Biking Gear for the Whole Family
We've gotten a few questions about the biking gear we've been sporting on our family bike rides, so here's the rundown. If you are just tuning in, you might also want to read up on how long Kelsey waited to purchase her bike (homegirl has patience!).
Our Biking Gear
You could probably get by with less, and the biking gear you choose for your family totally depends on your needs, your wants and the level of safety you wish to exercise (pun intended). Some links below are affiliate links.
- Linus Mixte 3: Again, you can read about Kelsey's purchase here, but she really looks great on this bike. Like, it-was-meant-for-her good. And I've been so pleasantly surprised that she loves riding it. She often requests family bikes rides and a couple times she's gone by herself for a quick run to the grocery store after Rooney goes to bed to pick up some food or a Redbox movie.
She wanted a city bike that was comfortable, easy to ride and super stylish. Her objectives are commuting to and from places of interest (the ice cream shop) and family bike rides. The internal gears are super slick and easy to use for her.
- Motobecane Phantom CX 61mm: I'm 6'2" so it was important for me to have a large frame. I ordered my bike from Bikesdirect.com. And, yes, it concerned me that their website is so shady-looking. But, I have a friend at work who ordered a bike from there as well and another biking friend who recommended this particular bike for the things I wanted to do.
I wanted a bike that I could use to cruise to the grocery store, to the farmer's market and on trails for family bike rides, but also something that I could take out with friends who have road bikes and somewhat keep up. If I had the money, I would totally also get a Linus similar to Kelsey's. Maybe someday. I've made some updates to my bike to make it more comfortable, including a new seat - the Linus touring saddle (eggshell), Ritchey adjustable rise stem (to raise the height of the handlebars) and Bontrager cork tape (the stuff that came with the bike was junk).
Here are some additional items that we felt were essential for biking as a family:
Kelsey and I grew up in small towns and we never wore helmets. It was pretty weird for us the first time we rode with them on. It felt so silly, but it's really necessary this day and age, especially riding around a big city.
- Kelsey's helmet: Sawako Ribbon Green
- Eric's helmet: Bern Macon Summer Matte
- Rooney's helmet: Bell Infant Sprout
We himmed and hawed about this for many moons before deciding on the rear-mount child carrier. It was between the rear-mount carrier and a trailer-style carrier; we didn't really consider any where the child rides in front of you, although they do look interesting, I feel like it would be hard to steer that way.
We had intended to put the seat on my bike, but for some reason the way it was positioned it was messing with my brakes. It's probably better for Roo to sit with Kelsey anyway so they can ride on Wednesdays.
- Rooney's seat: Copilot Taxi Child Bike Carrier
- Update 4/23/14: We have recently switched to a CoPilot Model A Double Bike Trailer for Rooney and any future kiddos that might come along. It's a two seater, and Rooney (30 lbs, two years old) was getting a bit heavy for Kelsey.
A must-have for riding at dawn, dusk or dark. We keep it simple with these: Bell Wo Light Set.
(Update 4/23/14: I recently purchased an actual headlight for night-time riding. I went with and LOVE the Light and Motion Urban 200)
Again, we grew up in small towns where jumping off your bike while it was still moving and heading for the pool diving board was common practice. So, locking up our bikes is still new. We went with simple cable locks.
- Water bottle: Polar Insulated 24 oz. to stay hydrated on the ride.
- Topeak tourist rear rack: I got this so I would be able to haul groceries and other goodies. I rode my bike to work one day last month (during Bike to Work Week) and needed a place to hold a few things like deodorant and cologne to spruce up once I got there, so I strapped my messenger bag on the rack and it was pretty slick.
- Repair tool kit: This includes spare tubes, tire levers, CO2 cartridges and a multi-tool.
- Under-saddle bag: Holds the repair tool kit mentioned above.
Probably more wants than needs, but I'd like a pannier for easy storage when I ride to work, or somewhere that requires me to carry stuff with me. I could use a backpack, but I sweat entirely too much for that to be a viable option. (I've asked for a pannier for Father's Day ;))
Kelsey needs a little pouch to keep her phone, cash and other small items as well. She has a basket that she got before her bike, and unfortunately it just doesn't fit the bike as well as we'd hoped.
This post was way longer than I originally thought it would be. When I started writing, I just kept thinking of all the little things we've had to get to make it easy for us to jump on our bikes and go somewhere.
What's your experience been with family bike rides?