Synonymous with freedom, nature and beautiful escape, bikepacking is not reserved for the lone cyclist in search of the magic of the great outdoors. This discipline can also turn into a family adventure and be shared with your children. But offering a bikepacking trip with children requires a little more logistics and special equipment to ensure the comfort of young and old. Bags, accessories, bags, trailer… what are the most suitable solutions for bikepacking with your children? How to organize? Here are our tips and tricks for traveling with your family by bike and with your peace of mind!
Bikepacking with your child: which bike to choose?
Choose your equipment and the type of bike according to the age of your child. If he’s not yet old enough to pedal, opt for a child bike trailer. Choose a model whose structure is specially adapted to roaming and invest in an adequate rear lighting system so that the trailer is clearly visible.
Another great option for slightly older kids (who are starting to tickle the pedals!) Is the Follow Me Tandem. Ideal for family bikepacking, this secure coupling system gives your child the freedom to pedal and be active. However, it saves you the grimace soup when fatigue sets in and the urge to pedal becomes more timid.
Very handy, the Weeho trailers with their single-wheel structure are thus perfectly suited to cycling on forest trails and paths. For additional storage, opt for the Weeho Igo Venture model equipped with saddlebags.
Is your child independent and old enough to pedal alone like a grown-up? Invest in a comfortable bike and its size so that it too benefits from the freedom to pedal alone! However, adapt the distances and routes of your family adventure in bikepacking.
On the safety side, don't forget to protect your head and that of your children with a helmet! Even if they’re in a trailer!
>> READ: The complete guide to bicycle transport solutions for children
The choice of equipment for family bikepacking
Just like the bicycle, think about the equipment and accessories you will need. Even if the key word remains to travel light, it is necessary adapt the rest of your equipment. You will transport not only your belongings, but those of your children. So it deserves a little organization! First make a list of essential items (first aid kit, toiletries, water cans, easy-to-eat snacks, rain gear, etc.). Ideally, put them on the floor to see if nothing is missing, and estimate the number of saddlebags you will need.
Additional storage to carry the whole family's belongings
We therefore put on hanger, saddle and waterproof saddlebag (always!) And balance the weight on our bike. NOTDo not overload your bike and distribute the weight well.
Need more storage? An additional trailer will allow you to store some additional items! You can thus choose to attach to your bike a single wheel bicycle trailer for traveler like the Brave extrawheel trailer.
>> READ: Bicycle bags on handlebars to transport your small belongings by bicycle
Survival kit to keep your kids occupied during an off-road cycling holiday
In addition to the essential equipment for your bikepacking, do not forget that you will also have to keep your children busy when you ride, during breaks, or when you have free time in the evening!
So slip into your bags:
- some board mini-games and his favorite toys
- the comforter (essential!)
- pencils or markers and a small notebook for them to draw what they could see during the day
- a swimsuit for an improvised splash in a pond
- an oilcloth or sarong to put on the ground for a picnic or a tea break
- small plastic boxes for storing the finds of the day (the shiny little pebble, a pretty feather or a seashell picked up by the sea)
Family bikepacking: tips for adapting and preparing for your trip
For ensure the comfort and safety of your children during a bikepacking stay, adapt not only your trip, but also your cycling practice and the way you pedal. Because if the unexpected also makes the magic of bikepacking, it can also become the nightmare of parents and children!
Our practical advice before setting off on an adventure:
- Start gradually. Do not force your children to go on a bikepacking holiday before having extended their bike rides.
- To get started with family bikepacking, bet on nearby destinations in France rather than going to the other end of the world!
- Have you chosen to sleep under the stars? Avoid wilderness camping and find cool spots with nearby play areas, or activities (visit to a farm, a fortified castle, etc.)
- If you chose the Follow Me Tandem option or to add a trailer to your bike, practice turning and riding with it before going bikepacking. Same for the bags and accessories that increase the weight of the bike, test before to find the best configuration for riding.
- Check your equipment carefully before leaving, especially the attachments of your trailer or the bike drawbar.
- If your children are a little older, involve them in the preparations. Ask them what they want to see or do, or where they want to be.
- When making your route, try to locate farms or play areas to make the break even more fun!
>> READ: Tips for getting started in cycle tourism
Tips for a family bike trip off the beaten track:
- Limit your speed and avoid too steep passages.
- Take regular breaks. Regularly ask your children if all is well. In the effort or absorbed by the magic of the landscape, we sometimes tend to forget the rest of the world!
- To avoid boredom, arouse the curiosity of your children. Stop if the landscape is monotonous as soon as there is something that might interest them (colorful house, rock with a strange shape, meadow with cows, funny village name …). And then, it also allows you to rest!
- Suggest that he make a herbarium with plants from the region. In the saddle, ask your child to recognize the trees and plants. It occupies!
- Reduce the distances and the number of hours of pedaling. Plan about 3 to 4 hours of pedaling per day, or about 15 / 20km per day to start.
- Do not pedal in force, otherwise you will exhaust yourself more quickly, especially if you have chosen the trailer option. Bet on a flexible pace with less resistance!
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