Ease Into Cycling With A Child Seat.
Many parents of young children want to continue or start cycling but aren’t sure how to transition from being a single rider to cycling with a child seat. Confidence in biking is important for that first ride with your child. It’s an enormous step to set the most precious person in your world on your bike and take off. Here are some tips we hope will get you and your child onto two wheels with ease.
It’s okay to be nervous about cycling with a child seat.
Nervousness about starting a new activity, or picking up after several years of not riding is perfectly normal. Nerves can be a healthy thing, especially if they keep you on your toes and more aware of your surroundings. Being hyper-aware will help you maintain safe riding habits. The first trip or two may be nerve-wracking, but soon you’ll be cruising down the block with your child. The wind in your hair and the smile on your kiddos’ face will be worth every hesitant pedal.
Take a few practice runs.
If you haven’t been cycling in a few years, or are just picking it up as an adult, we recommend taking a few trips by yourself to get the rhythm down. Once your child seat is attached to your bike, take it for a spin with a baby doll or bag of flour strapped in. You might get a few strange looks, but having the added weight and learning how to get on and off the bike safely is definitely worth it. If you feel you need some extra training or help, don’t hesitate to contact your local bike shop to see if they have a class you can join. You could also look into cycling groups in your area. Many experienced cyclists are happy to help a newcomer learn their way around the sport.
Start with short rides and build up slowly.
Your first trip with the baby shouldn’t be going to an appointment that’s 10 miles down the road. Your child needs some time to get used to the new experience as well and if mom/dad is calm they are more likely to be as well. Plan a trip to the park or around the block where you can test out cycling with a child seat safely. Once you get more experienced and your child is comfortable in the seat you can work your way up to longer trips. Check out our favorite trails for families if you’re looking for a place to ride.
Make sure your child is safe, secure, and comfortable.
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions for fitting and installing your child bike seat. You’ll also want to check out their suggested maximum speeds, ages, and weight limits. Make sure your child is strapped in properly and there are no loose straps, clothing, or toys. Loose articles could interfere with your tires or chain and cause an accident. It’s a good idea to check all straps, locking mechanisms, and connections before each ride as part of your pre-ride inspection.
You’ll also want to make sure your child has an appropriately fitted helmet. Helmets are required in most states, counties, and cities for cyclists under 16 years of age. Even if it’s not required in your area, it’s a good habit to get into.
Make sure that your kiddo is protected from the elements. They will not be as warm as you since they aren’t working. Having an extra layer of clothing and adding gloves or scarves could be the difference between freezing and an enjoyable ride with mom or dad. During the summer, lighter long sleeves and/or plenty of sunscreen will keep your kiddo protected. You might also want to consider taking routes that provide more shade for you and your little.
Enjoy the ride.
Cycling with your little one is supposed to be fun! Try to relax and enjoy your time spent with each other. Point things out along the route and talk about what you see. You can also talk about where you are going or where you came from and even sing songs!
Do you have any tips to share on how to make the transition to cycling with a child seat easier? How do you make your family bike rides successful? Please share with us!