Biking with children

Biking with children is a perfect way to combine an outing with exercise, learning and nature.

Photo: Mickael Tannus

If you are going to bike with small children, you have two choices: a children’s bicycle seat and a bike trailer. The NTF (The Swedish National Society for Road Safety) recommends a children’s bicycle seat, because children in a bike trailer are at the level of the wheels of passing cars where they are exposed to more exhaust fume and have greater difficulty telling the adult that something is wrong. It is safer for the child to sit in a bicycle seat in back rather than in front. In order to use a bicycle seat, the child must be able to sit on his or her own, and should preferably be at least nine months old.

·        If you are going to use a bike trailer, remember that there must be two independent braking systems and a reflector. A light is required if you are going to bike at night.

·        If the child can pedal a little, a trailer bike can be a good idea.

·        NTF recommends that children below the age of 12 years old should not ride a bicycle in traffic

·        Children below the age of 15 years old must wear a helmet when they bike, be given a ride on a bike, or ride in a bike trailer.

·        Keep checking the map, bike trail signs and road signs. It’s a good idea when biking through cities to bike into the centre of town and then out again, rather than bicycling around the city. The reason for this is that signs most often show the way to and from the centre of town.

·        Fill up on water when you pass a petrol station, a café or some other similar establishment, so you won’t suddenly find yourself without water.

·        Take advantages of the toilets you pass along the way, so you won’t have to do relieve yourself outdoors.

·        Protect yourself from the weather. Use an effective sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and make sure to get the salt you need.

·        Eat good meals before, during and after the trip so you’ll have the energy reserve you need.

·        Stop if you get tired. Schedule rest days if you’re on a long trip.