How to keep cycling all winter long – with happy kids!

Cycling in winter tips
Our fantastic Babboe Mountain Silm Cargo Bike can be ridden all year round!

 

The cold weather, somewhat relentless rain and short days means that summer is a distant memory. As the temperature drops, and with forecasters cheerily predicting the coldest winter for decades (early 2020 is supposed to bring snow and ice) getting out and about on our Babboe cargo bike is a little more challenging than it was in the summer months. But, unless it’s tipping it down with rain, then we still like to do the school run on our Babboe Mountain Slim. After all, on a cold, crisp morning, there really is no better way to get around.

If you’re planning a family cycling holiday, take a look at these top tips to plan the perfect family bike trip

 

Winter cycling

That said, cycling in winter is different to cycling in summer. Not only do you have different weather conditions to contend with, the very short days means that cycling anytime after 4pm, requires some preparation. Here then, are some tips for winter cycling that include keeping the kids happy when they’d rather be tucked up under the duvet!

Disclosure: We were gifted our Babboe Mountain Slim Cargo Bike for the purpose of this review. All opinions are entirely my own. This post may contain affiliate and commercial links. If you make a purchase or booking after clicking on the link then globetotting receives a small commission; if you don’t then we don’t! These are not pay-per-click links. For more information see our disclosure policy.

 

The right clothing for cycling in winter

As the expression goes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”. This saying is as relevant to winter cycling as it is to any outdoor activity. Keeping the kids – and yourself – warm is the major battle in getting everyone onto the Babboe bike with a smile on their faces. In terms of what the kids should be wearing for winter bike commuting, let’s start at the top and work down.

 

Helmets

I am assuming everyone using the bike will be wearing a cycle helmet, so you may want to consider a warm layer to fit underneath to keep head and ears warm. There are various options on the market but for adults the FWE Kennington Windproof Beanie and the Gore C3 Windstopper Helmet Cap are good choices. The winter cycling range for kids, particularly little ones, in specialist bike shops is not great. Endura and Gore have options but sizing choices are limited; a better bet will be something like Peter Storm’s Thinsulate Fleece Beanie or the Chamoix II Reversible Kids Beanie, which will fit comfortably under the helmet. If you are happy to spend a bit more, Polarn O. Pyret have some fun options too. And if the weather is properly Baltic and you are happy to brave the conditions, the above brands also stock balaclavas. Failing that, a scarf or snood will always be helpful.

 

Gloves

Next up, hands. A good set of mittens is key to keeping kids happy when cycling during winter months. Especially if they have a nice fleecy or fluffy lining. From the specialist brands the Endura Kids Hummvee Glove II is a good option but is perhaps a little much for the school run. Mountain Warehouse stock a great range of gloves and mittens, along with Dare2B. Again, if the budget stretches Polarn o.Pyret or North Face have excellent options.

 

Poncho

On the basis that your kids have warm jackets, a poncho to go over the top is a consideration if there is rain in the air. Babboe have their own poncho range, while the Quechua Arpenaz 10 Litre Kid’s Waterproof Poncho is designed to accommodate a backpack too, full of all that wonderful schoolwork.

 

Base Layers

So if the head, ears and hands are covered, warm jackets are on and ponchos are at the ready, the final element to consider will be whether a base layer is necessary. If the thermometer is tickling zero then a base layer may be a good call anyway, regardless of whether you are going cycling. There are numerous brands in this space, such as Patagonia and Oslo but Kipsta and Wedze are worth a look.

 

Cycling in the dark

With winter comes shorter days and nights, increasing the importance of visibility for you and your passengers. Babboe has a great array of reflective stickers for their cargo bikes with the kids getting the fun of decorating the bike. For both adults and kids, specialist bike shops are the probably the best bet in terms of reflective clothing with Altura offering options for most sizes. The lights on the Babboe Mountain Slim cargo bike are very good but if you want to add additional lights, again, head to your local bike shop.

 

Road Conditions

So you are replete with enthusiasm, buoyed by the crisp winter conditions and the prospect of putting colour into your cheeks, everyone is wrapped up warm and gloriously visible, all that remains is the application of common sense. Snow and ice on a bike are as troublesome as they are for a car. The ability to control the bike drops dramatically and it may be best to consider other options. Likely the kids will have a snow day anyway so a walk to the local park to make snowmen and have a snowball fight is probably the best bet!

 

Keeping the kids happy!

My husband needs little encouragement to head out on the Babboe bike in all conditions however, the same is not necessarily true of the kids! Boundless enthusiasm and energy are invariably required to convince the children that a fresh cycle ride to or from school is so much better than sitting in a warm car. If all enthusiastic attempts at cajoling them fails, then bribing them with sweets or biscuits tends to work!

2 thoughts on “How to keep cycling all winter long – with happy kids!”

  1. Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me)

    This sounds like a super-fun way to get to school! Especially with the sweet bribes 🙂

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