Tips for Planning a Family Bike Ride by Juliet Elliott

By Juliet Elliott

Riding with your own family is one of life’s great joys and whilst the simplicity of free-wheeling is undeniable, a family cycle does require a certain amount of planning to go smoothly. Whether it’s a family outing or a bike ride to school, these simple tips will help get you started on this rewarding journey.

Check your equipment

Before you go anywhere, give your bikes a good going over. Check the brakes are working, bolts are done up, tyres are inflated and the chain isn’t loose. Children grow so quickly that it’s always a good idea to check their saddle height before you go.

An alternative is to ride at a location with bikes ready to hire. These include some of the nation’s Forest Parks or well-known family-friendly cycle trails such as the Monsal Trail in Derbyshire and Camel Trail in Padstow.

Choose your route carefully

Check your route beforehand and depending on the age of your little cyclists, try and avoid hills and busy roads. Look for traffic-free, signposted routes that are part of the National Cycle Network; the Sustrans website has some great suggestions. Consider pump tracks, skateparks and forest parks which are fun for everyone.

Select your distance and plan alternatives

It’s very difficult to know how far your children can ride, so err on the cautious side and plan lots of potential stops and consider ways you can shorten the route on the fly. We sometimes leave our car at the start and ride as a family to our destination then whichever adult fancies a few fast miles rides back to the start and picks up the car. Meanwhile, the family play in a park or relax in a cafe.

Once you’re on the ride, follow these tips:

  1. Let your kids take the lead and set the pace
  2. Take lots of snacks and water
  3. Pack lots of clothes
  4. Consider something like a Towhee if your child is capable of riding with one.

Finally, take your time and enjoy the ride as part of a bigger adventure!