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Embarking on your first family bike ride is an exciting opportunity to have a great day out. Planning such an adventure may seem overwhelming at first, but fear not! In our comprehensive guide to planning your first family bike ride, we'll walk you through every step.  

From choosing the right bikes for each family member to mapping out the perfect route, we'll cover all the crucial aspects. Along the way, we'll also share tips and answer some frequently asked questions.   

Choosing a Bike For Each Family Member  

Selecting the right bikes for each family member is the first step. If you have bikes that don’t fit properly then you’re in for a tough time.    

When sizing for a bike, we recommend going by inside leg measurement. To measure this, stand with your feet shoulder length apart, and measure from the floor to the groin.   

You can then input this measurement in our interactive bike finder or on our collection pages to browse relevant bikes.   

To help get a bike that fits your child perfectly, you can look at our handy kid's bike size chart.    

Bike Club offers affordable subscription-based kid's bikes and adult bikes, ensuring a perfect fit for everyone. We have hybrid bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, and more, for whatever adventure you have in mind.  

3 girls on bikes - bike club

Safety Equipment is Important  

Whenever you do any activity with your family, safety will always be at the front of your mind. Helmets are essential to reducing the risk of serious injuries, and it’s a good idea to lead by example. 

Additionally, consider reflective accessories such as vests and lights to enhance visibility, particularly if you may be out in the evening.   

Elbow and knee pads can offer added protection, particularly for younger riders who may be prone to falls and scrapes. Making sure everyone is protected will also give you peace of mind when you’re children are speeding along the trails.   

How Long & How Far   

Start with shorter rides and gradually increase the distance as everyone becomes more comfortable. Aim for a realistic duration that accounts for regular breaks.   

Keep in mind that a leisurely pace allows for a more enjoyable experience, especially if you have younger riders. You don’t want to be in a hurry on your first family bike ride.   

As you get more experience cycling as a group you can start to plan longer adventures.   

Planning a Route  

When preparing for your family bike ride, thoughtful route planning will make the experience smoother. You want a family-friendly cycle route that is easy enough for your children. 

Most towns and cities will have dedicated bike lanes and cycle paths if you are looking for something close to home. If you have young children then traffic-free routes are ideal. 

You can also use resources like the National Cycle Network, a network of scenic and safe cycling routes spanning the country.   

Another handy tool is the Komoot website or mobile app. It is a route-planning app that enables users to create and follow routes across the country. Komoot is one of the most popular route-planning apps on the market. You can even take a look at our Bike Club Komoot routes.     

You can also refer to our blogs on our top 10 family cycle routes in Devon, Cornwall, and the New Forest. Remember to plan rest stops and bring snacks to keep everyone energised.   

What to Pack  

Start with the basics: water bottles, snacks, and sun cream to stay hydrated and protected from the sun.   

Consider carrying a small first aid kit for any minor injuries that may occur along the way.  

In the UK it’s always wise to pack some rain gear to be prepared for changing weather conditions. Also, consider a bike repair kit and a pump in case of any mechanical issues.    

By packing thoughtfully, you'll have everything you need to make your family bike ride safe and enjoyable.  

Safety on the Road  

If you plan on riding on the road then, ensuring the maximum safety of your family is paramount. Start by familiarising everyone with basic road rules and cycling etiquette.  

Teach hand signals for communication and encourage maintaining a predictable riding pattern. Remind children to always ride on the left side of the road and to be cautious at junctions. Make use of bike lanes or designated paths whenever possible.   

For more information, you can check out our kid's bike safety guide.   

kids on bikes outside - bike club

Pace and Communication  

Maintaining an appropriate pace and effective communication among family members during a bike ride is crucial. 

Consider the varying skill levels and abilities within your family and adjust the pace accordingly. On your first family outing try and take it slowly and carefully. Communication is key to staying connected and safe if you’ll be riding on roads.   

Establish clear signals or verbal cues to communicate turns, stops, or hazards. Make sure you know the route well before setting off to keep everyone on track. This may involve some shouting!  

Enjoy the Journey  

While planning and preparation are key, it's equally important to have a good time. Take breaks to explore interesting spots, appreciate the scenery, and discover some new places.     

Cycling is not only a fun adventure but also a fantastic way to stay active as a family. So take your time, enjoy the fresh air, and make some lasting memories.   

Capturing the Memories 

Preserving the precious moments from your family bike ride is a wonderful way to remember the experience for years to come.   

Bring along a camera or use your smartphone to capture some snapshots along the way.   

refer a friend offer

Celebrate and Reflect  

As your family bike ride comes to an end, take the time to celebrate that you've pulled it off! It can be a stressful endeavour at times managing kids on two wheels so well done.  

Share stories and highlights from the journey, allowing everyone to express their favourite moments. Celebrate the success of your family bike ride and look forward to future adventures together.  

Questions We’re Regularly Asked About Planning a Family Bike Ride  

Is a 2-hour bike ride too much for my kids?  

The duration of a bike ride depends on your children's age, fitness level, and experience. For younger children or beginners, a 2-hour ride is probably too long. It's essential to consider their comfort, stamina, and interest. Start with shorter rides and gradually increase the duration as they build endurance and confidence.  

Is it illegal for children to ride on the pavement?   

According to UK law, cycling on the pavement is generally prohibited. However, there is no criminal liability for young children under the age of 10. It is generally accepted that they can cycle on the pavement, but it's essential to prioritise the safety of pedestrians. 

Children should ride responsibly, watch out for pedestrians and be cautious in crowded areas. As they grow older, it's important to educate them about riding on the road to comply with the law.  

What age is appropriate for children to start riding in a family bike ride?  

The age at which children can join in a family bike ride varies depending on their individual development.  

Generally, children as young as 3 or 4 years old can start participating in short and supervised rides with the family. 

However, it's crucial to consider factors such as balance, coordination, and confidence on a bike.   

Ensure they can ride independently and follow basic safety instructions. As they grow older and gain experience, they can gradually take on longer and more challenging rides. We have a blog on teaching your child to ride for more help with this.   

Can I bring a baby or toddler on a family bike ride?  

Yes, you can include babies and toddlers in a family bike ride with the appropriate safety measures. For infants, options like bike trailers or front-mounted child seats provide a secure way to bring them along.   

Toddlers can also ride in specialised child seats or use balance bikes whilst supervised. Prioritise their safety by using helmets, securing them properly, and selecting routes with smooth terrain.   

How can I keep my children engaged and entertained during the ride?  

Keeping children engaged and entertained during a bike ride can be achieved with some games. Play "I Spy" or have them find and identify different objects or animals along the way. 

Encourage conversation about the surroundings or encourage them to take turns leading the group. This helps create a fun and engaging atmosphere for everyone on the ride.  

What should I do if my child gets tired or needs a break during the ride?  

If your child gets tired or needs a break during the ride, it's important to prioritise their comfort. Find a safe spot to stop, such as a park or rest area, where they can rest and recharge. Offer snacks and water to replenish their energy. Consider adjusting the pace or distance to accommodate their needs.    

If your child is fed up with cycling in general, you can take a look at our blog article on what to do when your child doesn’t want to ride.   

Going on a Family Bike Ride with Bike Club  

With Bike Club you can get the whole family kitted out with top-quality bikes. From balance bikes for young children to mountain bikes for adults, we have a range of options.    

All our bikes are available at an affordable monthly rate to save you from hefty upfront costs. You can have your family riding bikes from great brands like Frog and Woom in no time. 

kids lined up on bikes - bike club