Cycling with Children
Top tips for getting you and your family out and about on two wheels.
If you want to get your child riding early then waiting until they can pedal is waiting too long! There are lots of options and fun ways to get your little ones excited about the freedom of two wheels. Here are just a few ways to get you started.
Scooters are a great way to introduce your child to two wheeled fun. Kids love messing around on them and using them for the school commute. There are lots of great sites out there explaining how to use them properly so get some advice before you buy is always our motto.
Balance bikes are a fantastic way of getting your child used to balancing on two wheels. These can be a little expensive but they last for ages and can be used from a very early age right through until the big day. The beauty about a balance bike is that children learn about balance and steering and don’t even realise they are learning to ride!
We would recommend the type that attaches to the rear of the bike (either the seat tube or a rear rack). The ones that attach to the front can cause problems with steering and stability. Seats should conform to the BS EN 14344 standard - they come in two sizes: up to 15kg (approx 3 years old) and up to 22kg (approx 5 years old). They are both suitable for children who are 9 months and up (they need to be able to sit up straight by themselves). The seat should have a safety harness and this should always be buckled when carrying the child. Some come with footrests to stop little feet straying.
Bike seats are that perfect way to get a young family out and about and are a great way to setting the scene for future biking endeavours.
Bike Tag along
This is an ideal solution for children up to about 10 years old. You both get to cycle, you get a good workout and they get all the fun, well nearly all the fun! They can still pedal but you control the balance and turns. These are also great if you want to go on that longer journey and their stamina isn’t quite up to it.
If you child really wants to travel in style (and stay dry) you can use a covered trailer (as in the picture above) which hitches onto the chainstay or rear axle (or sometimes the seatpost). A bit more expensive but the ultimate in comfort for your little treasure.
It is only our opinion but stabilisers generate too many bad habits when learning to ride. If you can avoid them then a balance bike is such a better way to start. If you don’t want the expense of a balance bike then simply take the pedals off a normal bike. Top tip - when it comes to putting the pedals back on, they only fit one way - look for the left and right markers on the pedals before reattaching.
When they are ready for their own set of wheels then visit a good bike shop. Please don’t go for “something they’ll grow into." A badly fitting bike can halt a child’s progress by years. Kid’s bikes commonly come in different wheel sizes - 12" (for the very little'uns), 14", 16", 20", 24" and in some cases 26" although these are very nearly adult bikes. With the seat at its lowest height, your child should be able to sit comfortably with both feet on the floor (if just learning) or on tippy toes once the basics have been grasped.