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Essential Gear for Family Biking

Here in Southern California, families love to enjoy the outdoors together all year long, and biking is one of the staples of outdoor family fun. However, there are many different factors that parents should know about when going on a family bike ride, especially when teaching a child to ride a bike for the first time.

Essential gear for family biking, especially for children just learning to ride, includes bikes, helmets, training wheels or a balancing bike, transportation gear, and of course, fun accessories. Beyond those, a sense of fun and adventure are key!

Now that the basic necessary gear has been defined, there are many other aspects of family cycling that should be reviewed. It’s important to discuss how to make sure a helmet fits a child, what fun accessories are available for bikes, how to select appropriate training wheels, and what other alternative pieces of gear can improve family cycling experiences.

Related: Teach Your Kids to Ride a Bike

family riding bikes in the countryside
Bike riding as a family is a fun way to get exercise!

How to Make Sure a Bike Helmet Fits a Child

The first and most important step when it comes to family cycling is making sure that any children have helmets. A child’s bike helmet needs to fit correctly to effectively protect them in the case of an accident. Luckily, it’s easy to determine if a bike helmet will fit your child properly.

The first thing you need to do is measure the circumference of the child’s head. Once this has been done it becomes easy to find the right helmet size. After that, it’s important to have the child try the helmet on. It should not shift when strapped on and should be tight, but not overly tight. A way to tell if it is strapped appropriately is to see if a child can open their mouth wide and still have the helmet snuggly in place. If that is possible, the helmet fits and is safe for a child to wear.

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Fun Accessories for Children’s Bikes

One of the most important things to remember when biking with children, especially young children, is that the goal is to help them have fun! This will help them develop a love for riding. One of the easiest ways to help children have fun on family bike rides is to give them accessories that add another level of fun to the exercise.

When I was a child, my first bike had streamers on the edges of the handlebars that would sparkle in the sunlight. It also had a basket in front of the handlebars. I loved these two sets of accessories because they allowed me to feel special. I also had the opportunity to put my toys, fun things that I found on the trail, snacks, or water in the basket.

Being able to use my bike, and the fun things attached, was a huge motivator to go biking and practice riding in my neighborhood. Bells are also fun additions to bikes. Many children enjoy noisemakers, and a bell can help parents be aware of where their children are when one or both parents are biking ahead of the children.

There are also many other accessories that are available for purchase. Some children might enjoy having designed knee pads, gloves, and helmets. Other fun options include tire lights, bike spoke covers, a bike light or horn, wheel spoke beads, pinwheels, and even fake exhaust pipes that make noise!

Parents who do not want to spend tons of money on an additional accessory can also just add stickers to a bike. The main places that parents can find fun bike accessories for children are online and in major stores that sell bikes.

How to Select Appropriate Training Wheels

Selecting appropriate training wheels is often an easy process. When buying a child’s bike, they usually have training wheels included, if not already installed, and come with the tools and instructions needed to install or remove them.

For those few bikes that do not have training wheels included, the best way to select training wheels is to find training wheels built for the size of the bike. Oftentimes, this is decided by the size of the bike.

Some people prefer that their child learns to ride on a balance bike. For those who want their child to learn how to balance on a bike before they learn how to ride it, they can simply remove the pedals on a normal child’s bike and let them ride it until they are comfortable enough to put the pedals back on.

Alternative Pieces of Gear for Family Cycling

Some families have different circumstances that require different pieces of gear. This can be especially true for families with young children or parents who want to travel long distances and take their children along. Some of these alternative equipment options include bike carriers and kids’ bike seats.

Bike Carriers

Bike carriers can be essential for getting multiple bikes to a single location. When talking to a bike expert, they explained that there are many different installation options and brands. Popular installation types include hitch installation and roof installation. Some of the popular brands are Tulle and Sportrack.

While speaking to him, he mentioned that his store offers bike carriers priced anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several hundred dollars. He personally owns a Tulle P250, which he loves and is about middle-of-the-road in price. The main thing to consider is how many bikes you’ll need the carrier to hold at any given time.

car on the highway with bikes on the back
You can even ride bikes when you’re away from home if you load them onto a bike carrier on the back of your car!

Kids’ Bike Seats

Kids’ bike seats come in a variety of sizes, styles, and costs. Seats can be bought for small toddlers that will allow them to ride safely strapped in on the back of an adult bicycle. There are also more traditional child bike seats that can be installed on the frame of an adult bike for larger children who are not yet able to ride a bike. Seats can range in price depending on the type of seat and the seat’s weight capacity.

With all of this information in mind, it becomes much easier to gather gear for children and families to ride bikes safely. It also becomes easier to plan out family bike trips. Family cycling can be one of the most enjoyable activities you can do during the spring and summer seasons, especially when people are prepared.

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