There’s a chill in the air and the leaves are slowly turning vibrant shades of orange but there’s still plenty of fun to be had with a day out on the bikes as a family. Whether for leisure or for commuting purposes, getting the right set-up with you and your child (or children) on two wheels can create a memorable experience, ensuring your little one is keen to get out on their bike from the get-go.
Their own bike
We’ll start with the obvious and that’s that your child has their own bike. From balance bikes to top-end road bikes, there are bikes to suit children of all ages.
The bike seat is probably the cheapest and simplest option (depending on which one you opt for) for a child between 6 months and 4 years (or up to around 20 kg). It’s also possible to have two seats on a bike (front and rear), though, in terms of handling and safety, a rear seat is the better option.
There is also a third option of a frame-mounted seat such as the WeeRide or Shotgun. Designed for those between 2 and 5 years old, these mount to the top tube of your bike. With better weight distribution, the bike is often easier to handle. The child can see what’s going on and you can more easily talk to them than you would with a rear-mounted seat. This can be a good way to prepare a child for their own biking adventures.
A trailer attaches to the back of any bike or electric bike, with the option of a double trailer for carrying two passengers. Often they come with a waterproof cover, which makes them a comfortable option for the little ones. Since you don’t have to worry about them getting wet or muddy, this can be a great school-run option. Trailers are also capable of carrying slightly less precious cargo such as your food shopping, making them a versatile addition to your bike accessories.
A cargo bike is much like a trike with two wheels up front and a box to carry either children or other valuable goods. The bakfiets is a great example of this. Since growing in popularity, there is a great variety of options available. Depending on the number of children, the hills and distances you expect to be riding, you may even opt for an electric-assist cargo bike, which will make taking your children out on rides a breeze. There are options that are specific to child-carrying such as the Taga bikes and the Zigo Leader – the options are endless!
Tandem – kidback
The tandem is another option with a variety of options to suit your needs. A simple tandem is a bike capable of being ridden by two people, each with their own saddle, pedals and handlebars. This is often an option for long-distance touring, which says a lot about the comfort of this style.
A tandem with a kidback set-up allows for a much shorter rider. The kidback is an attachment that can clamp onto the seat tube to allow them to reach the pedals. This set-up is great if you want to provide your little ones with a real cycling experience but without the large difference in energy and capability levels affecting the speed and distance of your bike rides.
Alternatively, there are other set-ups such as the Kivo where the child is up-front or the FollowMe tandem, which allows for attachment of a smaller bike to a bigger one, effectively making your own tandem.
Tagalong or trailer bike
Much like a tandem, a tagalong or trailer bike is similar in style to the FollowMe attachment but has no front wheel, fork and headset and instead is replaced by a towbar. This is a good option for children of over four years with good balance. Again, this can give your child a great experience of cycling, improving their confidence and stamina to prepare for riding on their own.
This option is for those who are a little older and more confident. Maybe they already have a taste for mountain biking and can handle their own bike well but struggle with the climbs. This is where the tow-rope comes in and is a relatively cheap and simple solution to a common problem.
As the name suggests, it’s a shock-absorbing rope that easily attaches to both bikes and is capable of towing 225 kg. You can even purchase a hip pack for your little mountain biker to stash the rope when they’re shredding under their own steam.
As you can see, there are endless options to suit your needs and budget. The types of bikes available to take children out on family rides are only growing. So, whether you want to drop them off at school every day, rain or shine, or enjoy a leisurely mountain bike ride through the forest, there are options to suit everyone. Happy cycling!