How To Start Cycling With Young Kids
Just because you had kids doesn’t mean you’ll never get to do the things you love to do again. It doesn’t have to be all cartoons and playground dates from here on out. You loved to bike before, and you will ride again, partner.
Sooner than you think, even. You can bring kids on your biking excursions as soon as a few months after they’re born. Before your little ones can even pedal, they’ll be exploring the open road with you. Here are some tips for biking with kids:
Ride with Your Kids Before They Can Pedal
Your child shouldn’t sit in a child’s bike seat right away. That’s because, for the first year of their life, a baby doesn’t have the neck strength to support a helmet. Their head may also jostle around too much when they’re a newborn. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not putting a baby into a seat until they are 12 months old.
However, as your baby’s first birthday approaches – you can start planning your family cycling trips! You have a few options. You can attach a baby bike seat to your car, or start by biking with baby carrier in tow. Carriers are pulled behind you and your child can lay down.
Transition to a Balance Bike
Once they’re starting to walk, your toddler can transition to a balance bike. These bikes don’t have pedals. Rather than needing to balance themselves via pedaling, your little one can keep her feet firmly planted on the ground while they are seated on the bike. Kids can walk themselves forward on the bike and steer using handlebars. Balance bikes are a wonderful first step to teaching young kids how to cycle for real one day.
Graduate to Training Wheels
By the time your toddler has reached pre-school age (about 3-4), they’re ready for a kids’ bike with training wheels. Training wheels require a flat surface for learning – they’re not great on rocky terrain. Still, kids riding bikes with training wheels can travel to your neighborhood park or around the block. You’re ready to start granting your young rider some independence!
When They Learn to Ride Alone
Knowing when your child is ready to ride alone isn’t an exact science. If they’re doing well with training wheels and express excitement about riding like a grown-up, kids as young as 5 years old might be ready for the training wheels to come off.
Take your child’s bike to a flat surface (you may want to equip them with knee and elbow pads for the first few rides). Hold onto your child under their armpits while they pedal and steer the handlebars on their own. Teach them how to brake and slowly lean one leg to the ground. After a few runs with you holding on, your little cyclist will be ready to go a few yards alone and grow their skills from there.
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