Nov 08 , 2022
Winter is just around the corner, despite England enjoying a very mild autumn so far (apart from terrific downpours every now and then!) With dark mornings, dark evenings and the sun retreating to the south along with the birds, it’s going to get colder, soon… What does that mean for budding cyclists?
The prospect of a cold, wet school run might make you reach for the car keys, or grey and windy weekends might tempt you onto the X-Box (other gaming consoles are available), but your and your children’s love of cycling needn’t be dampened by the weather with our tips for preserving the fun of cycling with kids in winter.
Be safe – be seen
Even the merest spot of rain or cloud covering can significantly reduce visibility of you as a cyclist. Not only that, but when other road users are trying to beat the weather, concentration might lapse too. Kit yourself out in reflective, light-coloured gear, add lights and more reflectors to your bike and encourage your children to do the same by adding some playful, fun reflectors to their clothes, seat, or bike, and involving them in changing batteries and fitting.
Some lights attach to helmets, and some could rival a car’s headlights! But whichever you choose, choose carefully, make sure they are well fixed, and the batteries are always healthy.
Stay warm and that’s half the battle won
If kids get cold and wet on a bike ride, you can guarantee they’ll be put off climbing into the saddle next time! It’s a lot to ask of a single piece of clothing to keep you warm, without overheating, dry, comfortable and still allow freedom of movement. That’s why we recommend investing in a few pieces that can be layered, and easily removed if necessary.
Hands (and chins for that matter), tend to take the brunt of the cold morning air on the way to school.
Kids are less likely to put up with this sort of discomfort, so some good windproof, and waterproof gloves are essential if you want to get them back on the bike for the ride home later. Proviz have some hi-vis waterproof gloves for around £30, or check out Tredz Junior Winter Mittens for half that.
Buffs, multi-tubes and snoods
And speaking of cold chins, heat is also lost through the face and head, even when wearing a cycling helmet. Investing in a buff, snood or balaclava to add an extra layer of comfort and warmth can go a long way to making those bike rides last longer into the winter.
Older kids might prefer to stick with a skull cap, which will also keep their ears covered. A quick online search will produce plenty of choice and a range of prices, or you could have a look at the advice from Cycle Sprogs.
Aside from the style and colour of your choice of headgear, it just needs to allow proper fitting of the helmet on top. How happy is this little chap?!👆
Base layers and outer layers
Layers are essential in autumn, winter and into spring. You might start off in the cold and dark, but a little sun and some cycling effort can soon have you overheating. If your little one is in a child seat, bulky padded clothing can impede safety straps but luckily the Feva Star Seat is very easy to adjust…
Choose merino wool or technical fabrics to move sweat away from the skin’s surface as base layers, adding an anorak or lightweight hi-vis cycling jacket on the top, and we’d advise packing some waterproof trousers too, because you really never know…
Something of a treat
A flask of warm squash or hot chocolate has never been refused in our experience! Arriving at school to the whiff of a warming drink could be the payoff for starting the school run by bike… Whatever it is that brings comfort to a youngster after a chilly ride, whether it’s on the way to school, or on a stop-off at the weekend, treat them, and yourself to a little winter warmer in the tummy!
Switch up your logistics
What with the added layers, extra treats in the rucksack and possibly slower journey in the poor light, it’s worth preparing your kit a bit earlier. There’s nothing to put the dampeners son a bike ride than rushing about and being late.
Give yourself and your little ones, plenty of time to get ready (and to de-robe at the other end for that matter).
Do you still ride with your kids at this time of year? Post us a picture with your groovy gear and lit lights, and tag it with #FevaStarSeat, so we can try them out. Thanks, and have a safe winter on the bikes 😊