We’re in the month of December and if you’ve been having a tough time thinking about gifts for the family, here’s an idea from Ron Fritzke, a California Chiropractor. In this guest post he tells us how a bike trailer brings a family together, suggests which trailers are the best, and why!
Cycling adventures come in a variety of shapes and sizes. We love being out on our bicycles and, when there are no domestic obligations, it usually doesn’t pose much of a problem. But what’s a cycling couple to do once the kids start arriving, especially when they’re too small to keep up on a ride?
In the right circumstances (rides that aren’t weaving through the honking and bumping that occurs on city streets), a bike trailer may be your savior.
What Good Is A Bike Trailer?
- Bike trailers can start a pattern of the family doing things together rather than separately.
- Rides can be guilt-free, since there’s no issue of abandoning the spouse with the kids while going off on a solo ride.
- It’s nice to have companionship on long rides… and sometimes refreshing to ‘see’ a ride through the eyes of a little person.
- Taking the kid(s) along introduces them to a healthy lifestyle.
- You can even take along some of the extra gear that you wouldn’t have been able to stuff into your bike jersey.
Features To Consider In A Bike Trailer
High quality bike trailers are made of aluminum frames rather than steel. The best of them have suspension systems, so that in addition to the ‘give’ of the pneumatic tires and in the hammock-styled seats, there’s a suspension system to enhance your child’s riding experience.
The typical bike trailer, like the Burley D’lite, seats two, although there are models like the Burley Solo that are designed specifically for only one rider. Another commonality is the cargo space behind the passenger seats. This allows you to bring along all of that stuff that has to travel with a kid.
An interesting feature that the better bike trailers have is what’s called a ‘helmet pocket’. In the old days I’d look back into the trailer and see my kids sitting awkwardly with the back of their helmets up against the back of the seat… and their heads and necks kinked forward. Being a highly trained chiropractor, I quickly judged that this didn’t look very good for their necks.
Of course I didn’t let a little thing like the health of my kid’s spine shorten my outing. Besides, my kids had usually fallen asleep early into the ride anyway.
Back to helmet pockets. The better bike trailers currently have a space to accommodate the back of the little rider’s helmet. This is critical to the child’s ability to keep their head upright. It seems like such an obvious thing.
Bike Trailer Benefits
Let’s face it. Serious bike riding can be a self-centered sport. In that, I’m alluding to the many hours a cyclist spends out on the roads. This is all well and good until one becomes a parent.
Now the tension between a love for cycling and a desire to be a the best parent possible starts to rear its ugly head.
But let’s take a ‘glass half full’ approach to it and discuss some of the benefits to bringing the kids along on a bike ride.
If you’re still stuck on the ‘what’s in it for me?’ frame of mind, just think of all the extra stuff you can carry along for yourself in the storage compartment behind the seat of the bike trailer. 🙂
Having some company on the road (in the form of your toddler) can add a fresh new perspective on riding. Seeing the world through the eyes of little people can be refreshing.
In an era in which the population is becoming increasingly less fit, introducing young people to the joys of cycling can help to establish an ‘active’ lifestyle which may follow them throughout their lives.
How about the issue of families merely doing activities together? Recent studies indicate that many families don’t even eat their meals together. So in the spirit of sharing each other’s lives, getting the entire family out on the road for a bike ride can be important for the spirit of family unity.
And the benefits you’ll gain by taking your kids for rides may set up a parenting style that lasts long into the future. I know that I’m glad I did.
About the Author
Besides being a Chiropractor in Mount Shasta, California, Ron Fritzke is a cycling product reviewer with a passion for ‘all things cycling’. His time spent pulling his kids around in an old-school bike trailer are some of his fondest cycling memories.
Let’s thank Ron for this excellent contribution! I love how he’s emphasized how we can easily adjust our solo activities to involve our loved ones in order to build healthier relationships. Do you have any activities you’ve altered to include others and bond with them?