Islabikes guide to cycling in Glasgow

Top tips for family cycling

Going for a family bike ride with your children can be a real pleasure – and planning it well could make all the difference between success and disappointment. If you’re keen to encourage your children to take up cycling, making their early cycling experiences enjoyable is a good start. If they enjoy it, they’ll want to do more and will gain confidence with every revolution of the pedals.

Bike and accessories

The bike your child uses on the ride will make a big difference to their enjoyment level. A lightweight, high quality, correctly fitted bike is key. Check that the saddle is adjusted to the correct position so the balls of their feet can reach the floor.

As well as having the perfect bike it is important to consider accessories that will enhance the riding experience. For longer rides a drinks bottle and bottle cage are a good idea to ensure your child can stay hydrated on route. Other useful accessories can include panniers, luggage rack and mudguards.

A well fitted helmet is essential when riding a bike. Check the helmet fits securely and comfortably before every ride.

For a full list of accessories see the accessories page.

Plan a route

Check the web or local tourist info for exciting routes nearby and consider the age and ability of every family member. Choose a flat route, perhaps using disused railway lines or, where wide enough, canal/river paths. Note: if any of your children are not yet confident, a disused railway path or your local park might be the best option. Don’t make the route too long – you can build up your family cycling distances over a period of time. Too many hills along the way are probably not a good idea either. After all, you want your children to enjoy themselves! Where possible try to make the ride more fun by making the destination really enticing. Cycle to a play park, go for a picnic or visit a local attraction that all will enjoy – if the latter, it’s worth checking if there’s somewhere secure to park your bikes.

For inspirational locations see our guide on great places for family cycling.

Prep, prep, prep

The key to a successful family cycle ride is preparation. You need to consider drinks, food, the ever- changing weather and anything else you might need. How about involving the children in preparing for the ride and making the picnic?

Please see our guide on perfect family picnic.

Check the bike thoroughly before the trip to ensure it’s safe to use. It’s good practice to inspect all the components and tyres before setting off.

What to wear

Suitable clothes for the changing weather are a must, along with sun cream and helmet. Normal clothing will do fine for most rides, although leggings or tracksuit trousers are preferable to jeans – especially if the weather is damp – and sturdy shoes are better than soft-soled ones. Cycling mitts or gloves will make small hands more comfortable. Easily removable layers are another must – temperature control is vital to happy cycling. Too many and you’ll get too hot and sweaty but too few and children will easily get cold and tired.

For more information on cycling in the sunshine see our useful guide.

Regular rest and drink stops

Listen to the children. Be prepared for plenty of stops – you get to see so much more on a bike than in the car so enjoy your surroundings. It’s really better to travel than arrive in many cases! Take plenty of snacks and particularly drinks – cycling is thirsty work.

Above all, enjoy yourselves and you’ll want to keep cycling!

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