This guest post was submitted by Friedel of Travelling Two – a great online resource for those who like to travel by bicycle. Personally, I’m pretty dangerous when I’m on two wheels, so cycle touring with baby is not an option for me. I’m so glad Friedel took the time to feature these adventurous parents who travel with their tots on bikes!
Cycle Touring With Baby…
We’re adventurous people. There’s nothing we love more than riding our bicycles long distances, crossing countries and continents by day, pitching our tent when dusk falls and getting up to do it all again the next day.
In this way, we’ve covered over 50,000km through 31 countries. But is independent bike touring only for young singles? That’s certainly what many people would like us to believe.
“It’s so great you’re doing this before you have kids,” they tell us over and over, with a knowing look in their eyes that says all this cycling and camping will be impossible with a family. We’ve always hoped for just the opposite – that even with a baby, we could keep on bike touring. We decided to investigate. Not having kids ourselves, we turned to 3 families who have traveled by bike with their young children. Here are 3 of the tips they gave us.
GET A TRAILER – For short trips, you can put a child in a bike seat, but a trailer is essential for longer journeys by bicycle. In a trailer, there’s protection from bad weather and room for plenty of books and toys. Some trailers, like the Cougar Chariot, even have suspension to dampen vibrations. A trailer is versatile too. When you’re not biking, it turns into a stroller that you can take around towns.
DO A TRIAL RUN – Bike travel with babies will involve some new experiences for everyone so allow time to get used to it. A good plan is to start with short trips in your local area. “We started at home, riding around town without gear just to get all of us used to the trailer. Then we upped the ante to day trips out to lunch and back. Then we added camping at the end of it. Then we would do at least two days of riding back to back with camping between,” says Canadian dad Robin, describing how his family prepared for a bike trip to Iceland with 18-month old Ronan. “After a while, Ronan loved his trailer. He’d point to it and our bikes in the garage and say ‘ride’.”
MAKE TIME FOR PLAY – When you’re undertaking adventurous travel, you’ll often meet people who push themselves hard, with long days. That’s not fun or fair to a child. All the families we interviewed adjusted their routines to make time for playing during the day. “It’s definitely a balancing act. You have to keep going but you have to make sure to take plenty of breaks. We took rest days every 3-4 days to recharge which really helped,” says Elle Bustamante, who biked around Oregon with her 11-month old son Lennon. This sentiment is echoed by Reuben and Heidi, who toured in Canada with 16-month old daughter Eden. “Our daily routine included stopping at just about every grade-school or park we saw with a children’s playground. Making time for her to run around during the break and play on the slides and jungle gyms was extremely important,” Reuben told us.
Want even more tips on bike touring with babies? http://travellingtwo.com/resources/bike-touring-with-a-baby