Planning a Family Bike Ride

May 29, 2018

A family bike ride is a great way to spend quality time with your family while encouraging them to be physically active. Just as you would with any trip, take some time to plan your family bike ride to make sure everything rolls smoothly!

From how to transport your bike racks to the gear you’ll need, here are a few tips to get your planning started:

Where to Start?

If you’re planning on going to a trail that’s far from home, the first step is to figure out how to transport your bikes. Cramming bikes into the back of a car can put them at risk for damage which is why we recommend using a hitch installed on your car. This solution is versatile and able to accommodate any type of bike rack. Hitch bike racks can be adjusted to any vehicle type since most cars have the same size 1.25” or 2” hitch receiver. They can hold several bikes at a time and they make loading and unloading your bikes easy with adjustable components to fit different bike sizes and frame shapes.

For families with up to six bikes, U-Haul offers a wide selection of bike racks to easily and safely transport all of your family’s bikes. Best of all, you can use this to bike all year round.

Selecting a Biking Trail

There are several beautiful biking trails in the country, and before you choose a trail based on the scenery, it is most important that you make a choice based on your family’s level of experience. Consider your family’s age, physical condition, level of comfort, and training. You’ll also want to keep in mind the type of bikes your family has. A road bike with thin tires won’t make for an easy off-road trip. You’ll also want to check the bike each person has is still the right size for them. The right bike matters.

Once you select a location, plan your route. Most recreational areas offer a variety of biking trails varying in terrain type and difficulty level. Select the route that’s most convenient for you and your family. This is a great time to decide if your family wants to bike somewhere for a treat or stay on the trails.

Make Sure You’re Ready to Go!

In order to have a safe and successful family bike ride, you’ll need your bike to be ready for the journey! Before you get going:

Two members of a family bike ride watch the sunset.

  • Check tire pressure

  • Make sure seat posts are secured

  • Chains should be oiled

  • Pedals should spin smoothly

  • Double check the breaks are working properly

  • Bring a tool kit, tire pump, pressure gauge, tire levers, puncture kit, and a spare inner tube for each wheel size

  • Money in case you stop for water or a snack

  • Don’t forget to bring cable locks to secure your bikes!

No matter the level of biking expertise, never underestimate the power of the gear:

  • Helmets and knee pads are a must to prevent injuries

  • Wear gloves or cycling mitts to prevent hands from getting sore

  • Bring a backpack for each family member so they can carry everything they need

  • Bring a first aid kit, just in case!

Plan ahead for the weather and be ready:

  • Pack extra layers in case it gets chilly

  • For hot weather, wear lightweight clothes that wick away moisture to keep you cool

  • Wear sunglasses to comfortably appreciate your surroundings

  • Sunscreen is a must – even on cloudy days!

  • Bring a raincoat in case it rains

For families biking with younger children make sure you have an adult in front and behind to keep an eye on everyone. If your little one is riding with you, make sure your bike trailer has a safety flag so they’ll be visible.

It’s better to stay prepared so if you find yourself needing extra room in your car for all your gear, a rooftop cargo carrier is a great way to equip your car with extra storage!

Stay Energized and Hydrated

Most importantly don’t starve during the ride and stay hydrated! Pack something that’s easy to eat, such as sandwiches or wraps, and nonperishable snacks to keep you energized. Drink water before biking and pack a couple of water bottles and a sports drink per person.

Have a Family Bike Ride Backup Plan

Sometimes even an experienced family member will tire before the end of the ride. During times like this having a bike rack can help get them home safely even when the trail is already close to home. Have the phone number of another family member or friend ready in case you need to call for assistance. Remember to never try to bike while holding another person’s bike. Having a backup plan will make handling these situations much easier so your family can still enjoy the ride!

Bike On!

Now that you know everything you need to plan your family bike ride, you are ready to bike on! Sometimes, when biking with people who ride at different paces, it’s easy to get carried away. Slow down to match the speed of the slowest family member, and make sure the whole family stays together. This is also helpful to keep an eye on everybody especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area.  Take as many breaks as your family needs to keep the energy going throughout the day. Planning for a family bike ride in advance can make the ride more enjoyable and relaxing for everyone.

Are you planning a family bike ride? Make sure you have all your biking must-haves!


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