Winter is not just a season; it is a harbinger of huge changes in lifestyle. Every little habit of yours needs to be adjusted, like cycling. Cycling is fun, but cycling in winter season is vastly different from doing that in the summer. This problem worsens when you have kids along too. So, to help you out, here is your guide to winter biking with kids.
Why you should not abandon cycling
Sure, we have established that cycling is tough in winters. That is why we have written this guide to winter biking with kids for you. Well, for starters, cycling is an excellent excuse to bring you out of your home. Kids are especially bored while sitting in the home all day long, what with the winter vacations and the parks being laden with snow, so a bit of cycling will help them get some fresh air. Also, cycling is an excellent exercise and increases your body temperature, which is quite beneficial in winters. And not to mention, the fun your kids would have while riding on roads decorated with alluring snow.
What should you do?
Cycling is fun, but in such conditions, it could also be dangerous. Hence, it is quite important that you do the following in order to have an enjoyable experience:
- To start with, find the right clothes. The chill outside could be enough to send your kid to the hospital, so it is necessary that they are warm enough. Insulation is not the only issue; you must also make sure that they are protected against the wind. Every part of the body must be kept warm, including ears, hands and face. There is a large array of clothing that will help you- earplugs, mufflers, gloves, socks, jackets, warm mittens, boots and a lot of other stuff.
- Any possible guide to winter biking with kids will tell you that it is vital for the roads to be clear enough for cycling. Even if the roads are not snow-covered, make sure they are not laced with salt and ice crystals, because they are an invitation to accidents. If the cycling lane is covered with snow and your kid has to take the main lane, make sure you accompany him closely. It takes one careless driver to make an accident, so you have to be cautious.
- You need to make sure that your kid’s bike has proper visibility. This can be easily achieved by using front and rear headlights. Red would be the color of choice, as they provide maximum visibility. Also, your kid’s ears might be covered well enough to dampen sounds of vehicles, so make sure his eyes are protected for providing visibility of the surroundings.
- Start with shorter routes. The first time your kid brings the bike out in winters, he has no idea how cold it can get. So, it is better to have a smaller route from where you both could return easily if he feels he is not up to it. Talking about routes, it is also better to go for regular routes instead of the proverbial “road less traveled”. Since visibility is low and snow almost makes roads indistinguishable, it is better to follow routes you know by heart.
- Don’t go overboard with the clothing. While it is necessary to be warm enough, too much warmth will only cause trouble for your kid. The reason being, cycling is a physically extensive job, hence the more you ride, the warmer you get. So the word of advice would be to be slightly cold when your kid starts the journey. He will probably be warm enough in 5mins.
- Bring a warm drink. It doesn’t matter how cold it is, warm drink always helps in winter by providing additional warmth other than that from the clothes and the body itself. In fact, a warm drink is a perfect alternative if you don’t want to burden your child with too many clothes.
- Stay vigilant. Your kids might be having a great time, but such luxuries are not for you, not in this weather. Keep your eyes focused on the road, while also looking out for any approaching vehicles. Make sure your kid is riding nearer to the pavement than the main road.
What not to do
While there are things that you must do, there are also things you must definitely avoid. Some of them are:
- Don’t take safety lightly. Accidents in winters always hurt more, so make sure your child doesn’t have to feel that pain. In addition to the warm clothes, include all the safety gadgets like knee-guards and helmets. Clear glass or ski goggles are excellent for protecting your child’s eyes from harm.
- Don’t forget to teach your kids to drive straight. Even though they are not visible, salt and snow crystals might still be present on the road, decreasing the friction. In such a case, it is very easy to slide and fall during turns or unnecessary bending of the bike. Make sure your child knows that and avoids doing it.
- Don’t take your child out if he has only recently learned to ride a bike. Winter biking requires much more skills compared to summers and a small accident can hamper a kid’s confidence, so it is the best idea of preventing your child from riding on his own during this season. You can make them sit on the back and take them on a ride if needed.
- Don’t take the bike for granted. You might be able to adjust with an “okayish” bike, but don’t take that risk with your kids. Regularly oil the brakes, check the batteries of the headlights and keep the tires in shape (probably the most important bit).
Winters might be troublesome, but they can be truly beautiful too. We wrote this guide to winter biking with kids in hopes that you will find it useful in enjoying with your kids. Just a few precautions, few gadgets and you and the kids are ready to have some awesome time together.