Enjoying a good bike ride is a great way to get out and see the countryside, as well as getting such much-needed exercise. Not only that, but bike riding is a way to reduce your carbon footprint and give the kid a little bit of independence. However, it is not without its risks. As a conscientious parent, you will be all too conscious of the health and safety issue involved, and as a result, this may make you very nervous about letting the kids on the road. So, we have created some tips to help you enjoy those family bicycling adventures.
The Right Bike
You need a bike that is actually the right size for your child. Can they easily stop the bike without wobbling and falling off? In other words, is the bike too big? Is it too small? Are they able to straighten their legs when the peddle is at the bottom? How about the reach to the handlebars? A bike that is too small or too large can be dangerous so make sure that the bike fits. This may mean purchasing a new bike if they have recently gone through a growth spurt.
Your Children’s Age
In order for kids to safely traverse the roads, they need to be a certain age. Although there is no age limit, as a conscientious parent, you should not be allowing 5-year-olds out on the open road, even if they have developed good riding skills. Perhaps you should take them to basic cycling skills lessons to help them. But, even so, children under the age of ten should really be on the back of one of the parent’s bikes, or be very closely monitored while cycling on a pavement. Once they are at least ten and have some road savvy ability, it is best they are between the two parents, and distances are not overly long. That is something you can build up over time, as they become stronger, more confident, and are more road savvy.
Maintain the Bikes
You need to ensure all the tires are inflated and without punctures. You need to oil the bikes and make sure the brakes are both in good working order. This is a simple prerequisite of cycling with children.
All of you need to be wearing helmets, even if you are used to cycling without one. You need to lead by example. That goes for children on the back of a bike too. They need sweat belts to boot. You will want clothes that cover elbows and knees too to minimize damage if an accident does occur. Think about a bicycle accident lawyer if the worse does happen.
Know Your Route
Plan your route beforehand. Know where all the twists, turns, and hazard spots are so you can be extra vigilant. If possible, cycle the route a few times on your own so you can really get a handle on how it needs to be ridden. Perhaps have a stop-gap place in mind so you can get off, check everything is ok, and have a drink while on the journey.