A chill in air and the appearance of Christmas lights mean only one thing... winter is here! ❄️
But just because the nights are drawing in, it doesn’t mean that you need to put your family's bikes away...
In fact, cycling in the winter months is a great way to keep fit, especially when we are all spending less time outdoors being active. 🚴♂️
If you're out and about cycling, these 5 tips from our Winter Cycling Guide should help you stay safe and have fun during your bike rides:
1: Ride a Reliable Bike 🚲
Clearly, winter cycling means... shall we say, 'less enticing' weather? 😆 It's important to be prepared as the last thing you want is a bike that is unreliable and not designed to withstand the British rain.
These are the things to look out for when buying a bike that you can ride on cooler days:
1️⃣ Tyres: Arguably, the tyres are the most crucial part that determines a bike's performance. Over winter, it’s good to have tyres that are puncture resistant and have good grip. ✅
2️⃣ Mudguards: It goes without saying that when it rains, your bike will get muddy! Mudguards are designed to keep both you and the bike clean whilst cycling through busy cities or muddy terrains.🌲
3️⃣ Brakes: It's essential that you have brakes that can cope well in rainy or frosty weather. All of our kids bikes have dependable brakes, for example, the Cube bikes have brake levers that have been especially designed for small hands, and offer great braking performance.
Overall, the Forme bikes are excellent winter kids bikes. Since they’re made in the UK, they are created with the struggles of cycling during the winter in mind. They are made with all-weather Kenda tyres, ideal for any condition, and include a hidden headset to keep the components protected from the rain. 🌧
2: Use Bright Lights 🚨
When it comes to riding your bike in the British winter, good-quality, bright lights are not to be forgotton! As mentioned in our accessories guide, bike lights are a legal requirement in the UK when cycling in the dark.
Ultimately, you need to have lights that are bright enough for every road user to see you from all directions.
3: Keep Your Bike In Good Nick 🔧
Trust us, your bike will get dirty and need constant maintenance - but worry not, you don’t need to be a qualified mechanic to make sure your bike is safe and clean. Here are some things you can do yourself:
1️⃣ Frame & Tyres: If your bike gets muddy, give the frame a wash with hot soapy water and a sponge. When it comes to washing your tyres, using a bigger brush so you can get into the grooves where mud may be stuck. 🧽
2️⃣ Chain: For the chain, use a degreaser and turn the crank backwards so it is able to clean every link. After you have done this for 5 minutes, give it a quick rinse down with water, and a sponge if it needs extra wiping down. ⛓
3️⃣ Brakes: Over winter, you want to make sure your brakes are efficient. Make sure the brake pads are tight enough to be able to bring the bike to a stop. If available, place your bike in a work stand, spin the wheel and use the hand brakes to check the spinning stops straight away. ✋
If the brakes need adjusting, simply use an allen key to tighten the brake pads.
Tip: You may find it easier to take off the pedals and wheels to clean your bike.🔩
4: Wrap Up Warm 👕
We get it. When the cold bites, you’d much rather be inside with the heating on, drinking a hot chocolate... ☕️
That's why wearing plenty of layers to keep yourself warm and protected against the elements is vital - not only for your health, but also so you keep motivated 💪
We recommend having the correct clothing needed to go out, so that 'bad weather' never stops you from having fun on two wheels!
5: Plan Your Routes 🗺
To ensure you’re all kept safe on your family bike rides in the cold, it may be wise to plan your routes before you cycle.
Komoot is a great online service that allows users to plan routes.
Winter shouldn’t mean you can’t go out and cycle. Yes it provides more challenges, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking your bike out for a spin
Frequently Asked Questions about Winter Cycling with Children
How can my children stay warm while cycling in winter?
To keep your children warm during winter cycling, layer their clothing, use windproof and waterproof outer layers, and get them some thick gloves and socks. If your children get too cold then take a break at a cafe.
Are there specific safety considerations for winter cycling with children?
Winter cycling with kids can require extra safety precautions if there is snow, rain, or fog. Ensure your child is visible with reflective clothing, and go for routes with minimal traffic. Avoid cycling if the conditions are too extreme, such as a storm or blizzard!
How young is too young for winter cycling with children?
The appropriate age for winter cycling with kids depends on their comfort level, experience, and weather conditions. Generally, children as young as two years old can be introduced to winter cycling if they are confident on a bike and you are taking an easy route close to home.
What activities can make winter cycling more enjoyable for kids?
Make winter cycling fun for kids by incorporating activities such as a winter scavenger hunt, or family-friendly races. Bring snacks and hot drinks to make the experience enjoyable for your child.