Cycling is one of the UK's most popular outdoor sports, offering us the chance to explore the great outdoors while getting in that all-important exercise. Whether you live in the city or the countryside, there are plenty of scenic bike rides to choose from. Cycling boasts many benefits including increased fitness levels and a reduction in stress. If you have children, then cycling with the family can be even more rewarding. Whether you each have your own bikes or ride in tandem, family bike rides can provide additional bonding time whilst keeping the kids happy and healthy. If you want to find out more about the benefits of cycling with your family, this extensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know. We’ve also included some additional provisions that you may need to consider under the latest COVID-19 lockdown guidance.
What are the benefits of cycling with the family?
While cycling is a great way to improve your fitness levels, cycling with the family offers even more benefits. This form of exercise is a great way to spend some quality family time. You could cycle to a park or take a bike ride along the river, or venture further afield to explore a new destination. Cycling while on holiday is another great way to keep the kids entertained. If you have teenagers and want them to have less screen time, get them out and on their bikes instead. Cycling is also proven to reduce stress for the whole family, creating a mindful experience and providing plenty of fresh air. Cycling also increases a child's concentration levels at school and enables them to become familiar with their local area. Cycling to the shops instead of jumping in the car is also a fantastic way to reduce your household's carbon footprint, teaching you children about sustainable ways of living.
Family cycling vs. solo bike riding
While solo bike riding is ideal for those looking to improve their skill and speed, family bike rides offer a chance to spend quality time with your loved ones. If you are training for a particular sporting event, then solo riding is arguably the best option. This way, you can put in your headphones and push yourself a little further each time. If, however, your intention is to get outside and explore the surrounding area, family biking is a far more enjoyable option. This way you can connect with the kids, making new discoveries and sharing stories along the way. Family cycling can be far more rewarding than solo cycling as you will be able to help your family improve their cycling skills and take them on fun adventures.
Getting out on the bike is a great activity for all the family
What equipment will you need for group-riding?
Whether you are riding solo or with your family, the same safety equipment will always apply. You should always ensure that every member of your group is wearing a helmet. If your children are just starting out, then they should also wear knee and elbow pads for better protection. Long sleeves and trousers, or, leggings are also a good option when it comes to cycling wear.
When it comes to choosing bikes for your family, there are lots of options. If you are cycling with a baby aged up to two years, you may want to consider a bike seat or a baby trailer. For toddlers who are just learning how to ride, a training bike is the best option. If you want to keep everyone together, or your children haven't quite built up enough confidence yet, then a tandem is a great way to bond and learn together. Towing is also another option for little ones who are still learning, with trailbikes and tag alongs. Confident riders age six years and up may prefer their own bike to give them a little more freedom.
How to cycle safely during the COVID-19 lockdown
While the COVID-19 lockdown is proving challenging for everyone, there are still a few things we can do to boost our morale and keep our children active. Cycling is still permitted during the lockdown, as long as you follow safety guidelines set by the government. You’re allowed to undertake one form of exercise a day, which includes running, walking, or cycling. You are allowed to cycle with your family during the lockdown as long as they are living with you in your current household.
The main things to remember when cycling with your family during lockdown, is to ensure that you keep a two-metre distance between your family and other passers-by. Explain this to the kids before leaving your house to ensure an enjoyable and stress-free bike ride. Bring along some tissues and sanitiser for the kids and always cough or sneeze into your elbow when cycling. Do not take your family outdoors if any of you have been suffering from symptoms during the last seven days. Although there are no particular rules on where you are allowed to go, it is best to keep local and avoid public parks where possible.
If you’re still unsure with what you can and can’t do, or you’d just like to keep up to date with the latest government advice, you can find out more on the COVID-19 related restrictions on the gov.uk website.