The Marin Guide To Everyday Cycling With Young Kids
Cycling is a great way to travel with kids, getting them out of the car and into the fresh air. Here's the Marin Bikes guide to cycling with your young children for everyday journeys.
Cycling With Kids
It’s a fact of life, if you’ve got kids you’re going to need to take them places.
To school, to the grocery store, to kindergarten, to grandma’s place. Even just to the park to throw a ball and feed the birds. Those daily journeys are almost always done by car, because, well it just seems easier, doesn't it?
But have you ever considered cycling with your children instead of driving?
Why Cycle With Your Kids?
Why cycle instead of driving with your kids?
There are a whole heap of benefits to cycling for both you and your kids.
Once you've got your bike, cycling is a cost-free way to exercise. No need to find time to work out in your day, cycle the kids to nursery and you've already got your blood pumping. Perfect for time-poor parents!
It's also great for your mental health, benefits the environment and is more economical than driving. It's said that bikes even cost 10% of the annual running costs of an average car.
It can even be quicker. There's no need to sit in traffic jams, queue for the freeway or hunt for parking. And you'll almost always get parked outside the door when you arrive.
But those benefits aren't just for grown-ups, the kids will feel the effects too. Take them along for the ride and they’ll see the sights, smell the smells and feel the wind in their hair.
They'll get some exercise themselves, get their own injection of happy brain chemicals and start their lifelong love of two-wheeled travel. Research shows that kids that cycle, turn into adults that cycle. Go figure!
Children's Bike Seats and Trailers 101
Ready to start cycling with your children?
Young kids can't cycle by themselves, so you'll need to find a means of carrying, pushing or towing them on your bike.
For young children, we'd recommend a dedicated kid's bike trailer, with head support. These often have suspension to smooth out the bumps, extra carrying capacity to haul some gear, snacks and offer some weather protection. It's also easy for Junior to snooze while you ride. Bonus.
Once your kid gets a little older, you can move on to a dedicated children's bicycle seat. This will attach to your bike and let them ride safely along with you.
Rear children's seats are by far the most popular for everyday journeys. Pick a design that has plenty of adjustment and keeps little legs away from your bike's rear wheel.
As your kid gets a little older you can start to use more minimalist, front-mounted designs, such as the Kids Ride Shotgun seat.
Are your kids ready to ride under their own steam? A trailer bike or tag-a-long attaches to mom or dad's bike and allows them to be pulled along by grown-up legs and without being able to veer off into traffic.
For all of the above, we’d recommend giving your friendly, neighborhood Marin dealer a call and they can recommend some options that are perfect for the school run.
Check out the Marin Youth and Kids Bikes Range for a whole load of kick-ass kid's bikes that your children will love.
Take Your Time, Make It Fun
Marin bikes are Made For Fun and we think that's extra important when cycling with kids.
Kids care a lot more about cool things than meetings and deadlines. A cold and windy ride will be way more fun for them if it goes via the lake, stops to see the construction site, feed the ducks or they’re allowed to help choose the route.
Fun routes can often also mean safe routes - going via the park will often mean riding away from traffic which many parents prefer when cycling with their children.
Whether you're cycling to school or the park, you'll want to spend some time researching kid-friendly cycle routes in your area before you start your new daily habit.
Just remember that all of this takes time. Putting on clothes, last-minute bathroom trips, detours via the swings. There are loads of ways that children can derail your schedule, and it’s much less stressful if you build some slack into your schedule. If you’re not on a tight deadline you can take full advantage of this.
Take your time, make it fun, and keep your cool. Cycling with children should be fun.
Our guide to taking your kid mountain biking is packed with tips on how to make riding fun with kids.
Cycling Cycling Helmets and Clothing
If you’re carrying a kid on your bike, chances are you’ll be working harder than them, so in bad weather, it’s easy to forget that they might be getting cold.
Small bodies lose heat quicker and a lot of kids’ outdoor gear is less effective than the stuff available for adults. So make sure they’re overdressed rather than undressed, with plenty of layers.
Kids don’t always see the point in wearing things like children's cycling gloves, so you might have to think laterally. Bar mitts or pogies can be much less hassle than trying to wrangle tiny little fingers into tiny little gloves. You can even get special ponchos that wrap all the way around a child seat and its passenger.
And, of course, don't forget a bike helmet for your young child. There are some great options available these days that your kids will absolutely love. Dinosaur helmet anyone?!
Ebikes For Riding With Kids
Unless you’re a really strong rider, chances are you’ll notice the extra weight of a child and a seat, and like it or not kids only get bigger. All that weight can be a real drag at the end of a long day at work.
Investing in an ebike can make things much easier, and means no hassle getting up the hills, fully loaded. And, it'll mean you can keep carrying the kids for longer as they get older and heavier.
In an urban area, ebike journey times become competitive with motor vehicles, or even beat them, especially when you factor in the time for things like finding a parking space.
Some riders also feel safer in traffic on an e-bike, because they’re able to set off quickly and keep up with other vehicles.
The Marin Stinson E is the perfect eBike for daily cycle trips, taking the much-loved features of the 'standard' Stinson and adding a powerful 250W rear hub motor. It has plenty of capacity for hauling gear and can easily accommodate a children's cycle trailer and a bike seat or two when you need to load up the little ones.
A Little Trial And Error
There’s no such thing as “one size fits all” and that’s definitely the case when cycling with kids.
From different ways of carrying them, to the sort of cycling environment they’re happy to navigate, all families and kids are different. Just be sure that whatever bike seats, trailers or bags you need to carry fit your ebike before you press 'purchase'.
So be prepared for some trial and error, don’t be put off if things don’t work as you hope, and celebrate the wins.
Riding with your children can be a great way to boost your fitness or sow the seeds of a lifelong cycling habit, and that's definitely worth the effort.
Need a bike for every day cycle journeys with kids? Almost all of Marin's Fitness, Transit and Urban bikes are perfect for daily trips by bike, with kids. The Marin Kentfield is a perfect example that will easily accommodate kid's bike seats, trailers and all of their must-have gear.
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