There are so many reasons why cycling is the perfect family activity! From being accessible for riders of all ages to bringing out the kid in all of us — cycling encourages adventure, exploration, and is an ideal way to create lasting memories together. The fresh air and exercise also help keep everyone healthy and happy. So, ready to pack up the fam and head out for a ride? Here are some ideas to ensure you and the crew spend more time on your bikes this summer.
Plan a route around a fun destination
If you need some help motivating the kids to head out and ride, there is nothing wrong with the promise of a little reward to help grease the wheels (so to speak). Check out what kind of refreshments are offered along local trails or plan a trip through a nearby park to an ice cream joint or sweetshop. Usually, half the battle is getting everyone dressed and out the door. Once you’re on your way, chances are the kids will be happy to keep riding longer than you initially expected.
Get cycling at a pop-up event
As this summer is set to mark a return to largely ‘normal’ living, you can expect to see all sorts of cycling events eager to be revitalised. Search what is happening in your local area, or get in touch with nearby bike shops or clubs to see if they have any free events planned for the warmer months. From trying out new cycling equipment to chatting with local coaches and riders, these events are a great way to stimulate interest in the sport and give you an added excuse to bust out the bikes.
Brush up on cycling skills
When searching for events, you might come across a safety-inspired workshop or training session — and you should absolutely take advantage of one if you do! Surveys often highlight that one of the most significant barriers for new riders is safety concerns. To help the whole family feel more confident on two wheels, plan to invest some time learning best practices, the rules of the road, and bike maintenance. Nothing happening in your area? Plan your own mini bike workshop around a theme that most appeals to your gang of riders.
Set up a communication system in advance
For little legs especially, the fear of being left behind can be pretty discouraging. To help everyone go into the ride feeling empowered, have a communication system set up ahead of time. Agree to stick together and have a straightforward way to signal when someone needs a break.
Decorate your bikes
Depending on your family members’ age and creative inclination, a bike decorating contest might be just what the doctor ordered if you’re looking to make cycling fun. Bust out the ribbons and spoke beads and let your inner artist take over.
Set a family biking goal
If you’re a cyclist, you probably already know that setting a goal helps keep motivation levels high. Aside from your own personal ambitions, though, use the same logic to help get everyone excited to ride. Come up with a number of kilometres you want to bike as a family and plan to reward the effort with a trip to the cinema or a favourite restaurant. Alternatively, come up with a few rides that you want to tackle or prioritise a skill that each member would like to improve.
Try a new kind of biking
Allowing each member of your family to discover their own cycling style is an important way to ensure they don’t feel that you’re imposing your passion upon them. Try mixing things up by visiting a skate park that allows bikes, checking out a pump track or trying mountain biking for the day.
Tow the kids
If you’ve got little ones that struggle to keep up on rides, you can still get them in on the action by towing them in a tag-along or trailer you’ve fit to your own bike. It’s still an excellent way to establish the habit of regular bike rides and will likely soon have them wanting a set of wheels of their own.
Plan a scavenger hunt on wheels
If you’ve got the time and energy or want a fun activity to celebrate a birthday or family milestone, turning a family bike ride into a scavenger hunt could easily make for one of the most memorable outings of the summer. Pick out local landmarks, objects from nature or other novelties and make a list of things for the family to find. Print out a list of quirky instructions and make sure there’s a tempting prize for the winner!
The number one way to ensure that everyone enjoys your family bike outing is to provide snacks and hydration in ample amounts. Kids get thirsty and hungry quickly, so err on the side of over-preparation. If you’re planning a longer journey, take a picnic to eat once at your destination so that everyone has a rest and is ready for the return leg. Take extra layers, sunscreen, and be willing to adapt your plan if the elements aren’t cooperating. Remember that these rides are about the memories you create together — the more enjoyable the experience, the easier it will be to generate enthusiasm for another go!