Winter Biking with the Kids? No Problem, but Gear Up with These Tips First
It’s that time of year already for those of us North of the Equator! We’ve all put the snow tires on the car, and we’re ready for snow. It’s also the time when many of us have already put our bikes away for the winter. But what if, instead of patiently waiting for the spring, you got ready for some winter wonderland adventures?
Everyone’s version of winter will be different depending on where you live. If you have colder winters with frequent snow, you’ll need more winter gear. For rainier climates like the west coast of Canada, rain gear and windbreakers will be necessary.
So, what do you need to remember for winter biking?
It's Getting Dark Out There
Days are much shorter in the winter, and this means darker mornings and evenings. Instead of worrying about the diminished light, try bringing lots of light with you. Outfit your bike with plenty of light, so that you’re easily visible and attach lights to your little one and yourself. Make sure to also bring a headlamp to help you navigate if you find yourself in particularly dark conditions. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. We go out for a ride, end up losing track of time, and it starts getting dark on your way home. Don’t get stuck in a situation like this, plan ahead. Make sure you have plenty of light in the winter, and this won’t be such a big issue.
Your Bike Needs its Winter Gear, Too
Winter conditions call for a few adjustments to your bike. With mountain bikes, you already have nice, wide gripping pedals. That’ll give you more stability if you’re out riding with bigger footwear for the cooler temperatures.
It can also help to change out the tires on your bike for winter. If biking with your kids in the winter is on your list of things to do this year, invest in good quality winter tires for your winter environment. On the west coast, when it does snow, it can get slushy and slippery. In some cases, this slush freezes into a dangerously uneven, icy surface. If you get heavy snowfall in the winters, consider buying wider tires that are designed for the snow.
Balance bikes in the snow can be made even more fun by attaching a ski kit to them. Kids biking in the winter can seem like a lot of work, but we’ve found that it’s a lot of fun and worth the added effort to be prepared.
Dress to Impress in the Winter
Impress mother nature with your seasonal prowess by dressing effectively for the temperature and conditions. Layering is key in the winter. It allows you to be more flexible if the weather changes or your child gets too warm.
Make sure everyone has a base layer with wicking properties to move sweat and moisture away from the skin. Nothing is worse than cotton shirts that get wet and turn cold when they dry. Next, add a mid-layer for insulation, like fleece or wool. Make your jacket suits the conditions you are riding in. If it’s a chilly, rainy day, you’ll need a rain shell to keep dry. If you’re in freezing temperatures with snow, opt for a snowsuit or big warm snow jacket. Also, gloves. Gloves are extremely important, especially in the cold months of winter. Make sure you have an extra pair in case they get wet. This rule applies to socks, too. And lastly, make sure you keep your head warm with a winter hat under the helmet or a specifically designed helmet for winter. These clothing rules apply to everyone on the ride. However, your child is up front and they will not be working as hard as you are to peddle. Make sure they are dressed extra warm to be able to enjoy the ride in cooler temperatures.
Taking your kids’ biking in the winter months can be a lot of fun, but they require a little more work than in warmer months. You may have to pack a little more than usual, but the terrain is new and undiscovered, which makes the same old adventures something to look forward to. If you’re using a child's bike seat, remember they’re exposed to wind a bit more than a carriage behind.
Helpful tip: bring something for them to cover their face with if it gets cold from the wind. Try Buff, they make kids sizes, they’re super comfy, and we’re big fans.
We believe in family adventures year round. Getting out on the trail together doesn’t stop just because the days are shorter and the temperatures are lower. If you’re prepared for the season, winter biking can be an exciting adventure for the whole family. The biggest trick we have found is always making sure that the kids are dressed appropriately. Check out this great little video to help you remember all the right gear for a ride.
Looking for a child's bike seat for your toddler to enjoy the trails with you this winter? Shop our inventory and be ready for that first picture perfect, sunny snow day.