Cycling with Children
Going out for a bike ride is fast becoming one of the nation’s favourite pastimes. A family ride can be fun, rewarding and interesting.
The benefits of cycling are the same for all the family such as being outdoors, getting exercise etc – however for children the benefits can stretch to increasing confidence and independence as well as establishing good travel habits that will last into adulthood.
Lancaster District has a great network of family friendly routes for you to enjoy: Pick up a copy of Cycling for All – a handy guide which lists 6 illustrated routes that are suitable for all.
Free of charge you can pick up a copy from public buildings such as Tourist Information Centres, council offices and libraries or download from our maps page.
Click here to read a selection of local family favourite routes.
NEW Family Cycling in the Lancaster District
This leaflet aims to show families how a bike ride together can be fun, rewarding, interesting and best of all its free.
‘Family Cycling in the Lancaster District is full of top tips and information to get your family on the move.
There is advice on what equipment you will need, routes to try and where you can receive training to improve your skills, fix your bike and build your confidence on the roads.
If that isnt enough to inspire you to get on the cycle track, there is encouragement from others who have been there and done it.
Download your copy here (pdf)
Advice from Local Parents
Got a question? If you want advice on equipment, routes or anything cycling/family related please email us firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll try to answer your question.
Sue Holden and Dave Horton:
Sue and Dave explore the options for transporting multiple children by bike and on a budget.
Heres the challenge. Your eldest child is starting school, and a younger sibling needs to travel with you too. You want to go by bike but dont have the cash or storage space to contemplate snazzy solutions such as a Christiana trike or a triplet.
How can you turn your existing bike into a school run workhorse? This article shows how four families with young children at Dallas Road School in Lancaster have tackled the problem. It also tests one new piece of equipment, the FollowMe. Read their Velovision article here(pdf)
The first thing I would say is it has been great to get out on the bike with the children and would encourage all who are unsure to give it a go.
As the parent of two boys under 5 we decide to get a double trailer and purchased an additional attachment so we could attach the trailer to both my and my wife’s bike therefore avoiding the problem of having to fiddle about with changing it over.
We decided on a trailer rather than a seat was because it is more stable as the weight of the child is lower to the ground and does not affect the balance of the bike. Also most trailers provide additional protection – the one we purchased has a full ‘roll cage’ so should the worst happen and the trailer was to over turn the children would be ok. In addition both children have a lap belt and an over the head & between leg attachment points (total 5 point harness for each child).
In addition the trailer has additional space for carrying stuff such as the swimming kit for a journey to the pool – enough room for 4 towels etc. Also the children can easily sit and read, eat or drink in the trailer. And finally in inclement weather the waterproof cover makes for a snug ride with a blanket to keep extra warm – try doing that on a seat.
However there is the advantage with a seat that the child is higher up and may be able to see better (to the side only). Storage can be a problem as the trailer does take up more room that a seat but we managed to take it on a flight to Cologne with all the wheels etc inside the collapsed product – it was very nice to get around for a week without needing to hire a car.
If you are willing to pay the extra you can also purchase a trailer which will adapt to become a 3 wheel pushchair which my partner has used extensively with the children. More information atwww.chariotcarriers.com/
Your local bike shop should be able to advise you on the range of goods out there and what might be best suited for your needs. They may not always have things like trailers in stock but they will be happy to order them in and most will help with fitting.
The trailer and tag-a-long market is a fast growing one, as more and more families decide that they want to get out and about by bike regardless of the age of their children.
Tag-a-longs (or trailer bikes) generally attaches to the seat pillar of an adult bike so that an older child can be towed. The bike effectively consists of the rear portion of a normal childs cycle but without a front wheel or any steering mechanism.The child may pedal or freewheel independently of the towing adult. The trailer bike hinges at the fixing position so as not to impede the normal handling of the adult bike.
Some models also have brakes or gears for the child. Tandem versions are often available which enable 2 children to be towed.
Read about the Mills Family’s favourite cycle ridehere
Trailers are generally 1 or 2 seaters, allowing you to carry either 1 large child or 2 smaller children. Restraining harnesses are provided so the children are strapped in comfortably.Some trailers may also provide space for a small amount of luggage. The trailer attaches to the towing bike by means of a secure fastener which couples to the back of the bike frame.
General construction is from steel or alloy tubing with a fabric body. Windows are provided so the children can see out and some windows will have roll up screens with a mesh behind for hot days.
Most trailers fold almost flat, quickly and easily without the need for tools, for easy storage and transporting.
Read about the Shipton’s favourite cycle ridehere
Sunshine Cycles in Morecambe (opposite the Midland Hotel) have a range of bikes to hire including bike seats, trailers and tag-a-longs. All at reasonable rates. Call them on 01524 414709 www.sunshinecyclehire.co.uk
For useful information on cyling with your children readCycling with Children(pdf) – one of a range of 8 leaflets produced by Sustrans to encourage cycling. (Click hereto view full list).
Two Wheels – Josie Dew – The Guardian 4 Sept 2008
"Why don’t more parents cycle with their babies or toddlers on the back of their bikes? I live in the overpopulated south of England and although I ride for two or three hours a day with my two-year-old daughter Molly strapped to her seat on my rear rack, months go by without me passing anyone else with a similar load.
Were I in the Netherlands or Germany or Denmark I would be one of thousands sweeping along on two wheels with accompanying offspring. No one would bat an eyelid. But here I am treated like a rare species – the cause of much head-turning, pointing and smirking….." Read the rest of the article
Isla Rowntree has introduced a range of children’s bikes after watching young cyclists struggle with heavy, ill fitting machines. Perfectly proportioned, lightweight and extremely versatile an Islabike will make any child a better cyclist.
The children and cycling category has lots of information on encouraging you children to cycle, seats and trailers and cycling fun for the family.
A useful section on cycling with children including info on baby seats, trailers, tag-a-longs etc.
Unfortunately the site is only avilable in Danish at present but an English version should be up and running soon. For an interesting article about the Danish cargo bikes follow the link below.