By Jon DeMeo
I love trying to find ways to get my family outdoors and one way we do this is by riding bikes together. The tough part is our son can’t ride his own bike yet so we had to get a little creative. Below was the approach we took to get all of us on the road and together having fun and enjoying the outdoors!
Set the Budget
The process of getting us all on the road took a few months because we had to get good deals on our equipment and sometimes that meant buying used gear. I bought a ten year old Trek road bike from a friend who was upgrading but took great care of his bikes. For me, I wanted something that would give me the option of long distance riding and also already had foot holds on it so I was ready to ride! For my wife we bought a closeout sale model of a PureFix cycle that didn’t have any gears which my wife wanted. She wanted a straightforward bike that was simple and ready to go. We then bought a child bike trailer online used through a swap group. We were finally ready to ride! After moving we gave away our trailer and picked up a new one for sale called Allen Sports Premium 2-Child Bicycle Trailer and Jogger.
When biking as a family, each of us wears a helmet including our son inside the bike trailer. While this can seem a little overkill, you can’t ever be too safe when traveling on roads and sidewalks. We make it something fun the whole family does so our son feels included and is now excited to put his helmet on! We also have a flag that is placed on the backside of the trailer so cars around us can see him and ultimately us. One of us also tries to wear a bright color shirt to add more visibility to our bike group, and be sure all reflectors on your bike are in place and in full working condition.
Bring Plenty of Water
Bring water for every person involved and take “water breaks” every so often for each person to rehydrate. One great part about the bike trailers is that many of them have built in storage in the back so you can bring snacks and extra water if needed. Our bikes come equipped with water bottle holders right on the frame which makes it easy to access water on the go.
Drive the Route Before Riding
If you are planning on taking a new route, try driving it first. Be aware of bad roads, speed bumps, high traffic areas and/or blind turns. By driving the route first, this gives you the opportunity to make easy adjustments and it will keep everyone safe when you head out to bike. Many times it can be easier to bike on the road than on the sidewalk due to driveways. When on the road, use proper hand signals and remember to always drive with traffic.
Pick a Fun Destination (halfway point)
Our final destination before moving was an icee stand we would take a break at half way. This made the ride more enjoyable because each of us knew where we were heading but also knew there was a “prize” once we got there. Once at the destination, we could switch who was leading the group, make any adjustments that may need to be made, take a short break and then head home. When biking with a family, don’t try to exhaust yourself completely. Don’t rush, enjoy the ride, and have fun spending time together!
Anytime you head out, always do a full bike inspection, test your brakes and be sure tires are all inflated to their proper amounts. It is always best to ride during daylight hours and be sure to check the weather to avoid dangerous road conditions. Enjoy your time as a family biking to whatever destination you decide on!