You want to take your family for a Sunday afternoon bike ride, but are not sure where to start? This is for you.
1) Start young.
If you get your children on bikes from a young age, they’ll grow up with the idea and won’t challenge it.
2) Tailor the vehicle to the developmental level of your child.
Babies will need to be in a trailer, but once the child hits the age of two there are plenty of options. Pay attention to each individual child and figure out what will work for that child. Options include: trailers, trail-a-bike, tandem, coupler to attach a child bike to an adult bike, or having the child ride his/her own bike.
3) Sandwich your child.
Until your child develops the skills to ride safely in traffic on his/her own, create a sandwich with adults in front and behind. The one in front sets the example for the child to follow, but the rear adult is there to keep an eye on her.
4) Keep mileage low and take plenty of breaks.
Just because you are rarin’ to go for a century ride, your child most likely isn’t. Enjoy a slow, leisurely ride with your family and do your training ride another day.
5) Take snacks.
You may be able to go several hours without eating, but your child most likely can’t. A hungry child is a cranky child.
6) Trust your child.
Kids are capable of way more than most parents give them credit for. Let them fly.
Biking is great for the entire family and will provide memories for years to come. As you spend a few hours of dedicated time together without all the distractions of modern society, you’re forming a bond with your child that will last for years to come.
Biking is also good in that it gets both of you out into Mother Nature’s handiwork. As you explore the out-of-doors, your child will see things you would miss – like the delicate shell of a cicada or the underside of leaves. Be open to the possibilities and they’ll come to you.
With our dependence on technological gadgets, the time outdoors on the bikes without cell phones beeping and brightly colored screen flashing, your brain will be freed up for more creative thought processes. Head on out and pick up some pine cones or have a sword fight with sticks during your breaks!
Article by Nancy Sathre-Vogel
Nancy Sathre-Vogel is mom to Family on Bikes, a family of four who recently rode their bikes from Alaska to Argentina. They are now trading in their wheels in favor of hiking boots and will hike 500 miles from Denver to Durango, Colorado this summer. She blogs at www.familyonbikes.org
Nancy has written 1 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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