Cycling with children

Holland is the ideal country for cycling with children. The many separate bicycle paths and flat terrain make cycling safe and effortless. And at easy distance there are many exciting things to do and see for the whole family. A simple cycle ride soon turns into one great adventure! Don't you want to bring your own bikes? You can rent children's bikes and child bike seats at all popular cycling destinations.
Cycling with the whole family is fun for all. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com

Cycling with the whole family is fun for all. Photo © Holland-Cycling.com

Modes of transport

The best way to take your family out on the bike much depends on how many children you have, their ages, development and how much they’re used to cycling. Here are the options that are readily available in Holland.

Non-pedalling passengers (age 0-5)

Although children start learning to ride the bike at an early age, it will take some time for them to be ready for the road. Until then you’ll be doing all the pedalling. Here are some options:

Rear or front-mounted child bike seat

If you’re carrying a child on the front or back of your bike, a bike seat is compulsory up to the age of 8 (see: Traffic rules & regulations for cyclists). Rear and front-mounted child bike seats that meet safety regulations are readily available, also if you’re renting a bike (see: Bicycle rental).

Take into account that long rides can be quite cold and uncomfortable for the child.

Maxi-Cosi baby carrier adaptor

For babies, there are special adapters that will allow you to transport a Maxi-Cosi baby carrier on your bike. The adaptor can be mounted on your front or rear rack. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of storage space. Unfortunately it offers little protection should anything go wrong.

Child bike trailer

The child bike trailer is ideal if you have more than one child or want to do longer rides. It offers protection against the weather and there is enough room to nap or play with toys. The child bike trailer is bulky, so storage is something you need to consider.

Cargo bike

The cargo bike is ideal if you have more than one child. It offers protection against the weather and there is enough room to nap or play with toys.  Cargo bikes come in all shapes and sizes. Stability can be an issue, so try out several models.

Cargo bikes are relatively heavy and usually have few gears. This makes them less suitable for cycling holidays. The cargo bike is bulky, so storage is something you need to consider.

 

Pedalling passengers (age 5-12)

Once your child has mastered the basics of cycling, it’s time to go out on the road together. Until your child has learnt road awareness and can cover longer distances, you can do part of the pedalling for them.

Trailer bike

The trailer bike is a great way of involving your child in the cycling process without having to worry about traffic safety. Your child only needs to pedal as much (or as little) as it wants and you do the rest. This means you can cover longer distances.

For very young children there is a recumbent version that will allow your child to nod off without falling off.

Convert your child’s bike into trailer bike

You can convert your child’s bike into a trailer bike using different systems, e.g. a special tow bar, or adaptor that lifts up the front wheel. It offers you the advantages of the trailer bike, with the added bonus that your child can cycle independently if desired.

Family tandem

The family tandem is a great way of involving your child in the cycling process without having to worry about traffic safety. Your child only needs to pedal as much (or as little) as it wants and you do the rest. This means you can cover longer distances.

The family tandem has room for more than one child and is suitable for different ages.

 

Tips for cycling with your child through traffic

  • Make sure your child cycles on the inside, so you’re between your child and the other traffic.
  • Always keep an eye on your child. If your child cycles in front, you can see what it’s doing - shouting directions at a child you can’t see is not exactly helpful...