31 March 2012
How to Cycle Safely with Baby
By: Tanya Fyfe (BEng(Environmental))
Enjoy the eco-friendly and healthy activity of cycling with baby by following these simple tips
Throughout my childhood I remember many happy hours at home on the farm, and on family holidays racing around on bicycles with my brothers. It was even more fun if our parents or grandparents came along and we were allowed to explore further afield.
Cycling is a fantastic eco-friendly family activity and form of exercise. Don’t assume that babies and their carers need to be excluded either. By investing in the correct equipment, you can easily and safely take your baby along for the ride!
The following options for cycling safely with baby each have their advantages and disadvantages. Ideally, see if you and bub can try out your preferred choice first to save investing in an option that may not necessarily work will for you. You may be able to hire a similar model or borrow one from a friend.
When our son Billy was younger, we went riding with him on our back in his Ergobaby carrier. I felt that he was safer strapped to us than the bike, and checked with our local police that this is legal. If might be wise to confirm this for your local area if you are interested in this option. As Billy got older however, he wasn’t so keen on cycling in the carrier. He seems to find the forward riding position less comfortable than the upright walking position, but this may be a personal thing. The main thing is that baby and parent are safe and comfortable!
Don’t forget that the usual cycling safety rules and precautions are all the more important if you have precious cargo. Wear helmets, use bike paths or stick to quiet roads and follow the road rules. Make yourself visible by wearing bright clothing and/or lights, protect everyone from the sun and keep a close eye on older children who are riding under their own steam.
If you would like to incorporate cycling into your family’s routine, here are a few ideas on how to get started:
- Ride to the shops, or to pick older children up from school (and reduce reliance on the family car)
- Plan family holidays closer to home (which also reduces your ecological footprint) and take the bikes along. Alternatively you may be able to hire bikes at your destination, but don’t forget to check that they can provide a bike seat or trailer if you intend to use these.
- Start a family tradition like a Sunday morning ride. You could vary the route, or always ride the same route and incorporate a treat like stopping at a special playground, taking a picnic or buying ice-creams.
About the Author: Tanya Fyfe is an eco mum and environmental engineer and lives in the WA Goldfields with her husband and son Billy. The family's aim is to live sustainably and for Billy to grow up understanding where food comes from and how it is produced. They generate solar electricity and have an organic vegetable garden and modest orchard irrigated entirely with grey water.