Bicycle Fun for the Whole Family
The sun is shining bright and summer is finally here. With it comes the chance to head out to the beach or to the pool; fill the weekends with fun activities that the whole family can enjoy together. There are tons of local events including festivals, museums and movies that make for great kid friendly fun. But it really is hard to beat a family bicycle ride.
Before heading out on the bike to explore local parks, trails or even your own neighborhood there are some important things to consider first.
After a long winter in the garage, your bicycles may not be completely ready to just head out on your family adventure. Here are 5 tips to make sure they are road ready to help prevent accidents along the way. This is for both adult and children's bikes.
- Check tires for cracks and proper air pressure (the correct air pressure will be posted on the side of the tires)
- Inspect the brakes
- Check the chain and make sure it’s oiled
- Inspect the handlebar grips and make sure they are in good working order
- Check the brakes
Once your maintenance is complete, you’ll want to make sure you have some important gear for your ride.
- Helmets: While bicycle helmet laws vary from state to state, parents and kids should always wear a helmet to protect themselves in case of an accidents. Helmets should be replaced that are more than 3 years old.
- Bike Seats: Bicycle seats can get worn out with time, so be sure to check that the springs of the seat are not too worn out. Check out Lumintrail’s selection of bicycle seats for a good replacement on adult bikes.
- Bicycle Locks: When going on a ride with the family beyond your neighborhood, it’s a good idea to bring along good locks. This allows for the possibility of stopping along your route for something to eat, to enjoy the sunset or for a potty break. Lumintrail has a variety of bicycle locks and security cables that could be the right solution for multiple bikes.
- Bicycle lights: When your rides may stretch into the evening, it is the law to have headlights and tail lights on your bike so drivers can see you on the road. This is especially important when you have little kids with you. Lumintrail has a variety of lighting options from the simple for short rides at night to the more powerful options for longer rides. Check out our selection of bicycle lights here.
How to Ride Safely with children
Tip #1: Let’s start the discussion with sidewalks. Sometimes riding on the sidewalk is legal and sometimes it’s not. For instance, in New York City and its boroughs it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk. For many states, children under 13 can ride on sidewalks but that can be confusing when you are a parent trying to keep your eye on your child. Does that mean your child is on the sidewalk while you are on the street?
You won’t find the answer to these questions in a state statute or DMV driver’s manual. You have to look at the municipal code for the city where you’re riding. See www.municode.com and if you can’t find it there, google the city.
The best advice we can give is to know the laws before you ride. Also try and seek out parks or trails that could be a safer option for you and your children so cars won’t be a concern.
Tip #2: When riding, it’s a good idea to have one adult for one child. This helps so that you can focus your attention on the child and be able to instruct him/her on how to negotiate obstacles as they arise.
Tip #3: Have you child go first and you follow behind. If there are multiple parents and kids, the line will rotate child in front, then an adult repeated by a child and then adult.
Tip #4: You may want to institute a no talking rule for the ride. Obviously you don’t have to be too strict but it’s important they keep their attention on the road in front of them and possible obstacles.
Tip #5: Remember that young children are not aware of the rules of the road that we as adults know from years of riding. Like obeying traffic lights and walking bikes across crosswalks when appropriate. As you continue to ride with your children, you can take opportunities to share with them the rules so they get comfortable with them. There might also be local events centered around bikes and kids that could help teach kids more about their bikes and how to be safe riding them. You can check out local bicycle organizations, bicycle shops or use google to find local events.
Have a great summer and don't forget your sunscreen!