Your kit list for a family bike ride
There's plenty of preparation involved before you can set off on a bike tour with the kids. And packing all the right gear is an important part of that prep. But what do you actually need on your outdoor adventures and what can be left at home?
As a general rule, the equipment you take with you depends on the length of your bike ride. You want to be carrying everything you need – but you don't want to end up feeling like a packhorse. We're here to help you get that balance just right! Keep reading for our list of the handy gear and woom accessories we recommend to make your bike rides extra fun. And find out how to keep the load as lightweight as possible.
1. Bike bag
Confident kids that have already turned into self-sufficient cruisers will usually embrace the idea of carrying their own bag packed with ride essentials. But we don't recommend stuffing snacks and spares into a huge rucksack for your child to wear on their back. This will soon become uncomfortable and make it harder for them to balance. They'll be using up so much extra energy that they'll get tired faster.
Consider frame bags as the least disruptive option because your child can carry their most important equipment (and treasures they find along the way) without adding any more weight to their back. Our multi-purpose AMIKO Bag gives your child enough space for all their ride essentials and comes with an additional strap with snap hooks so they can use it as a cool and comfy bumbag when you stop off at the park or pop into the shop for an ice-cream.
For rides when additional cargo is necessary, try to split the weight across the bike using various bags. Spread the weight evenly on the left and right-hand sides to maintain good balance and a smooth ride–there’s nothing worse than fighting gravity. When it comes to front–rear weight distribution, follow the golden rule of 60:40.
2. Bike bottle
Cycling is thirsty work! Children are always on the go and often forget to stay hydrated. That's why every little cyclist should make sure they have a bike bottle within arm's reach on their bike. Our GLUG Stainless Steel Bottle comes with its own bike bottle cage designed to make it super easy for your child to slide their bottle in from the side. This means your child is free to drink at their leisure – even when they've zoomed ahead and left the rest of the family behind.
It's important that you plan lots of little drink breaks rather than waiting until everyone is feeling thirsty. Just remember that children need more fluids than us adults.
Whether they're out exploring the great outdoors or cycling on a public road, your child needs a bell on their bike so they can quickly get the attention of other people around them. When mounting a bell, make sure it's within easy reach of your child's thumb without requiring them to lift their hand off the handlebars. Our melodic VIENNA Bell and loud BING Bell are easy for children to use and have a strong and clear tone to make sure that your child is heard.
Bike bells may not be required by law in the UK like they are in some other countries, but they are still highly recommended. If you need a bit more guidance on the other equipment your child will need when cycling on public roads, check out this video.
Sometimes you're having so much fun on a bike ride that you lose track of time. And sometimes the planned route simply takes more time than anticipated. Either way, the sun is starting to set. Visibility is now key – both to see and be seen.
Bike lights are not just a practical measure to make sure your child is visible to other road users – they are also mandatory in most countries. And yet many bikes are not fitted with lights as a standard feature – especially mountain bikes. Fortunately, our CYCLOPE Bike Lights step up to save the day. You don't need any tools to quickly add them to your child's bike and you can charge them up using the USB cable provided.
What counts as the right clothing depends on the time of year, the weather and the location (well, the altitude). Think about the fact that everyone has their own sense of temperature, so your child might not always be as warm or as cold as you. And remember that your child will feel warmer when they've been getting active on their bike.
- Weather forecast
Checking what the weather will be doing is just as important as checking your child's bike and checking the route before setting off on a bike ride. Don't bother packing clothes you know you won't need. Let's say the weather forecast is predicting a lovely sunny day... Your heavy rain gear can stay right where it is! Hooray! Now you can plan to stop off for a swim and make room for a swimming costume and a small towel each.
- Change of clothes
There's never any harm in packing a spare pair of cycling socks for your child. Puddles have something of an irresistible allure when you're young!
A spare T-shirt is a must too – given the risk of sunburn, your child should make sure they have a dry top to change into after a dip in the stream. Riding in a wet or sweat-drenched T-shirt is unpleasant and a sure-fire way of getting cold – especially during descents or when riding through shady woodland.
- Temperature test
If you're setting off in the morning, make sure you check the temperature quickly before you get any further than your front door. It can sometimes still be a bit fresh first thing in the spring, autumn and even summer. Throwing on a lightweight jacket, a tube scarf and non-slip gloves like our TENS Bike Gloves should do the job nicely. And there's bound to be room in a backpack or frame bag for those items later in the day. Of course, it doesn't matter if your child feels the cold a bit to start with. If they're wrapped up too warm, they'll be overheating before you know it.
If you're wondering what you can do to avoid colds on winter cycling adventures, check out the top tips from Dr Katrin Baumgartner in this blog post.
Let's get one thing straight: you're not trying to be a mobile bike workshop. But you should take a few tools with you just in case. A multi-tool, a mini pump and a puncture repair kit or spare tube should do the trick. We'd also recommend that you check the tyres a few days before your big adventure – or ask a mechanic to make sure your bikes are in tip-top condition.
Route choice and destination determine whether a bike lock is strictly necessary. Headed to an adventure playground, zoo or outdoor swimming pool? If so, a bike lock is vital so that you can leave your bikes locked up securely at the entrance. For visits to friends or family – places where your bikes can be safely stored in a garden or garage – you can sacrifice the additional weight of the bike lock and leave it at home.
8. Tissues, plasters, fully charged phone
Whatever you do, don't forget to pack some tissues or wipes just in case. It's worth putting together a mini first-aid kit complete with plasters and bandages so you're prepared for any stunts gone wrong. And you'll obviously want to have your phone handy. Just don't forget to charge it up before you leave! If you're well prepared, you'll even have the route loaded up so you don't end up getting lost.
Follow this handy little pack list and you'll be all set for your next family bike ride adventures. Enjoy!