bikesafety

Like many other parents with small children, you may not be riding as much as you would like to.
Here are some hints for increasing your riding time, while introducing your kids to the joy of cycling.

TANDEMS
For older kids, a tandem with a child conversion kit is the way to go.
For the price conscious another choice is an attachable bicycle, which turns your bike into a tandem.
These products are engineered for the child that’s too big for a bike carrier and not yet ready for a bicycle.
There are a number of companies that make reliable, well crafted and innovative products that convert an ordinary bike into a Parent Child Tandem.

TRAILERS
For young children trailers and child carriers are to best options.
Bicycle balance is not greatly impacted by a trailer, which might make it the best choice for the casual cyclist.
Trailers are very stable. This is important, since safety is the first consideration when cycling with young children.
If you don’t have the best balance in the world, a trailer may be the best solution.

Many trailers can hold two children.
You can also carry toys, food, books, the family dog or packages from the store.
One disadvantage of trailers is the rough ride.
Depending upon the quality of the trailer, a child could get bumped around a lot; this is definitely a place where you get what you pay for.

As with all rules, the exceptions go with the innovators.
The Allen and the InStep trailers are quite impressive.
They are lightweight, feature rich, easily foldable, highly stable and priced competitively.

CARRIERS
Child carriers (child seats) are less expensive than trailers and come in several varieties.
Most attach to a rear rack.
If you have a mountain bike or touring bike with eyelets, you should have no trouble putting a rack on the back of the bike.
Some models recline, which may be an advantage for younger children, who might fall asleep or have trouble holding their head up for a long time.
There are even models that put the child in front of the adult, but you might consider the safety implications of this setup.

In our opinion, the best child carriers are produced by Kettler, a German sporting goods and toy company.
Their products are a reflection of German engineering excellence; and are built to the most exacting European standards.
They attach easily to any bike, and have many neat features built-in.
The Italian Company Bellini offers a quality collection of Child Carriers that are easier on the pocket book.

HELMETS
I can’t tell you how often I see children with no helmets or children with helmets but parents without helmets.
I can’t help myself, I yell at them as I ride by imploring them to get helmets!
Your child is not protected in a carrier or a trailer without a helmet!
And you need to set a good example by wearing one.
Plus, if you get hurt, who is going to care for your child?

Children need to be able to hold their heads up while wearing a helmet.
Therefore, it is not a good idea to put a child under age one on a bike – use your best judgment to determine when your child is ready.

Today there is a wide selection of Children’s helmets that will excite your child’s imagination and meet the stringent federal requirements established by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Being physically ready to get on a bike is only the first step.
Before your first joint ride, help your child get used to wearing a helmet and being strapped into a seat.
Buy your child a helmet, weeks before your first joint ride. Start with short rides.
Make it fun. Ride on quiet roads or bike paths.
If you put in the effort, you will both have wonderful life long memories of cycling together.
And as they grow-up, you just may have a shared athletic passion.

© (Descriptions/not image) Bike Highway; Uncle Barn’s Cue Sheet Exchange LLC, 2014 and prior year