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Family bike ride: Here is a beginner’s guide on how to start
Does the idea of riding with your kids sound interesting but you are not too sure where to begin?
Biking is a great way to spend quality time outside and create beautiful memories with your loved ones. There are few things to consider before going on a family bike ride.
Let’s start from the basics: a family bike is a bicycle built to meet the needs of modern families. Whether it is a three wheel bike: a cargo bike with front or back load, it allows you mobility freedom in a sustainable and fun way! There are many family bike options and accessories out there that can help you build a bike that fits perfectly to your unique needs. If you don’t know which family bike you should choose, we suggest one at the end of the next section.
Once you have found “the one” we can proceed by talking about an important step before hopping on the bike: the preparation before riding.
Almost ready to go? Don’t forget the pre-ride prep before going
First and foremost, it is essential that your biking gear works and that each family member is safe and comfortably seated. Finding the right seating method for your little ones is crucial to ensure a smooth ride.
We advise carrying out a quick equipment check each time before leaving. This will help avoid any potential malfunctioning that could come up during your trip:
- Check the pressure in the tires. The U-Cargo should stay in the range of 3.0 and 4.0 bars. Pump the pressure to 4 if you’re planning to bring along your kids.
- With an e-bike, check that the battery is fully charged. For long trips you should bring a secondary battery.
- Make sure the wheels are turning freely and the quick-release skewers are tightened correctly.
- Lube the chain: if you haven’t done so in a while and you’re afraid of messing it up, feel free to contact your local bike shop.
- Check the shifting. Check that the rear derailleur shifts evenly and smoothly between all the gears.
We strongly recommend wearing a helmet according to your local legislation. Every member of the family should have a suitable one. To encourage your kids to pick-up the habit, you should always wear one too!
Our tip: Make your kids yawn big just like a lion while wearing their helmet, they should feel it pulling down if it’s properly fastened!
The goal is to create a fun experience for the whole family,
Make sure that you are always providing a comfortable environment for everyone. Even if it means stopping frequently and not following the plans! You need to be flexible especially when travelling with kids. By making it fun, they will spontaneously develop a positive attitude towards biking, and the whole experience that comes with it: being active, curious, social and appreciative of the great outdoors.
Little secret: what you’ll cherish the most are those moments you didn’t plan for, that’s the beauty of slow travel!
The U-Cargo is the ideal family bike for urban & greenway rides
To make things easier, we developed THE family bike that we constantly improve to match exactly our customers’ needs: the U-Cargo Family!
Equipped with a spacious rear cabin, it can accommodate two kids and extra baggage comfortably (up to 80 kg/12st), plus the solid front rack carries up to 20 kg/3st. The sturdy steel frame of the cabin keeps your kids shock-safe while the wind and waterproof textile keeps them warm & dry. The system Switch2Carry transforms in a few seconds the cabin into a storage space capable of carrying your weekly groceries and other heavy charges while the kids are not there.
Its motor is powerful and reliable, you can climb hills effortlessly, it can assist you up to 70 km and there is a second slot available for a backup battery in case you’re planning for a long trip or just to be safe. Not to mention, the Easy-start lever allows you to start the motor without pedalling. Low effort, Lots of fun!
Compact, ergonomic and easy to drive: the U-Cargo Family is perfect for daily urban trips to bring the kids to school, go to work, grocery shopping as well as a family bike ride! It can definitely become a financial investment to get high-quality biking gear. But in the long run the family memories that will be made along the way are priceless.
How to choose the right itinerary for your family bike ride?
Our biggest advice is to choose a quiet and calm route to start with, aim for a short child-friendly ride. You can gradually increase the distance if your kids are comfortable with the idea. Going on a cycling holiday can help with that as the distance might feel less daunting when there are many new things to discover.
Our tip: to help kids feel involved and excited about the adventure, let them help you organise the itinerary. They’ll love to have a little responsibility.
Doing anything with kids always requires a trillion things. In this case though, it’s important to stay light, especially if you ride more than 25 kms or you’re just starting out.
Easier said than done, this can be very challenging.
Wear light and sweat-proof clothing, we recommend padded bike shorts if you’re planning on long distances. Check the weather forecast and dress yourself accordingly. Kids can get serious sunburns, especially on the back of the neck. Make sure to apply sunscreen and cover the areas from the sun. In winter they can get really cold, we advise wearing thermal clothing and a balaclava to keep warm under the helmet.
If you are planning to cycle in the UK, Sustrans can help you pick the right excursion for you. The website contains a free database with plenty of bike paths you can choose from depending on your location, route type and distance desired.
Ready to pack your family bike? We prepared for you a checklist with all the essentials for a zero-stress experience.
Lastly, things to keep in mind while riding on a family bike
Being positive goes a long way: enthusiasm is contagious! If you model a great attitude, there’s a good chance your kids will feel the same way as you. Don’t forget to let them know how fun it is riding with them and how well they’re behaving.
During the ride, it’s important that you tune in with your child’s cues. They might complain and feel overwhelmed by something or feel too tired to continue. Be attentive to how they feel and manage the excursion accordingly.
In addition, to help your little passengers feel more at ease, you should keep them engaged in frequent conversations with you. Depending on the age you can approach this differently.
- Older kids can get entertained by replicating/ guessing the cycling road signals (a great game to build good habits)
- Toddlers don’t require as much distraction but they’ll need a good stretch more often.
Especially when riding in the city, choosing an itinerary with low traffic, lots of grassy spots and playgrounds is always a good idea! Bring along some special treats you can all enjoy during the trip as food can be a great motivator.
Taking frequent breaks is also important for adults. Relax and enjoy the sun by taking a dip in the lake or by having lunch in the park.
Bring a picnic basket with some delicious food & maybe a card game in your U-Cargo Family bike. Get ready to enjoy the perfect family day trip!