Things You Should Know Before Planning A Family Bike Ride
The benefits of planning family bike ride are aplenty! You and kids can have a great time during the ride, whether it’s through the city or the country. You should plan such tours as often as you can.
You should Keep in Mind Before Planning a Family Bike Ride
Things to know when planning family bike ride:
Your first step is to check the kids’ bikes. You have to determine whether these are still suitable for their needs. You don’t have to buy new bikes for everybody since minor adjustments can be made. You can change the handlebars’ position or the saddle’s height for each kid, for example.
Roadworthy Bikes Are a Must
Of course, you have to check your kids’ bikes before each ride through the neighborhood. But when you’re planning a springtime bike ride, you should perform a full-on check on each bike.
- Check that the tires are fully inflated (i.e., with proper pressure)
- Turn the wheels to determine their smooth revolutions
- Lubricate the chains, if needed
- Ensure that the brakes and gears are in good condition
If you’re in doubt, you can also bring your bikes to a professional bike shop. You may have to spend a few dollars but it will be well worth the benefits of roadworthy bikes.
Practice Is a Must
Regardless of your route, you and your kids should brush up on your biking skills before planning family bike ride. You have to remember that while biking skills cannot be lost, so to speak, these can become rusty over time. You’re also building up your kids’ confidence over the types of terrains on your route.
You will be able to give pointers about the best ways to maneuver over various terrains. You can also make adjustments to their bikes based on their riding observations.
Packing Lightly Is Also a Must
Even on long bike rides, you must pack your panniers as lightly as possible. Your group should proceed along your route without worrying about heavy luggage.
But you should never forget these essential items, too:
- Plenty of drinks especially for spring and summer rides
- Snacks like cereal bars, small cakes, and fig biscuits
- Extra layer of clothes like wind and rainproof jackets
- Spare wipes, diapers and pants when there are small kids in your group
- Bike repair tool kit
- First-aid kit
- Mobile phones
- Cash and card
- Locks for the bikes
- Small toys for the younger kids (as distractions)
Set the Pace for the Group
You have to observe the pace of your group during your practice runs. Your group may be slower or faster now than in your last family bike ride. You can then set the pace for the entire group during the actual ride based on your observations.
The pace of your family bike ride should be based according to the speed of the slowest family member. You will enjoy the ride as a group and encourage everybody else to pitch in. You will also find that demoralizing the younger kids by leaving them behind isn’t a good idea.
Discuss the Safety Measures Before and During the Ride
You cannot be complacent about safety on your family bike ride. You should discuss the safety rules before and during the practice runs. You should also remind the children about them during the ride itself.
The more you remind the kids about the safety rules, the more likely they will remember it. You should also be their role model by following these rules including:
- When riding in traffic, everybody should keep to your side of the road. You should “shield” your children from overtaking vehicles by riding behind them. You can keep a little to their right to keep an eye on them.
- When riding in off-road routes, you can let them roam ahead. You should still be able to see your children so that you can react to their actions straight away.
- Everybody should be informed about the signals used for various situations. These include informing them of dangers ahead, stopping for breaks, and overtaking.
Always Determine the Route Beforehand
While spontaneity is great for adult-oriented bike rides, it isn’t suitable for kid-centered outings. You must plan every kilometer on the route, if possible.
- Check out the route, if possible. You will be able to plan for contingencies and set the timetable, if you can. You may also research about these things through the Internet.
- Bring a map, GPS and other navigation tools. You can plot a safer route by using lanes, back roads, and tracks instead of busy highways. You can even use online route planners.
Everything that Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong
You must think about the possible emergencies that crop up on family bike rides. You may just find that Murphy’s Law applies more when kids are involved in a bike ride.
- List down the special needs of each family member.
- Discuss with them the possible crisis.
- Make contingency plans accordingly.
For this reason, you have to check everything the night before the ride. You’re ensuring that everything’s in order. You will find that the hardest part is getting everybody out of the door – everything becomes easier afterwards.
Everybody Should Have a Say
Your kids and spouse will get more out of the ride when they have been involved in its planning. You must then ask the older kids about their own needs and wants – route, breaks, and activities. You can also discuss the realities of the ride with them during the planning stage.
Check the Weather Forecasts
Your family bike ride may be in the spring or summer but you shouldn’t rely on general weather patterns. You have to be attuned to the weather forecasts along your route and be prepared for changes.
A Sense of Humor Is a Must
Since Murphy’s Law applies, you and your spouse should bring your sense of humor. For as long as everybody’s safe and enjoying the ride, minor mishaps shouldn’t be a source of stress. Laugh, smell the flowers, and drink in the view.
Planning a family bike ride can be stressful but once you’re on the road, you can say goodbye to most of your stressors. You and your family should just enjoy the bike ride with the knowledge that you’re together as a group.
Your main considerations should be a balance between safety and enjoyment for everybody – everything else is just secondary. These 11 things to know about family bike rides are general guidelines. You have to be alert for learnings unique to your own family situation.