Riding a bike has always been one of my favorite forms of exercise. I love the feel of the breeze and the pace at which I can cover a lot of distance. I haven’t been able to ride much the past few years because of severe carpal tunnel syndrome. But I recently had surgery on both hands which has provided incredible relief, so now it’s time to bring on the bicycles! And since my youngest can now ride a two-wheeler, I’m looking forward to lots of family bike rides this summer.
I think we’ll start out slowly with some trips through our neighborhood and some nearby housing developments. Then we’ll work our way up to some of the longer trail rides.
I’ve never ridden on the Monon Trail because, to be honest, I’m a little intimidated by it. But there is a nice trail in Zionsville and the Indiana Greenways Foundation has a great list of trails available throughout Indiana. There are also 18 miles of paved trails in West Lafayette that I think would be fun to check out.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be comfortable with bike riding on busy city streets, but if that interests you, check out these guidelines from the Central Indiana Bicycling Association.
Bicycle Garage Indy offers some do’s and don’ts for planning family bike rides. Some of these include:
- Do make sure your kids have well-functioning bicycles, well-inflated tires and well-fitted helmets before you start.
- Do practice your “patient voice.” In a ten-mile ride, you may need to say, “stay to the right, please” 100 times. Try to sound just as patient the hundredth time as the first.
- Do ride a little behind (6–8 feet) and a little “outside” (1–2 feet to the left) of your child. This allows you to keep an eye on their every move and “shelter” them from overtaking traffic.
- Don’t push your luck on distance. When you plan a route, always go shorter than you think the kids can handle. Let them talk you into going farther rather than begging you to quit.
- Don’t mix kids who can ride with ones that can’t. Do your “how-to-ride” training one-on-one or stick to the trailer or trail-a-bike until the child can ride well on her own.
Click here for the complete list of do’s and don’ts, as well as considerations based on the age range of your riders.
What are your tips for family bike rides? Where do you like to ride?