Choosing Bikes for Cycling with Kids
The Ultimate Gear Guide
We’ve been cycling with kids since they could first hold their heads up. In twenty years we’ve pretty much been through every possible configuration of trailer, bike seat, tag along, balance bike, solo bike and tandem that you can imagine. And in the process we’ve figured out how to bike with one, two and then three babies, toddlers, tweens and now teens.
If you’re wondering what the options are, what works best at what age or what you need to get out biking as a family, check out our ultimate gear guide to cycling with kids, packed with experience, opinions and tips drawn from 20 years experience of everyday and long-distance cycling with our kids.
This is a LONG post and comes in five parts including this introduction. Scroll down to navigate around and find the bits most relevant to you.
Cycling is a skill for life
Choosing the right gear at each stage of your child’s development will not only help you introduce your kids to cycling safely but teach them skills for life and help them develop a life-long love of biking.
There are lots of options to choose from and we don’t set out to tell you what to do, rather to share what worked for us. We believe you know your child, their temperament and ability and your own riding style best and are best placed to decide what will work for you. And we hope the information we provide here will help with that.
New or second hand?
Children’s needs change from year to year as they grow and their skills, experience and capabilities develop, and some cycling gear may only be of use to you for a season or two. This can make family cycling a potentially expensive business if you prefer to buy everything new and shiny. But it also means there’s a good second-hand market where you can find previously owned gear and save yourself a fortune. If you do buy second hand do ask about the equipment before purchase – its age, previous use, any accidents – and check it over thoroughly to ensure it is fit for purpose, or if you are unsure how to do that yourself, get it checked by a bike mechanic.
Finding something age-appropriate
This is a LONG article and covers a lot of territory so to help you navigate we’ve split it up into four parts according to the age of your kids. Use these links to find the bits most relevant to your circumstances.
- Part 1: The baby years: trailers and bike seats, from age 0-2
- Part 2: The toddler years: balance and training bikes, from age ~3-6
- Part 3: Anyone for a tow? Trailgaters, tag-alongs & tandems, age ~3 up.
- Part 4: The Big Time – Going solo – first bikes and beyond, age ~6 up