10th July 2017

5 Tips for Family Bike Rides | Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative

Family cycling tips

Or: How to keep your child happy on a cycling trip


1. Take a friend

A friend of your child’s, that is. It’s more of an adventure if your child has a chum riding along too. Let’s face it, most kids would rather be out with their mates. Your role is to buy the ice cream and to keep a watchful eye.

2. Don’t go too far

If the kids have a good time on a short ride, they’ll look forward to the next one. If you take them on a 10 mile slog in the rain, they could be put off bikes for life.

3. Check the route beforehand

Getting your kids lost doesn’t inspire confidence. Factor in bail-out shortcuts and loo breaks. Avoid very hilly routes, busy roads and difficult junctions. Pro tip: Download a Google map in advance in case your roaming technology fails you, or even grab one of these Sustrans cycle routes paper maps.

4. Make the day interesting

Small people have a short attention span. Plan refreshment breaks around exciting places such as the local troll bridge. If there are no obvious cafe stops en route, bring your own scran. Kids love picnics, camp fires and barbecues.

5. Check the bikes the day before

Not only your kids’ bikes, but your own too. Make sure your tyres are pumped up and ready (the correct pressure or PSI is written on the side of the tyre), that the brakes function, and that the gears change. If it’s been several months since the bikes have been used, they could almost definitely do with a chain clean and some fresh lube.

Bonus Tip: Let the slowest rider set the pace

This is usually the youngest rider. Enjoy it while it lasts; in a few years’ time, you’ll be struggling to keep up.

What some of the Bicycle Cooperative parents say…

kids cycling simon telford

Simon, our Newcastle shop manager, pictured with happy cyclists

Simon, Newcastle manager

“My top tip is bribery – chocolate, drinks, regular stops, singing, and good craic. Don’t forget inner tubes and waterproofs.”

Andrew, Edinburgh Bruntsfield manager

“Start with small distances with a reward at the end, like a ride to an ice cream shop. Take plenty of water, and if it’s cold don’t forget the buffs and gloves.

Yvonne, Ginger Squirrels leader

“Make sure you have a definite destination for them to head for, like the duck pond or the sweetie shop. It helps if you can offer a reward at either end of the trip, like a play park on the way out and an ice cream at the end of the return journey.”

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