Featured Activity: Take a Family Bike Ride
Biking as a family is a pastime that can be appreciated at any age. It is so fun and an excellent source of exercise. Ensuring you have the right equipment for safety and optimal enjoyment is important, so we are excited to share our top tips for picking the right version for your child.
Biking is like stroller-running in many ways and it is important that your child is at least six months old. A baby must be able to hold their head and body up and safely wear a helmet. For many babies, this won’t happen until they are closer to a year. If they are ready, from six months to three years old, riding with mom or dad is optimal. The adults benefit from exercise while your rider enjoys visual stimulation and hopefully begins to develop a love for the outdoors.
Phase One: Ride-Along Options
You have tagalong carriers, back of the bike seats, as well as the front of the bike carrier options. All of these items depend on your personal goals, preferences, and what works for your specific family dynamic.
Personally, we selected the Topeak Babyseat and Rack. We love it and got active use out of it until my daughter was four. I appreciated the ability to safely get a workout because of its comfort and durability. Additionally, based on the Topeak design, my daughter and I could easily interact and enjoy the world together because of our close proximity.
We know a lot of families who enjoy leisurely biking and the opportunity for their little ones to “take the lead.” The Kazam Ibert style is highly recommended for front riders.
This is a great article by Rascal Rides about questions to should ask yourself when investing in a chariot or other trailer. There are so many on the market, and they vary in quality, so this will help you firm up a sense of your family's priorities in terms of your equipment. It’s also important to choose wisely to maximize comfort and minimize excessively jostling your little one.
Phase Two: Evolution
As your kids grow (and get heavier to carry!), there are many great options to pursue.
With a more traditional tagalong, you can enable your child to feel the sensation of balancing, while getting excited about the ability to contribute to the ride. There are a number of great choices out there, but make sure you look out for one with an adjustable reach and seat height. Also, if it’s a freewheel, little ones can take breaks during long rides. The Trek MT-201 is a good mid-priced option.
The electric tag-along is amazing. We splurged on the Yuba Boda Boda for the cargo seat and because there is a high likelihood it will get active use until my daughter is six or even older. The idea of biking, instead of always using the car, is a big selling point for us. Our area experiences a surge of traffic in the summer, and we will be more inclined to ride with the proper equipment. I like the cargo bike seat because it’s closer so we can use the time to explore and chat.
As you might expect, ages 3 to 6 experience a big boom of interest for little bike riders. When your little one is ready for the transition, a balance bike is a great way to begin. It allows for growth, strengthening, and exploration while developing a greater sense of balance. A popular choice is the Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike.
Additionally, training wheels are an option, and although not as highly recommended by bike experts, still a very popular choice for the eager learner. There are many choices out there for bikes that will transfer to independent riders once the training wheels are removed.
While biking is a fun, well-rounded, and rewarding family activity, we also recognize that the cost of gear can add up quickly. Especially considering the many options out there, we always recommend starting a hand-me-down cycle within your friend group or neighborhood. An alternative is to check out second-hand bike shops, community pages, and swap options first.
Used biking equipment can be polished up to be as good as new, though it is important to note that this excludes bike helmets, as a proper fit is the most important thing when heading out on the road with kiddos! Fortunately, good quality helmets can be purchased at reasonable prices.
Happy riding friends!
Do you have a favorite bike style for your kiddos? If you do, tag us on Instagram @gethappyly for a chance to be featured!
Interested in other fun activities that will get your family outside? Read up on Building a Family Garden, how to Find a Storywalk, or how to Build a Bug Hotel!
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