Family bike rides can be so much FUN if planned correctly. They can provide a healthy way for the family to exercise together.
Key tips for a safe and fun family bike ride
1. Fun! Fun! Fun!
This is essential to making your family outing a successful one that the kids will want to do over and over again. Family bike rides should be a happy time for all. Learning better biking skills will come over time.
2. Timing is Important
Make sure it’s a good time of the day for everyone to have fun. Mornings work best for kids in general but choose a time when everyone is excited about going.
First rides are best if kept short and sweet making the outcome a positive one, you can increase the duration on the next ride!
3. Check the weather forecast before you head out on your ride
· Match clothing with the weather.
· Include sunscreen and sun protective breathable clothing for summertime.
4. Plan your route before riding
· Find an easy terrain for the first ride that is a short, flat paved path or road.
· Makes sure the route is on a quiet road or cycle path this is safe and away from traffic.
· As the family gets more familiar with riding together, you can then map out destinations like a park or the local ice cream shop to ride to.
· Plan for bathroom stops as your rides gets longer.
5. Breaks are essential
· If the kids are seeming to lag behind, complaining or seem to be hot, it’s time for a break.
· Snack and hydration breaks are necessary and can be a part of the fun!
· Carry a water bottle on all bikes and/or carry a backpack with extra water bottles and snacks.
6. Making the ride FUN
· Allow the slowest rider to set the pace for the ride.
· With younger kiddos - along the route, think about riding from point to point. Such as riding from a big tree to the next big tree. Breaking up the ride into segments makes it fun and gives a feeling of accomplishment.
· Look up destination points before your ride.
- “Let’s ride to see the ducks at the lake”
- Ride to a playground or design a fun scavenger hunt within the ride.
· Plan some brief off the bike activities to break up the time on the bike.
· Involve the kids with the planning and let them take pictures of the family bike ride. Make them feel like it is a team effort and that they have contributed.
7. Positive reinforcement goes a long way
· “You are doing great” or “I like the way you are riding so straight”
· A positive attitude will keep the kids feeling like they can complete the ride and encourages future rides.
Safety Guidelines for Cycling
1. Bikes should be in good working order
· Check brakes and tire pressure before leaving on your bike ride.
2. A properly fitting helmet is very important
· Helmets should fit snug and cover the forehead, sitting about 1” above the eyebrows.
3. Be visible
· Wear brightly colored clothing. Reflective tape on bike, clothing & helmets can help.
· Make sure all bikes have both the front and rear reflectors.
4. Be Heard
· Bike bells are not only fun, but they can be used to alert other bicycles and people that you will be coming up and passing them.
5. Obey the same traffic laws as other moving vehicles
· Signs and signals that apply to cars, also apply to bicycles.
· Know the rules of the road, some include: Riding to the right side of the road or path that you are on, and always pass on the left.
· It is best to get off your bikes and walk through a crosswalk to make sure you are visible to any cars.
· In time, teach your children the proper hand signals that notify other vehicles that you are turning or coming to a stop. Making a game out of who does the most proper hand signals can be fun.
6. Always be observant while out riding
· Teach children to always be looking up and forward. Accidents happen when we are looking down or turning our heads to look at something.
· Watch for parked cars that might be opening their car doors or backing out.
· Be safe when crossing streets. Turn and look both ways to make sure there are no cars or other vehicles coming your way. It can be difficult for vehicles to see bicyclists. Making eye contact with the driver of a car is important to make sure they see you.
Enjoy and make exercise a family pursuit!
Did you know that Playtri offers a series of ‘Cycling Skills 101 Training Sessions’ for children? They will learn the important bike handling skills needed to be a better and safer bicyclist.
Please contact us for more information. Coach Debi Berg, firstname.lastname@example.org