bicycle maintanace

Riding through the fall, a great way to spend time with your kids

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

For many, fall and the beginning of the winter signals the end of bike riding, especially kids. But why should the fun stop just because the mercury drops? Instead of ending the rides, get your kids excited to ride through the fall foliage. Here are some tips for encouraging kids to keep the fun rolling.

The Right Clothes for Fall Riding

There are some easy ways to keep your kids comfortable while riding but none as important as clothing. It’s easy to make the mistake of just bundling them up in heavy pants and hoodies, but that will only lead to them being cold in the long run. It’s better to reach for synthetic fabrics that wick moisture while insulating. Cotton will insulate, however it also absorbs sweat and will quickly leave your kids wet and cold. With a synthetic material, sweat is carried off the skin and allowed to evaporate quickly.

Fall

This ride might get cut short thanks to a cotton t-shirt and a lack of gloves. Keep warm and dry for fun fall rides.

Once you have your kids dressed well, take a moment to consider their hands and feet. Even if there is no wind, riding a bike at any speed will create a wind chill for the rider. Take special note of fingers and toes by wearing gloves and socks that are a bit heavier than the weather would normally call for.

The Right Trail Conditions

I know how tempting it is to try and squeeze every last moment of riding time out in the fall months. With that said, no kid will have fun if they are wet and cold. It’s best to avoid the trails if you have recently had rain. For one, the trails are more susceptible to damage and all that water is sure to find it’s place on your kids. A better idea is to enjoy the local bike paths that are paved and dry out quickly.

Wet pavement dries far faster than wet trails. Keep your kids happy and dry, by staying off wet trails.

Wet pavement dries far faster than wet trails. Keep your kids happy and dry, by staying off wet trails.

The Reward

I found the best way to encourage riding in less than perfect conditions is to shamelessly bribe my kids. If you can plan a destination, like a favorite burger joint or ice cream shop, your kids will usually be really excited to head out. If a destination isn’t possible, I like to put together a reward like hot chocolate once they get home. You will see that the Pavlovian effect takes hold after just a few tries.

Its Ice Cream Smiles Sunday around the world. Here in the Netherlands these young bikers stops along the canal route to enjoy a creamy cool treat before resuming her bicycle ride..

These young bikers stops along the canal route to enjoy a creamy cool treat before resuming her bicycle ride.

The best reasons

Finally, the best reason to enjoy the cooler months is that most others won’t. Having trails and paths to yourself is safer and allows everyone to focus more on each other. So whether you are heading into the woods, onto the roads, or just around the block, the fall is a perfect time to be with your family.

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