Here are some tips to help make your trip a success!
1. Prepare Them Ahead of Time
It can be very hard to get into the rhythm of riding when you have children asking every few minutes, "Are we there yet?" or"Are we there yet?" or "Are we there yet?" To avoid this:
- Teach them what you are doing before leaving.
- Discuss the route, the things they might see at their stops, and other details so that it is not a surprise to them when you are on your way.
- Prepare them for the fact that you will have to stop at times so they can use the bathroom or get some food.
And of course, make sure they know that it may be necessary to ride in the rain once in a while. Learning these things ahead of time will help keep their minds occupied while on your trip!
2. Pack Smartly For Their Size
Kids often carry too much stuff because of the adults' decisions. It's either underestimating how long they can go without a snack or wanting to be prepared for anything that may come up. This can add unnecessary weight to your bike, which will make it harder to pedal. To avoid this, use backpacks for any belongings that they need access to frequently (like water, snacks, and extra layers). Make sure the backpack is not too big so that they are not carrying around more weight than they can handle! If you have little ones under the age of 6 who cannot ride without training wheels. Consider using trailers or tag-along, which will hold some of their stuff. But, this will still provide them with the closest thing possible to riding on their two wheels.
3. Find Some Hills
Your kids are bound to get tired at some point during your trip. A great way to give them a break while also getting some fresh air is to find some hills so they can coast for a bit while you provide some encouragement! There are bound to be some gentle slopes where your kids can coast or even get the bike up on their own if you have an older one. If there are no roads with mild inclines, consider asking around at your stop for recommendations of bike paths that may go uphill for part of the way.
4. Get Out of The Car
This may seem like it goes without saying, but most cyclists do not realize how much time children spend in cars when they are on vacation. Taking bikes makes it easy to explore new places on foot and gives everyone more freedom to choose what they want to do. Kids who are used to riding their bikes will enjoy getting out of the car whenever possible, and adults can feel good about spending more time outdoors too!
5. Bring a Bike Trailer
If your children are old enough or if you have small ones that cannot keep up with you on the bike, consider bringing a trailer that will comfortably hold two kids side by side. If you go this route, make sure it is big enough so that there is plenty of room for everyone to wear helmets and be comfortable during long rides.
6. Choose a Route With Plenty of Places To Stop
Touring with kids can be fun, but not if they are being held captive in the trailer or are always asking to stop every few feet! Try to find a route with plenty of places to stop along the way so everyone can get out for a walk, stretch their legs or even explore some playgrounds, museums, or shops. Providing your children with these breaks regularly will allow them to re-energize themselves and stay happy throughout your tour.
7. Take Your Time
Kids need more time than adults do when on vacation because they often have shorter attention spans, making it harder for them to see everything you are trying to show them. This is especially true on road trips when drawing their attention to the scenery outside of the car is more difficult than it would be if they were riding bikes with you. If you are touring by bike, your children will not have this problem.
8. Pack Snacks That Kids Will Enjoy (And You Too!)
One tip that I've used for biking with kids is to ask them what they want me to pack before leaving home. This allows everyone's needs and wants to be considered without forgetting anything important like food and water. Once you return from your trip, find out what worked and what didn't so you can pack better next time!
9. Be Ready To Talk About The Trip After You Return Home
If you are an avid bike lover who is considering touring with kids for the first time. Consider talking about it with them beforehand. This will allow them to look forward to their upcoming adventure while encouraging discussion after the event when they may have questions or want to share stories. It is helpful for parents to know that children tend to remember very little of their vacations when they are too young. So, having conversations afterward can be a wonderful way of teaching them.
10. Have Fun!
Touring with kids is fun, exciting, and rewarding for everyone involved. When children look back on their youth, they rarely remember which route was chosen. Or even how long the trip took (unless it was exceptionally long and/or terrible). Instead, most people tend to remember how they felt during various events in their lives. This is especially true of adventurous vacations with lots of memories made along the way. If you keep these tips in mind when planning your next bike tour with kids, both parents and children alike will be able to look back on the trip fondly for years to come.