Cycling as a family is a great way of combining exercise with spending time together. And, with a little bit of forethought, you can plan a fun-filled day that’s sure to keep everyone happy.
Here are some top tips that you can use to make the most of your family cycling adventures.
Before you head out
There are a few key things you can do to make sure everyone is ready to go before you set off. So, before you jump on the bikes, check out the following list:
1. Remind everyone of road safety
Have a look at the Highway Code rules for cyclists and refresh your memory of the basic laws and regulations. Going for a family bike ride is also the perfect opportunity to teach your kids some road safety basics.
2. Know the correct road positioning
Assuming all members of your family are confident riders, make sure everyone understands the distancing rules for when you’re passing people and cars. Cyclists need to maintain a two-metre distance from pedestrians and 1.5 metres from cars. Your children are going to copy whatever you do, so it’s important to get this right.
If there are two adults, then having one at the front and one at the back is a really safe configuration when you’re out on the road and have to be particularly careful.
3. Check all the bikes
You really want to avoid any extra hassle or unwelcome surprises when out on a ride, so be sure to check that everyone’s bike is in good working order. Give each bike a once over, checking that all the moving components are running smoothly, chains are lubricated, and brakes are functioning correctly.
You’ll want to check that the tyres are inflated and that there aren’t any pesky punctures that could cause problems. Pack a puncture kit and a multi-tool in case you have any surprises when you’re out. And, a clean bike is always a good idea to help keep it in tip-top condition. Another job to keep the kids occupied!
If you need any help with bike maintenance, our simple and clear How To Guides are packed full of information about how to tackle most cycling maintenance tasks.
Or, pop into your local Halfords store for a Free Bike Check! One of our qualified mechanics will check to make sure that everything is working soundly – we check all bikes, both adult and kids’ bikes, so it’s well worth getting the whole family’s bikes looked at for peace of mind on your adventures.
4. Get the cycling safety gear on
We recommend that everyone, regardless of age, wears a bike helmet when out cycling to protect from any nasty falls. We’ve got some fun kids’ bike accessories that will appeal to their individual sense of style and you can use our bike helmet guide to make sure you choose the right fit.
For adults, you can go as basic or as more technically advanced as you like with many helmets now coming with Bluetooth and GPS location technology.
Complete your kit with some hi-vis clothing so that everyone is seen when you’re out.
5. Stay hydrated
Make sure that everyone has their water bottle filled. Children can get dehydrated quite easily, plus packing a small snack will help them keep going for the rest of the ride ahead.
Time to venture out!
Ok, it’s time to head out, hooray! So, what’s going to keep everyone interested? Here are some ideas for you!
1. Plan your cycling route
This is a helpful and simple way to keep the kids motivated and interested when cycling as a family. Decide together where you’re heading, whether it be to a park, to a certain road or to a landmark like a bridge that you all know.
Kids enjoy having somewhere to head to and aim for. It’s also helpful to know the cycling route you’re taking rather than cycling around aimlessly.
Check out our blog on some of the best family cycling routes in the UK for inspiration!
2. Appoint a Master of the Odometer!
If you’ve got an odometer, or any other gadget that tells you how far you’ve ridden, then this can be a really nice job for the kids to take turns monitoring. They can update everyone on how far you’ve cycled and keep track of each daily cycle.
3. Stop for play
If you can, including a stopping point in your cycle route adds a bit of variety. Stopping for some play at a green spot or to check out wildlife gives everyone the chance to get off the bikes and have some fun, running-around time.
4. The No Pedal Challenge
This is a great game that helps develop balance skills and coordination. Find a section on your cycle route that has a downhill incline (it doesn’t have to be really steep, just be sure to pick the safest spot) and pick a point after which no one is allowed to pedal. The winner is the cyclist who travels the furthest. Parents might gain at first, but children will likely whizz past at the end. Loads of fun!
5. And the award for Slowest Cyclist goes to…
Another great option for building balance and strength is to have a slowest cyclist race. The advantage to this is you don’t need to have a long distance to travel. Just pick your endpoint and see who can do their best snail impression!
If you’ve got a bit of space, you can do a lot of cycling fun on your own driveway. A strip of paper and some acrylic paints will encourage any avant-garde artists in the family to create your route.
You can also set up an obstacle course with cones, chalk or water balloons and get kids navigating some challenges. Or, if you’ve got a bubble maker, play a game of catch the bubbles where the kids must ride around and catch bubbles with any part of their bike.
You don’t need to ride hard or for long distances to burn off calories and get the endorphins flowing. Riding for just 15 minutes a day can have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of the whole family. So, grab your bikes and get cycling as a family!
You want to enjoy family bike rides, you want Halfords!