One of the things we love most about cycling is its flexibility. You can head off on a solo commute, to the mountains with friends or on family trips with young kids. If you’re planning for the latter, you’ll benefit from a certain few bits and pieces of equipment.
We’ve put together a list of essential riding equipment for safe, fun and family-friendly rides.
Kids’ Bike Helmets
Before you set off on any bike ride, the first thing to remember (aside from the bike itself!) is a helmet. The same rule applies to your kids! Getting them to actually wear one can have its challenges, but a good trick is to get your little ones something they actually like.
There are lots of cool helmets out there designed specifically for kids. Bern Helmets have a great line of children’s helmets which not only look stylish, but suit all-weather commutes too. We love the Nino Jr and the Nina Jr, which hold up in snowy conditions – if you’re feeling adventurous!
Bicycling.com put together a recent list of bike helmets for kids, which features lots of other fun brands, too.
Bike Seats: Rear or Front
Bike seats are one of the easiest ways to transport your child around – especially if they’re between the ages of one and six. For younger kids (generally under the age of around 3), front-mounted bike seats are your best bet. while rear-mounted seats can accommodate kids from twelve months up to five or six years old.
So, what are the best ones? Front-mounted bike seats are popular among parents who feel more comfortable cycling when they can easily keep an eye on their child. Your baby or toddler will also have a great view and is less likely to get bored or fidgety. Pedalsteady.com put together a list of comfortable, affordable front-mounted bike seats, including brands like Thule and TykeToter.
Meanwhile, parents of older children (up to around six, depending on weight) can choose a rear mounted seat in a variety of shapes and sizes. The only thing to be aware of is how the additional weight impacts your bike’s handling. For an optimal riding experience, make sure you take the time to select the right seat for you, your child and how it fits onto the bike itself. Check out Cycling Weekly’s recommended list of kids’ bike seats.
Remember, babies need to have sufficient neck strength to hold up their head while wearing a helmet, so it’s recommended parents wait until their child is 12 months before they head out on any biking adventures with them!
Chariots or Bike Carriers
If your child is still too young to power a bike on their own, chariots or bike carriers are a great way to bring your little one along for the ride.
Suitable for kids of up to around 40lbs, bike chariots are a little pricier than standard bike seats. However, their superior features (think sun screen, rain cover and more room inside for toys!) makes them the perfect companion for family bike rides. Many can also convert to a stroller or ski carrier.
Because of their low height, bike chariots shouldn’t be used on busy main roads, and are instead better suited for rides in nature, quieter streets and neighbourhoods or on specific cycle lanes or tracks.
‘9 Best Bike Trailers for Kids: Your Buyer’s Guide’ by heavy.com is a great source of information about some popular chariots on the market today, including special features and pros and cons. REI also stock some great bike trailers.
Because phone, keys, wallet and snacks are essential items for any cycling trip – kids or otherwise! We recommend our Dayliner Mini Handlebar Bag (now also available in Tofino Blue!). Designed for commuting and recreational riding in all weather conditions, you can carry a light but necessary amount of extra gear for long afternoon rides.
If you’re using a rear bike seat or chariot, you could also go for a Dayliner Handlebar and Trunk Box Bag to balance out your load. It offers total utility, and is great for errand running, commuting and bike camping. Find out more about both of these bags over on our blog: Our Five Most Popular Bike Bags (and Who They are Designed For).
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