Lots of people ask how we manage to get out cycling and touring with the kids. And while some are just wondering how long it takes to get all those gloves, hats, helmets, drinks, nappies and snacks together, others want to know what gear you need to get out riding safely with kids, especially little ones.
Well, we've been out riding with our kids ever since they could first hold their heads up. First with one, then two and now with three. And we know some of the challenges of configuring and reconfiguring bicycles as the family gets bigger and the kids get older. So, if you're trying to figure out how to do it, we'd like to share a few of the many different ways we've managed to get our Family on a Bike.
There's some more useful tips and guidance about gear for family cycling available from the UK Cyclists Touring Club website.
And if you want to read about how we got started, take a look at our feature on Cycle Toddling.
For us cycle toddling began with a Burley D'Lite trailer... a personal chariot for up to two.
Simply hitch it to your bike and you'll be out and about from when they're a few months old (in a car seat)
until they're old enough for school.
Or more likely until they're simply too heavy to tow.
And if you want to go further than the shops or the park, then these trailers are expedition capable.
We toured over 4000km in New Zealand on road and dirt track with ours.
Two adults, two mini caravans, two very happy children, too much gear and too many miles.
On tour the D'Lite is more than just a trailer. Think dining room, sofa, shopping trolley and luggage van.
Aside from being a daily workhorse, some of our Burley trailers have done almost 15,000km of serious touring,
eco-touring in Cumbria, touring Western Sweden, transporting kids and baggage on the classic UK end to end challenge,
Lands End to John O Groats, tackling the Camino de Santiago,
riding across Europe from Amsterdam to Venice, touring the Baltics and Eastern Europe.
But if you get tired of doing all the work than why not try a tag along and get them doing some pedalling.
You can get out on the road and begin to teach them a little road sense under your control.
While a tag along is good, it's not as stable, grown up or touring capable as the next step up.....
A tandem set up with kiddy cranks. We had our boys riding stoker from the age of about 4.
It's a completely different experience for them (and you) and a guaranteed head turner.
And with a child seat, baby can come too and you can do your impersonation of the goodies.
And if you want to get loaded up and go touring, well that's no problem either.
You can even pull a trailer, if your legs are strong enough.
But what do you do if everyone wants to go out?
Well, with two adults and three youngsters you should be able to manage with a tandem and two trailers.
We managed 1500 km of eco-touring in Cumbria and Western Sweden with this rig.
But what if there's only one adult? Well, all is not lost.
You could try the train - a tandem, tag-along, trailer and three passengers.
It's a sociable experience but you'd better choose a flat route for you won't get up anything but the gentlest hills.
Or maybe get yourself one of these? It's a kiddy back triplet from Thorn, the Me'nU2 and a lot of fun it is too.
A growing family need not mean staying at home or day rides only.
We managed to tour 2000km end to end in the UK with this rig.
Two tandems and two trailers allowed us to take all our clothes and camping gear,
a six year old, five year old and two year old along for a very different kind of summer holiday,
riding in the UK from Lands End to John O Groats.
And variations on this theme served us well for years on extended tours in Spain, France, Germany, Austria and Italy.
Of course the Thorn Me'nU2 is more than just a bit of fun.
It's also a very capable touring bike.
We fitted ours out for expedition style riding and had a lot of fun touring with it,
We took it fully loaded and pulling a trailer
on a 2100km tour the Baltic States.
But if you prefer something more conventional then you could get just rid of your MPV
and get yourself a proper family vehicle?
Of course, the ultimate aim is to get them riding safely and solo.
Whatever they choose to ride.
Our eldest started solo touring on his mountain bike on a one week tour in Holland, around age 8.
To break him in gently we took the baggage for him. Well, most of it.
Then, after a little training, he graduated onto an off the shelf budget touring bike.
On his first extended tour, age 10, he comfortably covered 1800km on our Blue Danube Tour
across Central and Eastern Europe,
including a crossing of the Low and High Tatras.
For more pictures of our bikes in action visit our Inspirational Images Galleries
All images copyright Stuart Wickes and Kirstie Pelling 2007-2011. All
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