As promised, here’s the post on family biking resources, albeit two weeks late.
Like anything with kids, family biking is a bit more complicated than the adult-only version. Fortunately, the family biking community is generous and loves to share stories, tips and advice. Here are some of the best resources about family biking I’ve seen
Kidical Mass Rides
Kidical Mass rides are the cutest bike rides around! These rides focus on encouraging families to ride together, especially for transportation. They include both kids on their own bikes and adults carrying kids on their bikes (via bike seats, cargo bikes, trailers and tag-a-longs). They are typically 1-4 miles, go to somewhere fun (like a park or ice cream), and ridiculously slow. I lead the ones in Rockville, but there are 47 cities in North America with Kidical Mass rides, six of which are in the DC region alone!
Safe Routes to School
Biking your kid to school or accompanying them as they take their own bike is a great first foray into family biking for transportation. Safe Routes to School started as a federal program to make walking and biking to school safer for kids. It included grants for infrastructure, like crossing signals, as well as training for teachers. Now, it’s expanded to become an entire network that shares best practices and organizes “bike trains” of kids led by an adult or two. They also help organize Bike to School Day, the kid version of Bike to Work Day.
Several biking advocacy groups and city governments have put together handbooks on family biking, such as ever bike-friendly Portland and San Francisco. These publications provide overviews of the options for riding with kids from before they are even born (pregnancy) through them being on their own two wheels.
Workshops and Demonstrations
Many local groups, including the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, put on family biking workshops and demonstration events. Both allow newbies to talk to, hear stories from, and ask questions to parents who currently bike with their children. Demonstration events are particularly nice because parents can see and try out different types of bikes, many of which are not available in local shops. One example of a demonstration event is D.C.’s The ABCs of Family Biking, which also includes balance bike races, obstacle courses, and more!
Blogs and Magazines
Blogs are incredibly helpful for reading about other people’s experiences. I wrote about my own experiences about biking while pregnant on my old blog and have a number of posts about family biking. Other people’s blogs focus strictly on family biking:
- Ding Ding, Let’s Ride: This blog covers not only riding with kids, but particularly focuses on riding with kids with physical disabilities. It has an entire section on adaptive bikes, which can provide independence and freedom.
- Chicago Bike Mom: Lots of photos and reports on riding cargo bikes with kids in the Windy City. They seem to be pretty involved in the local bike advocacy community.
- Rascal Rides: Run by one of my interviewees, Rascal Rides reviews a broad array of bikes and biking gear for parents and kids.
- Momentum Magazine: Momentum doesn’t focus strictly on family biking, but as a lifestyle biking magazine, addresses it much more than the ones focused on racing. They’ve covered biking while pregnant and bike touring with kids.
- Hum of the City: Covers the challenges and joys of riding in San Francisco with two older kids.
In my interview with Kathleen Youell, she mentions following fellow biking parents on Twitter as a major part of her family biking education. Personally, I follow Dena Driscoll, Pedestrian Error, Lana Stewart, Natasha Bryce, and Papa Andy, among others. In addition, some cities have Facebook groups focused on family biking, including DC and Seattle. Members can ask questions to each other, arrange rides, share tips and sell gear. I’m in the DC Family Biking Group and it’s a great resource.
Do you have other family biking resources to recommend? Do you have any specific questions about family biking?