This simple safety check – Am I Safe to Ride with Kids – helps you to be prepared when the family goes for a ride. You can then relax and enjoy, knowing that you’re well prepared.
CHECK BIKES, HELMETS & CLOTHING
Size & fit is really important for kids helmets so take the time to do this properly and check before every ride that the helmet is low, level, snug & stable.
What are they wearing? Make sure they will be comfortable when riding by encouraging good clothing choices – anything that they would normally exercise/run around in. For bigger rides consider adding kids padded bike shorts.
Closed in shoes and nothing dangling down near wheels or pedals.
CHECK THEY ARE VISIBLE
Clothing – we recommend bright clothing & helmets in traffic situations. Anything that will add to their visibility.
Lights – front light and rear reflector is law in NZ for bikes on the road half an hour before sunset until half an hour after sunrise. Bike Light Buying Guide. Although your kids might not ride at night, lights – particularly flashing ones – catch drivers attention so are are great idea in daylight hours.
Flags – a great idea for in traffic and on kids bikes/balance bikes to add height.
CHECK YOUR KIT
Please take tools when you ride with kids. The essentials are a spare tube for every wheel size and/or a patch kit, tire levers, hand pump, allen key and an adjustable spanner. What’s in a Family Bike Tool Kit?
Does your tool kit match the type of ride you are about to do? Where are you about to head to with the kids…any isolated riding needs extra consideration – do you have everything you need to be able to get back safely? Bike Tool Buying Guide
Unfortunately kids can fall off bikes so it’s best to be prepared with a bit of “magic” in a bag. If you can wipe down and cover up any cuts, grazes or abrasions they will be braver about getting back on the bike.
First Aid Kit for Biking – gloves, steary strip/plasterers, aspirin, antihistamine, wet wipes… See Bike First Aid Supplies Buying Guide
CHECK YOUR SECURITY
Personal ID/Money – You should carry your ID, money and emergency contact details in a ziplock bag. Always tell someone where you are going and when you should be back.
A bike lock – will you be stopping and leaving your bikes at any point? Securing multiple bikes can be a difficult task. You will either need enough locks for every bike or a long cable lock – try to find one that doesn’t self coil and is at least 1.5m long. Bike Lock Buying Guide. You can often find yourself in places without good fixed object choices – along river banks, trails in the park etc. Try to secure at least one of the bikes to something difficult to move or break.
CHECK YOUR WATER/FOOD
Do you have enough water for everyone? Will you have access to water if you need it during the ride? We recommend 1 x 750ml bottle per person for any rides less than an hour. Try a camel pack for any long rides – kids from a fairly young age, 4-5, are capable of carrying water with them.
Food is personal, munch on bananas, protein bars, scroggin, crackers, chocolate – let them be involved in some of the preparations and choices around food so they know what to look forward to. It can be a great idea to pack a picnic and ride to a favourite place for lunch.
Stop often, more than you would for yourself. Even if it’s just to take a sip or two of water.
CHECK THE WEATHER
Wear clothes that match the environment you are riding in. When it is possible choose to ride in good weather conditions with kids. They will get too cold to enjoy themselves otherwise.
Consider sunscreen and sunglasses for hot weather
Consider sweatshirt, thermal, rain jacket, gloves, beanie for cold days. Kids that are riding on your bike in a kids bike seat or being towed will generally need one more layer than you have on.