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Cycling with Children

Cycling is the ideal way to spend time with your family, either as an organised family day out or as way of getting from A to B.

As well as being a good way of getting your child into the great outdoors, it also gives them a sense of independence and once they have mastered the art of cycling, they’ll have years of enjoyment ahead of them.

Taking your child with you

Children can be introduced to cycling at an early age through the use of bike seats and trailers that attach to adult bikes. The following gives an overview of the products available:

  • Rear bike seats – Six months to three years (approximately) with a maximum weight of around 20kg. These seats are ideal for short trips around town and most styles now have high backs to support a child’s posture.
  • Trailer – Six months to four or five years (approximately) with a maximum weight of around 30kg. These systems are very flexible and can sometimes double up as a buggy if the correct conversion kit is purchased.
  • Trailer bike – Four years to nine years (approximately) depending on size and weight of the child. This is a great way of getting your child involved at an early age and introduces them to some of the basic concepts of cycling.
  • Tandem – Some tandems allow children to pedal too, which is another great way of getting your child involved from an early age.

Learning to ride

When the time comes for your child to go it alone, try to buy a bike that is a suitable size for them. Purchasing a bike for your child to ‘grow into’ can set them back.

There are many different approaches that can be taken when teaching a child to ride a bike. Every child is different and should therefore be encouraged to develop at his or her own pace. Introduce the child to a Trike at an early age so they get used to the idea of movement. When they have mastered the trike, it is a good idea to move on to bike with no pedals so the child gets used to the idea of balance. Alternatively, a bike with stabilisers can be used.

Whatever method you use, take your child to an area that is large, open, fairly flat and has a surface that is firm and even.

Read the Sustrans guidance on cycle safety for children.

Bikeability Cycle Training

School children are now offered Bikeability cycle training during the academic year as this replaces the previous two-system approach including Bronze/Silver Cycle Proficiency and delivery of training via Cycle Experience.