Thursday, January 10, 2013

Winter Bicycling - Keeping Small Passengers Safe and Comfortable

Comfort and safety are high on my list of considerations when biking with a child (or alone, for that matter). And pretty much everything related to bicycle safety and kids is open for debate if you've ever browsed the internet looking for information. A plethora of websites and forum threads exist on these topics, so nothing will be reiterated other than the basics that work for our family.

  • Vehicular cycling always feels safest to me, whether bicycling in urban areas, through suburb neighborhoods, on trails, or in small town Montana. 
  • Riding solo with a loaded bike (the trailer or loaded rack/bags on the longtail) was great for getting accustomed to handling while carrying passenger weight, before actually carrying a passenger.
  • We wear helmets, and we wear them like this.
  • The longtail and Hooptie have been a comfortable way to transition our child from the trailer to the longtail. She wanted a Hooptie rather than a stoker bar so something was around her while on the bike. 
(her helmet was readjusted after this photo, before riding)

  • Feeling safe is comfortable (see above list).
  • Cushioning the deck for the backseat rider is a homemade cushion for the FlightDeck.
  • Footrests made from bar ends (leftover from another bike) make mounting, dismounting, and riding easier.
  • Fleece mittens and a balaclava are great to keep out cold and keep in heat. (I prefer a wool scarf and a thin wool hat.)
  • Winter goggles keep eyes from watering and tears freezing. (I prefer sunglasses.)
  • Snowboots are required when the temperature is below 40º F, and a snowsuit when the temperatures near 20º F.

What do you do to keep yourself or your kids comfortable and safe on the bike?

Please noteI am not a bicycling safely expert, pediatrician, or any sort of professional that claims to know what's best for you and/or your family. The information stated here isn't a recommendation for your family, but just some of what works for our family.

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