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As parents, many of us remember the wind in our faces and the thrills of riding bikes around our neighborhoods and local parks as children. These happy memories are something we want our own children to experience for themselves. Plus, riding bikes is great exercise and gets us and our kids outside, so what is there not to love?
Hike it Baby is excited to share a three-part blog series all about biking with your children. Yup, you read that right, with your children. But, never fear! Whether you’re still considering biking as a family activity or just starting out, you bike recreationally already, or you want to take your family biking to the next level, we’ve got you covered!
The first post is all about beginning your family biking journey. This post is for those who bike recreationally or want to begin doing so. And the third is for those who bike regularly or want to do more biking as a family.
Recreational family biking
What does it mean to bike recreationally as a family? Basically, it means you and your family ride your bikes together on occasion. You take your bikes to the local greenway or bike trails, or you do a regular bike ride around your neighborhood. You feel fairly confident in your biking abilities as a family, but you do not really ride your bikes as a mode of transportation or even all that often.
Do you need to be really experienced to be a recreational biker? Absolutely not. In fact, while you are starting out, you are very likely going to be a recreational bike-riding family. Almost no one begins their biking journey as a commuter or regular biker. We all start somewhere and it doesn’t always go to plan. That is part of the journey.
The right equipment for recreational biking
Biking as a family can look so many different ways and no one way is correct or better than another. Babies and young children can enjoy recreational biking in the safety of bike seats and trailers. Both seats and trailers can hold children up to about 40 lbs, depending on the brand, so they can be used for a long time.
If you like the idea of your young child being on the bike with you so it is easy to chat and share all the things you see with each other, a bike seat like the Burley Dash Seat may be a good option for you.
If you are looking for a more versatile set of wheels, the bike trailer may be a good option for you. Many bike trailers, like the Burley Honey Bee, can be used as a stroller and bike trailer. This option allows you to take your children on both walking and biking adventures! Because most trailers hold two kids, this is also a great option for those with two children.
Finally, if you have an older child who isn’t quite biking fast enough to keep up with adults, a tag-a-long bike or Burley’s trailer cycles will allow your child to practice biking, gain confidence and strength, while also not having to worry about keeping up.
There are age and weight restrictions on bike seats, trailers, and trailer cycles, so make sure to triple check your child can ride safely.
How to bike recreationally as a family
Once you have the right equipment that works for your family, it is time to choose your own adventure, biking addition. Again there is no right way to bike recreationally. As you choose different trail options, you will find what your family likes best and the distance your children (and yourself) can handle.
If you are really new to biking as a family, stay close to home. Your neighborhood is the perfect place to bike together. You know the area well and can adjust your trip to fit the needs and abilities of your family on any given bike outing. One day you may ride a couple of miles together and the next day your toddler is just not having it after only a couple of minutes. Each outing is building your and your child’s skills and abilities.
If your neighborhood isn’t ideal for biking or if you want to try somewhere without car traffic, local greenways and bike paths are amazing options. Children who can bike independently, but need practice biking around others, will learn quickly using these trail options. The trails are usually paved and because there are no cars, you have one less thing to worry about.
One Hike it Baby family had this to say about their recreational biking adventures:
“When we lived in Lexington, Kentucky we would do evening bike rides on the trails near our house or bike to the park. Now, in New York, we have to drive to the bike trails, which means we don’t hit them up as often as before. But we do bike to the park. My youngest will be on his bike for hours, just biking in our driveway and the street in front of our house. My oldest now uses it to get around our neighborhood and see friends.” – Keira Wickliffe Berger
In other words, doing what is convenient and available to you is the best option when it comes to biking. Whether this is riding in your driveway, your neighborhood, biking on nearby trails, or driving to bike trails, you really cannot go wrong.
Another option for recreational biking is finding local bike trails or bike tracks. These are usually dirt trails and more often than not bikers are moving pretty quickly on them. These are not ideal if you have a bike seat, trailer, or trailer cycle on your bike either because they tend to be very bumpy.
No matter how you choose to bike recreationally, the important thing to remember is that each trip is an adventure and you will learn something each and every time.
Photos by Jessica Human and Krystal Weir.
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