Family bike rides are a great way to spend quality time together, explore the countryside and get some exercise. We asked our Wiggle social community to tell us their top tips for keeping everybody happy, from tired tots to surly teens.
Choose the right route
Avoiding busy roads and complex junctions means you can settle down and concentrate on having a fun ride. You might also want to consider avoiding long or steep hills that might tire out little legs.
If possible pick a greenway or a traffic-free trail or a tarmac surface where your faster child can whizz along safely without you having to constantly supervise. Paths around reservoirs, or anywhere circular, are good for this. Also, put one of them on a tagalong or a tandem if they're a bit older - you can often find them second-hand. Your 6-year old may enjoy tagging behind you going at quite a pace and you can whizz up and down and then circle back to your slower child.
Don't be afraid to resort to bribery
Keeping little treats handy are great for motivation and keep energy levels topped up so everyone wins!
Making up fun names for our bike routes (like, ‘the milkshake run’ for stopping at a milkshake cafe) usually works for our 11 and 13year olds. As long as they know they are guaranteed a nice snack in a cafe about halfway then they’re good for about 20 miles!
Chocolate buttons and Percy Pigs - my children will go anywhere on these and they help with energy slumps. Plan plenty of rest / fuel stops and be prepared to cut your adventure short. It's about your children enjoying themselves on bikes, not about how far/fast/high your children went.
Bring snacks and have an ice cream stop built into your route. It's amazing how far kids will cycle for sweets.
We have Haribo Hill. Every time we reach the top the reward is a small packet of Haribos
Strength in numbers
Roping in another family is a great way to share the workload. If the kids are of similar ages, they'll enjoy riding in smaller groups without the grown-ups cramping their style too much.
Team up with another family! This is such a stress reliever, especially if you're a lone parent or your partner doesn't fancy coming along. One of you can take the faster ones the other take the slower/ younger ones and rendezvous at breakpoints. It's a sanity saver.
Don't let anyone get left behind
Everybody is likely to want to ride at a different speed but it can be demoralising to be the one who's always at the back. Keep the group together to make sure everyone's having a good time.
When your 14-year-old is 6'3 and 60kg, get an e-bike so you aren't always getting dropped, or even worse have them clap you up the hills
Pack an old inner tube to tow them up the hills or when they get tired.
Depending what age and where you are going we used to have a tandem and put kiddie cranks on we also had a tag a long.
Get competitive (just as long as they're still having fun!)
There's nothing wrong with a bit of friendly family competition. Just make sure you regroup at some point!
Charles Frederick Turner
Attack them into a headwind
Drop them at the first climb. It’s the only way they will learn.
Don't force the fun
Sometimes, you just need some time for yourself. Cycling is a great way to let off some steam so don't feel guilty if you need to go alone.
Leave the kids (teens) at home. We’ve tried, but it’s so uncool for them to be seen in public with mum & dad.
Go solo, they're happy at home, I'm happy out, everyone wins
Leave for the ride before they get out of bed