Can babies go on bikes?

Well obviously! But there are things worth knowing before you start clipping on the baby helmet. This post is by Nicola Baird, do also have a look at Amazon if you want to buy a copy of her book Homemade Kids.

When to start?
Anyone who regularly cycles before having a baby is likely to find it easier getting going again after having a baby. I cycled constantly during both my pregnancies into the 9th month (it guaranteed me a seat which going on the tube/bus did not!) but there were times when it was uncomfortable. Even now I can recall the feel of a foetal foot sticking painfully into my rib cage, then bladder. When my daughters were born (two years 9 months apart) I found reclaiming my bike was the only time I had on my own and I loved it. But by the time Lola was 9 months and sitting up well I’d found a 2nd hand bike seat, got it attached to my bike and started cycling local journeys with her.

The first one was a disaster – it was quite nippy and so my hands were cold which meant that I managed to catch her skin as I clipped the helmet chinstrap on. I’ve never done that again. But I also learnt to seat the baby on a cushion(making the bike seat a better shock absorber), attach a favourite toy on a shoelace for her to chat to, stop whenever I cycled past something interesting (eg, dog, fountain, winter-flowering roses, police horse) and dress her in more clothes than you’d think she’d need.

Rosa is just 7 weeks and out cycling with mum and dad.

Rebecca – one of the brilliant mums quoted in Homemade Kids – took her daughter out weeks after she was born by adapting a car seat and fitting it securely to the back of her bike. You could do the same using a bike trailer.

You could try a bike trailer/buggy
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Oli, not yet a year, comfy in his buggy/bike trailer.

Another inspiring mum Jude, also quoted in my book Homemade Kids, researched babies and bikes on the internet and ended up getting a fab Canadian model which converts from bike trailer into push chair.

 

Front seat plus trailer - great fun for getting around, and a fundraiser.

Three on the bike
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Older children also love lording it in bike trailers, bike buckets and rickshaws. You can try these out on holidays (eg, CentreParcs) or rent from a bike shop (especially if you think your little one will fall asleep on a tag along tandem). Have a look at Sustrans, London Cycling Campaign and any other cycle site for ideas. And if you see someone cycling with young children try asking them what they recommend, or where to find it…

There are loads of suggestions about ways to cycle with a baby or more than one child in my book on page 207. But if you’ve got some ideas or questions please just ping it over. Here’s to a fun time on wheels with your little ones. Nicola x

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5 Comments on “Can babies go on bikes?”

  1. stacy Says:

    This was really interesting. I appreciate the photos too. Everything I found on the internet said that they should be at least 2 years old and there are a lot of warnings/studies about safety/hazards that scared me from trying. Then I found out that there is a new law hear in Japan that babies need to be at least 2 to ride on the back on a seat. Younger ones can ride in deep seat set between long handlebars (special bike) like this: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/09/08/0824_worlds_coolest_bikes/7.htm
    (but I have a nice bike so will just wait til next year to use my rear seat)

    • homemadekids Says:

      Hi Stacy, so much depends on where you live. There’s a really inspiring set of pix from an amazed onlooker at this blog, http://hpals.blogspot.com/2009/08/babies-on-bicycles.html. In Holland and Germany cycling is normal – and it’s often in lanes separated from other traffic. In Oz helmets are obligatory, they aren’t in the UK. In Thailand whole families get on a bike, in America they’d be arrested. One tip is to get your toddler enjoying indpendence – bit early for Joji – is the pedalless bike (eg, strider bike, likeabike) which kids adore once they’ve got the hang of it. Two days ago I saw a bike with a buggy clipped to it so both could be used or moved from A-B (eg, home to nursery). For positive encouragement to take a baby on a bike read the Dutch and Germany sites where it’s normal and Jo/e Super Scared/Super Angry won’t be pumping you up with cycle fear. Nicola

  2. Gemma Says:

    Aww, thats SHO Cute! I’m way to clumsy to do that though. I waited until I could buy kids bikes and then let them ride along with me.

    Maybe I’m just freakishly paranoid? Fantastic pics!

    • homemadekids Says:

      Hi Gemma, of course, that’s the other option… wait until the children can ride their own bikes. And obviously the pedal-free versions get them on their own bike sooner. One of my toddler-aged daughters was so good on a Likeabike that I reckon she could have entered it as an Olympic sport. It’s a shame no one seems to makes adult sized pedal-free bikes! Nicola

      • Gemma Says:

        When it comes to kids bicycles they are always more innovative! Hehe =)

        My little girl also actively spends hours on her balance bike! It’s amazing. My older boy hardly rode his bike and lamented when his younger sis got a “cool” toy. Thanks again!


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