In partnership with the awesome team over at Burley

Photo: Michelle Pearl Gee @michellepearl

It’s as simple as riding a bike, right?

Said the person who never had to coordinate three kids at three different ages and three completely different skill sets ALL wanting to bike. But, that’s where we come in. Here’s a handy little guide and some parent-sourced tips for biking with kids, so you can take what you need for now and save some tips for later (these kids grow up fast!).

And BONUS*** You’ll also find our brand new “Bike it Baby Workbook” at the end of this blog. That’s right, we teamed up with our friends at Burley to put together a brand new workbook full of all things biking: sensory bike rides, a bicycle safety dance (you choose the tune!), coloring pages, a “Bike-it” List, and more. So head outside with your family and find a place to ride, because we’re pretty sure bicycles and summer go hand-in-hand. 🙂

Biking with Kids: GEAR 

Photo: Michelle Pearl Gee @michellepearl

Bike Seats

There are front and back varieties of bike seats, but either way, it’s really nice to have your little one right there with you, to talk to you, sing to you, yell at you, you get the idea. 😉 We really like bike seats because you’re closer to your little one and it feels like you are adventuring together.

Keep in mind, bike seats aren’t for little babies. Your kiddo should be able to sit upright unassisted and hold their head up while wearing a helmet, usually this is around a year old. We know it might seem like a long time to wait if biking’s your thing, but trust us, you’ll have so many years of biking fun, don’t risk your little ones safety. 

Baby fall asleep in their bike seat? Not to worry! One of our Hike it Baby mama’s has this solution: “

“I usually bring my soft structured carrier with me as well for when we were off the bike, and discovered it makes an impromptu head rest as well! I just roll up the carrier and clip it around the baby with hip belt clipping behind the bike seat. Works like a charm!”

Thanks mama!

Bike Trailers

Ahh yes, the bike trailer, you tow it, your kids enjoy the ride, you move faster, explore more, and can even take on some gravel paths.  Plus, some bike trailers have conversion kits and can be turned into jogging strollers, win!!

Photo: Michelle Pearl Gee @michellepearl

Bike trailers are great if you want to get out and it’s a little rainy, and they can provide some extra shade on sunny days. Keep in mind that in the cold your kids are less active so bundle them up, and on warm, sunny days, keep an eye on them overheating, despite mesh screening and ventilation pockets, sometimes bike trailers can get warm! 

If a child has not quite “grown in” to the trailer seat try folding up a towel and place it underneath or behind them. A pillow is another option that will provide a little more comfort and height. Also, remember that kids always need to be wearing helmets when riding in bike trailers! 

 

Balance Bikes

Photo: Ashley Schneider

In our family (and pretty much any family I’ve ever talked to) balance bikes are the BEST! Why?

  1. Your kid can only go so fast. Hands down, best feature. So, barring you taking them to a steep downhill, you can keep pace with them on foot! Which is awesome when you just want a quick walk around the block, or are pushing a stroller, or Sibling 2 wants to ride their scooter.
  2. Your little ones learn the hardest part of riding a two-wheel big kid bike when they are short and close to the ground, and watching them go from unsteady wobbly new balance bikers to graceful, striding almost-speedesters is sure to be one of those proud parent moments.
  3. Balance bikes increase coordination and control, and also act as a nice middle point when your little one isn’t quite ready/attentive enough to pedal off into the sunset…alone…at top speed. Plus, some balance bikes have hand brakes! (for when you do come across that steep downhill part of the path)

 

 

All Together Now: Tips for Biking as a Family

Photo: Michelle Pearl Gee @michellepearl

 

Bringing it back to where we started, with three kids, different ages, and different skills, here are some tips on biking together:

  • Keep it contained:

“I have twin incredibly confident 3 year olds and a recently two-wheeling 7 year old, I found the place it was most enjoyable to go was a big, fenced in, paved school yard. Everyone can ride around at whatever speed and direction they want, they can explore and be silly, and they can’t get out. It’s nice for them to be able to bike around without having to listen to me telling them to get over so the faster bikes can get by them. We’ll get there, but for now, this is a really fun way for everyone to bike at once.”

 

  • Go big, and wide, and preferably flat and drop-off free: In case your children haven’t yet demonstrated, sometimes following a path as a new biker can be much more difficult than you could have ever realized. With all of the swerving and veering, its much more fun to go out on paths that are wider, so look for multi-use paths in your area.

 

  • Ride your bike, tow your toddlers, and have your older kids ride beside you. You can go at whatever speed works for your kids, but sometimes it’s nice to give your bigger kids new challenges while bringing the little ones along for the adventure.

 

  • And finally, if you have the room:

    “Keep the bikes, helmets, and safety pads in the back of the car so you can just jump in and go, especially when biking is new. This helped us go out more often, which is a great way to advance learning and getting comfortable with new things. Also, keep outings short and sweet at the beginning! Everyone will be more willing and have more fun if it’s 15 minutes of positive, playful practice versus 30 minutes of grueling fights, arguments, and stress. You can build longer outings as confidence and endurance grow.”

Above all, be safe, have fun, follow all safety instructions for the gear you are using, and make sure EVERYONE has a properly fitting bicycle helmet. 

Bike it Baby Workbook!

We know that sometimes keeping kids motivated and engaged while out can be challenging, which is why we are really excited for this biking workbook! Throw it in your pack, put it in your bike trailer, pull it out at snacktime along the bike path, you get the idea! Happy biking! -Love, Hike it Baby and Burley

Download the workbook here!

 

 

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