Transitioning Kids to Riding their own Bike
For years now you may have been riding around as a family on a cargo bike but now the kids are older or your family has grown. It is a natural phase as your kids outgrow your cargo bike. So what is the next step? Do you want your child to be more independent or perhaps you’ve decided it’s time for them to be learning more about riding in traffic?
If your child is riding their own bike but it is not yet safe for them to ride in a traffic environment you can provide assistance and safety by attaching them to your bike. Creating a bike to bike connection with your child makes riding in traffic an option – you know where they are and you make all the decisions for them.
Overview: Cargo/E-Cargo Bikes & Towing
This Portland, USA Mom (Emily Finch) is world famous for transporting 6 kids by bike using a Follow Me Tandem to tow one of her kids.
Using a Cargo Bike to tow a older child is a great way for your family to increase the independent riding skills of your child while still having the ability to connect them to your bike. Towing is a great way to teach children about town riding or to ride with multiple kids – some on seats, one being towed. Towing will easily work for cargos with seats at the front – bucket style. You may need to do a little more investigation with rear seats.
Cargo Bikes have extremely strong frames and are designed to enable carrying and pulling extra weight. They are usually longer than a standard bike and with a child being towed, become very long so you will need to adapt to this new length.
Bike Tow Frame
A frame can be used with kids as young as 3yrs so this will give any family with multiple kids good options. A clear path will be needed to the middle of the cargo bike rear wheel for attachment, so check rear platforms & footrests. The Follow Me Tandem has a large range of attachment options so should be able to provide you with a mechanism especially if you have a rear carrier (most Cargo bikes do).
Bike Tow Bar
Any cargo bike that has an extended rack for kids to sit on will not work with a Tow Bar. The bar won’t be long enough to clear the rear of the bike. So this is only an option for cargo’s with front seats and no rear kids seat being used.
Bike Tow Rope
Usually used for off road riding, not somewhere you will find a cargo bike. But older kids who can follow instructions and are confident on their bikes can be towed using this method in light traffic or for short distances (best used to assist kids with hill climbing).
Kids riding their own bike on the road with you
As you child or kids outgrow your Cargo Bike you can start to ride with you a child on their own bike in traffic. This is a great idea as you work towards them being independent riders on the road.
Learning to ride safely in traffic can be a challenge and a hard transition for kids. Often the riding of the bike is the easy part it is learning about the traffic, the rules and the decisions to be made to support their safety that is the challenge. It is certainly something that needs to be taught and practised. Riding together on the road, with both of you on your own bike is a great learning opportunity. You can role model good riding behaviour… sticking to a line, signalling changes like turning a corner or moving lanes. You can talk them through your decisions and work with them as the make their own decisions.