On Your Bike: Tips for a Fun, Safe Family Cycling Adventure in the UK
The Tour de France may be over but we’re thinking all things cycling here at Hotdog HQ. Here’s our guide to planning a Great British holiday for a family of keen riders:
Pick a family friendly route:
Pic: Cadence Mag
The UK is full of brilliant cycle paths just waiting to be explored. Here are selection of routes worth trying if you want a safe and scenic ride with all the family:
The Camel Trail - Cornwall
Running from Padstow to Poley’s Bridge, this popular recreational route goes via Wadebridge and Bodmin passing through the countryside and along Camel Estuary - brilliant for birdwatching so pack your binoculars.
South Coast Promenades: Worthing to Brighton
Get ready for beautiful coast views on this route along the southern coast from Worthing to Brighton. Mostly traffic free with amazing photo opportunities and the chance to stop and paddle.
The Bristol To Bath Path
Travel from Bristol to Bath along this sculpture dotted path where you can also see a working steam train at Bitton old train station. Both Bristol and Bath are fab cities for family explorations too with Bristol’s docks, Zoo, Clifton downs, the suspension bridge and Bath’s shopping opportunities, Roman Baths and amazing architecture.
Marriotts Way - Norwich
Close to home for us at Little Hotdog Watson, Marriotts Way is a lovely green corridor (a disused railway) which takes you from the city of Norwich into the nearby countryside. Once you’re out of Norwich the route is traffic-free and flat too, one of our favourite family cycles.
Consett & Sunderland Railway Path
A great northern family route is the path between Consett and Sunderland. It travels past a number of family attractions such as the Beamish Open Air Museum, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre, and passes the new Stadium of Light. It ends at the beach at Roker.
East London Canals
For city adventures on bike, East London Canals are a great place to have a hassle-free day out. The towpaths provide a chilled route passing pop-up cafes, buskers, and an eclectic mix of wildlife they can keep their eyes out for. Try the 9 mile circuit from the Grand Union Canal to Limehouse coming back via Victoria Park - a lovely place to stop for a run around or a stop in the kids plash pool.
Kit Yourself Out In Style
Pic: Banwood Bikes
Looking for a toddler appropriate ride? When it comes to style, you can’t beat a Banwood balance bike for your little explorers. They’re absolutely stunning! We love the retro styling with leather saddles, and the fact they can have their own little wicker basket on the front. Balance bikes are brilliant for easing the transition to a bigger bike as well - helping you to skip the stabiliser stage altogether.
If your child’s not quite ready for a bike, Swifty Scooters are the Banwood bike scooter alternative - a truly cool ride. Available in kids and adult sizes!
For grown-ups and bigger kids, Evans Cycles are well equipped with bikes for all the family. They’ve got a brilliant range of Electric Hybrid Bikes which look brill for if you want to ease off on longer more strenuous rides when carrying a child on the back.
Best Kids Bike Seat
For little Hotdogs who can’t manage a long ride themselves yet, a frame fixed child seat is so handy! We have the Polisport Bilby for H. Sturdy, comfortable and great value for money. You can get yourself one at Tredz.co.uk. This is the one we have and has worked very well.
Cycling Gear For Kids
Pic: Kids Racing UK
Don’t forget the safety gear on your cycling adventure. Kids Racing are experts in children's cycling gear and have everything you could need for both relaxed cycle rides and full on competitive cycling - including thermal cycling jackets and shorts.
We also love these clever magnetic fastening helmets from Specialized Shuffle. Designed to remove the chance of pinching little chins as you buckle them up safe. Really smart.
Keep family morale high by being realistic on your cycling adventure. Little legs do get tired easily, so have a goal in mind to keep them enthused. Perhaps an ice cream or a playground break. When the tracks are safe, boost the fun factor by bringing in some friendly competition between parents and siblings - who can reach that sign/tree/bridge first?
Pack a picnic
Sunny afternoons discovering new places are what picnics are made! Look out for a picturesque spot and settle down to refuel. Taking a quiet moment together is a nice time to reflect on your journey together and ask your children which sights and landmarks they’ve most enjoyed seeing so far.
Focus on enjoyment
Family bike rides are brilliant way to boost child cycle confidence. Our kids are always looking for our approval and encouragement and it may be all they need to keep them going that bit longer!
Teach them to cycle
We followed this method teaching H to ride and by day 8 she was off on her own. Check out the video here for learning to ride your bike in 45 minutes.
Do your Little Hotdogs love cycling? We’d love to hear any of your further tips for helping them have fun on their bikes while enjoying peace of mind yourself? Leave us a comment below..
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