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Including Young Children in Family Cycling

Peter Kuperman

As the founder and CEO, Peter Kuperman oversees the operations of Hatch Canada, a computer science learning center. Outside of work, Peter Kuperman enjoys cycling with his family.

Bringing young children along for bike rides is fun, encourages them to cycle, and can be done safely. When a child is too young to ride his or her own bicycle, he or she can ride along in a child seat or a bike trailer or on a trail-a-bike. Each approach has its pros and cons.
Front- or rear-mounted child seats are available for children who weigh less than 40 pounds. Babies should not come on a ride until they can support their own heads and sit up. These seats are durable and have many safety features, including a high back to protect their fragile necks and heads. However, if the bike goes down for any reason, the child falls too.
Bike trailers are relatively stable and easy to steer, and they can often hold more than one child. They also make it easy to transport gear or pets when not carrying a child. Bike trailers are unique in that if the parent and the bicycle fall, the trailer will usually remain upright so the child does not crash too. However, the low profile of the trailer makes it slightly less visible to drivers.
Children aged four to seven who can use a tricycle or balance bike on their own can ride trail-a-bikes. These half-bicycles mount on the parent’s seat post or rear rack. This lets the child get used to cycling and build up pedaling stamina while still relying on the parent for braking, gearing, and balance.

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