Family cycling: how to enjoy a bike ride with your kids.

April 28, 2022
AUTHOR:
Tom Cornwell

With the doom and gloom of winter now firmly behind us, here in fettle land we’ve been thinking about all things spring. And what’s more spring(y) than venturing out on two wheels en famille, to take in the sights, smells and sounds post-winter hibernation.

As we launched our family bike servicing offer, it's been great talking with so many of you, championing your family to cycle. A common theme we found parents  hesitant to take their kids out onto the roads (particularly in London), understandably cautious about drivers.

With many of us here at fettle parents to young’uns, we find cycling together to be safe, as long as you plan your route and take sensible precautions.

So, here's our top tips and tricks to stay safe out there and get your child learning about road safety...

1. Formation, formation!

Obviously if you’re cycling with two adults and one child, it’s best to form a sprog sandwich, with your child in the middle. However, if you’re solo, it tends to be safest to cycle a bike’s length behind, for you to have visibility whilst easily calling out instructions.

If you find yourself on a particularly busy road, pedestrians tend to be quite understanding of small children cycling on the pavement whilst you pedal alongside on the road. Or, if you’re cycling with multiple children, put the most competent at the front, with yourself at the back. As a general rule, you want to have visibility over them at all times.

2. Plan your route carefully.

We’ll happily spout the merits of cycling until we’re blue in the face. However, when cycling with children, there are some roads that even we wouldn’t take them on. Plan your route carefully, to avoid busy junctions and heavily used roads. And this doesn’t mean you can’t cycle from A to B. It just means you can’t pop your destination in Google maps and start pedalling, in the same way you would whilst cycling sprog-less. Here are some of London's top family-friendly bike rides.

3. Have a practice ride.

In the same way we lose our nerve if we’ve had some time off the bike, children need to be gently eased back into cycling after winter. A practice ride in a local park can be a great way to get their confidence up again, before going straight on the roads. Particularly when you think about how from a child’s perspective, other vehicles seem so much bigger.

4. Patience is key.

With little legs and a propensity for wobbly steering, kids are going to complain and make mistakes whilst out on a ride. Preparing yourself to be as patient as possible is imperative, lest you put them off cycling by barking orders for the duration of the ride.

So there you have it; a few simple tips and tricks to stay safe out there get your child learning about road safety.

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