Cycling For All The Family
Now is the time! Lockdown has shown that many of us are back onto our bikes and cycling together as a family. Cycling is a really great, fun and healthy activity and as the roads have typically been much quieter, it has felt much safer to venture out. Enjoy your new found freedom and if your road safety is a bit rusty, then here are some useful tips to speed you along….
Before you set off…
- Make sure you have done pre-ride checks on all the bikes BEFORE you leave (see later section on ‘Pre-Ride Checks’)
- Have a group chat in order to set the ground rules. For example, everyone stops together at traffic lights and junctions and it is not a race!
Tips for Parents…
- Lead by example and demonstrate safe riding with your speed and awareness of everything around you as you ride: For example steer riders away from gutters and the kerb and of course any potholes!
- If there are 2 adults with children, position one adult at the front and one at the back with children in the middle. This way you will ALL be seen clearly
- Get children interested by letting them choose or plan where you go
- Plan for rest breaks and snacks (always a good incentive!)
- Pack the essentials: snacks (good ‘on the go food’ would be a fruit/muesli bar, banana/apple which will provide enough fuel for rides up to about an hour), water (really important that each rider has a full water bottle), tool kit, pump, spare tubes for punctures
- Always carry a mobile phone
- Rucksacks are ideal for carrying supplies or bicycle pouches which attach securely to the bike frame
- Although cycle helmets are not a legal requirement, they are definitely recommended for adults and really should be a must for children (fun and cool designs will encourage them!)
- Consider a hi-vis jacket/tabard for at least one member of the group
- For really little ones, who can’t cycle yet, let them join the family fun with a child’s bike seat or a bike trailer
Road safety basics…
- Don’t jump red lights
- Signal clearly and well in advance
- Ride in a position on the road/pathway where you can be seen easily
- When passing parked cars make sure you teach everyone to leave enough room just in case a door swings open which could knock you off
- Make eye contact with other road users, for example at junctions, to ensure they have seen you
- Use your bell to alert pedestrians and other road users of your presence, particularly when approaching from behind
- Riding too fast can intimidate people, so ride appropriately
- When on a footpath/shared access keep your speed low or if necessary dismount
- Give priority to pedestrians, wheelchair users and horses
- Don’t cycle on the pavement
- Always be prepared to slow down and stop if required
It is really important that a few basic checks are done, so the ride isn’t spoilt before you get started!
- Give all bikes a thorough clean, washing off the dirt, grime or dust!
- Check that all moving components are running smoothly: for example that chains are lubricated and the brakes are functioning correctly
- Pump up all tyres and fix any punctures
If you are not sure how to check a component part, there are plenty of great easy to follow ‘how to’/bike maintenance’ videos on YouTube
So, here’s to happy and safe cycling and good luck as you explore!