Are you planning on going on a leisurely cycle with your family this summer? If so, here are some tips to ensure everything runs as smooth as the bike path beneath you.
1) Water, water, and more water
It would be best not to underrate how much water you may require to pack and carry when you go cycling on a hot day. You will have to pack as much water as you can in your bike's water bottle and carry plenty more in your bags.
You can buy small-sized bottle cages and bottles that you can fit on junior bikes' frames. Helpful Tip: Ensure your kid's bike has cage-fixing points somewhere on its frame before deciding to buy the bottle cage!
You will need plenty of water to drink and more to cover for other ""uses,"" such as when your kids decide to pour water on their heads or faces to cool off a little, or on the bike to ""wash"" it a little because it has gathered some dust.
An excellent way to manage water wastage or accidental spillage is to carry water in a good bottle suited for that type of work. A good option is the CamelBak Kids Water Bottle. Please note that this bottle will not fit in the bike's bottle cage, but it is an excellent non-spill bottle that you can pack safely in a pannier, rucksack, or basket.
If you cannot fit your kid's bike with a bottle cage, you may need another solution like a junior hydration pack. This pack allows the kids to carry their water and sip as many times as possible throughout the activity.
Camelback has great brand options for kids-size hydration packs. For instance, the Mini mule is designed with pockets for older kids, while Skeeter is a smaller brand with an appropriate hydration system for smaller kids.
Over the years, we have constantly relied on the camelback products as many times as anyone would replace a mouthpiece because they have a kid that likes to ''chew on things, or because we needed to repeatedly hand over some of the products to the younger siblings. Because of Covid-19, it's best to get a unique valve for each person in the family to avoid sharing such items.
2) Take it easy when cycling on a hot day
You need to carefully plan your route because it can be physically draining for anyone cycling in hot weather. Reset and readjust your route and cycling plan as many times to make it as manageable as possible for you and the kids.
If you’re fortunate enough to have an e-bike then use the electric battery function on this - after all this is exactly what an e-bike
is made for.
3) Seek out the shade
Always stay under a shade with the kids anytime you have to take a break to cool your bodies. The kids may runoff in the open and engage in physical play, but it is essential that you get them back to rest and take break.
An accompaniment of a hydration pack under a shady space during a break from cycling in the hot sun is a great idea and a good opportunity for bonding.
4) Protect your kids from the sun
Regularly put on sun screen many times on all uncovered skin and use a thin, wicking layer fabric to conserve skin moisture.
Remember to protect your eyes, and those of your kids from direct sunlight and flying insects using kid's sunglasses. For kids below 2', the best option for kid's sunglasses is Baby Banz. Baby Banz kid's sunglasses come with a strap to help them stay in place when the kid is in high motion. At least you discover they fell off from their faces miles back!
5) Carry a sun hat for when helmets come off
It is also a good idea to carry a sun hat for yourself and your kids for the times you do not have to wear your helmets but must cover your heads from the sun.
6) Take extra care of little passengers
When out cycling, the skin of babies and small kids is vulnerable to undesired effects from high temperatures. You will have to ensure they are hydrated and their skin covered all the time.
Also, ensure the kids are not overheated if they are enclosed in a trailer. When they are on a cargo bike and bike seats, they simply sit down and may quickly get cold – they require warmer clothing than most people.
Of great concern, you need to go cycling easy if you are pregnant; at all times, you have to avoid overheating and dehydrating.
7) Don't take chocolate
You will need energy throughout the journey. A good option is to carry child-friendly energy foods like flapjacks, malt loaf, or bananas. Also, choose food snacks that will not melt in your bag and under the heat of the sun. A favourite option for most cyclists is jelly sweets.
8) You should always have an ice cream stop
My 7-year old loves this rule every time we are cycling on a hot day. Unfortunately, most places we love to stop are now closed. However, most local convenience stores and newsagents have ice-cream fridges, while some café will accept to sell takeaway ice cream.
9) Mad dogs and family cyclists go out in the midday sun
If possible, plan to go for the cycling expedition early in the day, preferably in the morning or late afternoon, when there is minimal daytime heat.
10) Water, water, and more water
I do not think I can emphasize this point enough times. Pack and carry more water and drinks than you think you will need if you are heading for cycling on a hot sunny day. It is even more critical to have extra water if you are not planning to make a stopover for a water refill.
Additionally, you will need creative ways to cool down if it gets unbearably hot for you and your kids.