Guide to Bike Touring with Children
Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure with your little ones? Bike touring with kids offers a unique opportunity to bond with your family, explore new destinations, and create memories that will last a lifetime. It might sound stressful at first, but bike touring with kids is an incredibly worthwhile experience that can be enjoyed by families of all ages and experience levels.
This blog will serve as your helpful guide to bike touring with kids. We'll cover everything from choosing the right bikes and gear to planning your route and packing essential items. We'll also share tips and tricks for keeping your kids entertained and engaged throughout your journey.
What is Bike Touring?
Bike touring usually refers to a self-contained cycling trip that involves carrying your own gear and provisions, allowing you to explore new destinations and surroundings at your own pace.
It's an adventure that combines the thrill of cycling with the freedom and flexibility of independent travel.
Whether you're a seasoned cyclist seeking challenging off-road trails or a leisurely rider looking for scenic coastal paths, bike touring is great fun. It’s also something that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Why go Bike Touring with Kids?
There are countless reasons why bike touring is an ideal family adventure. It's a great way to get the family outdoors together and have some exercise.
Bike touring also allows you to travel at your own pace. It’s also an environmentally and budget-friendly way to have a nice family holiday.
What age can kids go bike touring
This will depend on how far you plan on riding, and if your children will be riding independently. If your children are very young you can of course take them in a bike trailer with you.
It's crucial to take into account the unique requirements of young children. Think about regular toilet breaks, keeping them entertained, and their sleeping arrangements. Also bear in mind the extra weight you will be peddling, including their clothing.
Children can generally start bike touring independently around 6 or 7, depending on their abilities and comfort with cycling. It's essential to consider factors such as distance, terrain, and the child's enthusiasm. For a first trip, it’s best to take short manageable routes.
Getting the right bikes for your kids
At Bike Club, we understand the joys and challenges of bike touring with kids. That's why we offer a wide selection of kids' bikes on a subscription basis, making it easy and affordable to get your family started on this exciting adventure
Our bikes are designed to be lightweight, durable, and comfortable for young riders, ensuring that your little ones can enjoy the ride as much as you do.
Depending on the routes you plan to ride, we have great bikes for you and your children. These include our sturdy hybrid bikes, and mountain bikes for trickier off-road trails. You can see out MTB size guide for more help.
Our mountain bike selection includes:
Woom Off Series: The adrenaline-pumping Woom Off Series, is designed to test kids skills and push their limits on the most challenging terrain. These lightweight and agile bikes are equipped with Schwalbe Rocket Ron grippy tyres for superior traction and control, as well as hydraulic disc brakes for confident stopping power.
Cube Acid Series: Your child can conquer any trail with confidence on the versatile Cube Acid bike. These bikes offer an excellent, making them an ideal choice for both beginners and experienced young riders. The Cube Acid Series features suspension forks to absorb bumps and imperfections on the trail, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride.
Forme Black Rocks Series: The Forme Black Rocks Series features suspension forks with ample travel to absorb even the most challenging terrain, allowing you to tackle any obstacle with confidence. The hydraulic disc brakes provide exceptional stopping power, while the lightweight frame and high-quality components ensure a responsive and controlled ride. These bikes are also big enough for adults.
Bike Touring Routes in the UK
The UK is a haven for bike enthusiasts, offering a wide range of bike touring routes that cater to various skill levels.
Whether you're a seasoned cyclist seeking adventurous off-road trails or a leisurely rider looking for scenic coastal paths, the UK's vast network of cycling routes promises an unforgettable experience.
Resources for Finding Bike Touring Routes in the UK
Sustrans: Sustrans, a charity dedicated to promoting sustainable transport, maintains the UK's National Cycle Network, a comprehensive network of over 14,000 miles of traffic-free and signed routes. Their website offers an interactive map where you can search for routes by location, distance, and type, including dedicated cycle paths, shared paths, and quiet roads.
Cycling UK: Cycling UK, a membership organisation advocating for cyclists' rights, provides a wealth of information on bike touring, including route suggestions, tips for planning your trip, and details on bike-friendly accommodations and services. Their website features a comprehensive route finder tool that allows you to filter routes based on various criteria, such as length, difficulty, and type of terrain.
Ordnance Survey: Ordnance Survey, the national mapping agency of Great Britain, offers a series of detailed cycling maps that are essential for any bike touring adventure. Their maps provide clear route markings, elevation profiles, and points of interest, ensuring you have all the information you need to navigate the UK's cycling routes with confidence.
Komoot: Komoot simplifies route planning for bike touring, offering a vast library of curated routes, turn-by-turn navigation, and elevation profiles. Whether you're seeking coastal rides or mountain adventures, Komoot is your go-to tool.
Involve your kids in the planning
Bike touring with kids is a family adventure, so it's important to get everyone involved in the planning process.
This will help to ensure that everyone is excited about the trip and has a say in what they want to do. Let your kids help you choose the route, plan the activities, and pack their own bags.
Choose car-free routes
When bike touring with kids, it's important to choose routes that are as free of traffic as possible. This will make your trip safer and less stressful for all.
There are many great car-free routes available throughout the UK, you can use the resources above to find one that's a good fit for your family.
Start short and easy
Don't try to do too much too soon when bike touring with kids. Start with short, easy rides and gradually add miles as they get older and and can ride for longer periods.
This will help to prevent them from getting overwhelmed or discouraged. The last thing you want is grumpy children on a long bike ride. It's also important to listen to your kids and take breaks when they need them.
Goals and rewards
Set achievable goals for your bike tour and reward your kids for reaching them. This will help to keep them motivated and excited about the trip.
Some ideas for goals include riding a certain number of miles, conquering a challenging hill, or racing to the finish line!
Camp in the garden first
If you plan on camping, it's a good idea to try it out at home first before heading out on your bike tour. This will give you a chance to practice setting up your tent and sleeping in sleeping bags.
It will also help your kids get used to the idea of camping and make them more comfortable on the trip away from their beds and creature comforts.
Questions we get asked frequently about Bike Touring:
What is the best age to start bike touring with kids?
There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on the individual child's development and maturity level. However, we recommend that children are at least 6 years old before embarking on a bike tour if they are going to ride independently. By this age, they will have the physical stamina and mental focus to handle the demands of cycling for extended periods.
How far can kids bike in a day?
The distance that kids can bike in a day depends on their age, fitness level, and experience. However, a good rule of thumb is to start with shorter distances and gradually increase them as they get older and stronger. For young children, 10-15 miles per day is a good starting point.
What gear do I need to go bike touring with kids?
The essential gear for bike touring with kids includes:
- Age-appropriate bikes: Choose bikes that are the right size and fit for your children. You can use our bike finder to help you.
- Bike helmets: Safety is paramount, so ensure everyone wears a well-fitting helmet.
- Bike trailers or carrier seats: These are essential for transporting young children who cannot yet ride independently.
- Sleeping bags and tents: If you plan to camp, you will need sleeping bags and tents that are lightweight and easy to pack.
- Clothing: Pack plenty of comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing, including rain gear and warm layers.
- Food and water: Pack enough food and water to last for the entire trip.
- First-aid kit: Be prepared for any minor injuries with a well-stocked first-aid kit.
With careful planning and preparation, bike touring with kids can be a rewarding and unforgettable experience for the whole family.