Taking your kids out cycling is a great thing to do. It allows lovely happy family times, space out in nature, and encourages independence and new skills in your children. But, where to cycle with kids, now that you’ve got them bitten by the cycling bug? Let’s delve deeper into this question together!
Where To Cycle With Kids?
The great news is that there are countless places you can ride with your kids, to get them to enjoy the outdoors and the freedom of cycling, in a safe environment.
Cycle paths are your best bet, as these will be safe and enclosed, and are specially designed for bike riders, and should be good terrain even for small children.
Woods and forests are another great option, as they are also usually enclosed and safe, and may have soft paths running through them.
The National Trust have some great places that you can cycle with your kids – and these often have the added bonus of having a cafe somewhere on the trip so you can stop for coffee and a cake!
The Forestry Commission, similar to the National Trust, have a great many places where you can ride with your kids in a safe and fun environment.
Quiet residential areas are also a fairly good bet; just make sure that you pick times when there are the fewest cars around, and never let your child out unaccompanied.
Especially if your kids are young and not great and not falling off, you should ensure that you pick a softer trail, to try to avoid the inevitable gravel rash!
At What Age Should A Child Ride A Bike On The Road?
Let’s face it, traffic these days is a nightmare, right? So if you want to let your children cycle on the roads, you will need to exercise the most caution.
There is no legal age at which kids can or can’t ride on the roads. However, because it can be so dangerous and kids are so unpredictable, you probably want to leave it as long as possible.
In general, kids under 10 should ride on the pavements, to prevent accidents. However, even this comes with dangers!
If your child is still learning they will benefit most from riding in areas where no cars go, to ensure they stay as safe as they can and that they get the most out of their cycling experience.
What Can Kids Do On A Bike Ride?
Along with the fun of actually riding a bike, enjoying the freedom and independence this brings, and the family time that a bike ride can offer, there is more to recommend cycling to kids.
- Plan a fun end destination. Cycling to their favourite cafe, or a park, can add a huge amount of appeal to a bike ride.
- Jump over obstacles. If you are cycling through a forest there will likely be a lot of fallen branches and other natural obstacles – enjoy the natural skate park!
- Bring a friend. If your child has a bestie, bringing them on the cycle ride can add a whole new dimension.
- Splash through puddles. Even in the winter, you can still have fun! Find the biggest puddles you can and ride through them (just make sure you pack spare clothes!)
- Look out for wildlife. Make a list of birds, bugs and animals you want to spot before you leave, and get your kids to tick them off as you go.
- Pack a picnic. Turning the cycle ride into a proper adventure, with picnic food to eat halfway round, will not only make it more fun but also ensure that your kids don’t run out of steam.
- Take a break. Little ones can get tired quickly, so making sure you stop every now and then is important.
How Can I Get My 4 Year Old To Ride A Bike?
As long as your child is willing to learn, you should be able to get your 4 year old to learn how to ride a bike fairly quickly.
Start by getting your child used to a balance bike, or a bike with stabilisers. This will help them learn to balance whilst sitting – an essential skill for biking.
- Lower the seat of the bike, and remove the pedals so it mimics a balance bike. Teach them to scoot along the ground with both feet.
- Replace one of the pedals, and encourage your child to scoot along with one foot, the other one on the pedal.
- Replace the other pedal, and get your child to practise with the brakes so they know they are safe.
- Holding your child by the back or the shoulder, get them to place their feet on the pedals and push with alternate feet.
- Making sure they are looking up and focusing, hold them whilst they pedal forward, then slowly release your grip after a few metres.
- Stop for a breather, then repeat the process.
- This time, hold your child’s clothes rather than their body, and hold the handlebars with the other hand.
- Release your grip and get the child to stop after 5-10 metres. Heap on the praise – they’re getting there!
- Continue this process, holding the child for shorter and shorter amounts of time, until they are happily riding away all on their own.
- Remember that everyone is different, and if you are keen but your 4 year old is not, you really shouldn’t push it.
This super cute little Youtuber is here to show you how easy it is for a 4 year old to learn to ride a bike:
Cycling with kids is great fun. It may even be more fun for you, as you will have to pick safe trails, that generally go through pretty nature and countryside.
Where to cycle with kids should be first on your list of things to find out on a lovely sunny day, and now you know how, you can enjoy it with the best of them!