In your first year with baby, there aren't many places you'll go without your little one joining you for the ride. Whether you're popping to the shops or just fancy some fresh air, the chances are baby will be right there with you, taking in all the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. At this time, many parents decide to add a few bits and pieces to their bikes so they can strap baby in too and have another means of exercising and getting around.
Kicking off from the curb with your tiny passenger might not feel natural at first. However, there are plenty of cycle safety tips and tools that can help keep your little one safe and calm your nerves.
rear-mounted bike seats
If baby is going to ride on the bike with you, they need a sturdy seat that suits their size. Rear-mounted designs look a little like a car seat, with a high back and sides. They’ll keep your little one nice and comfy, even if they doze off mid-ride. Having an extra weight attached to your bike can take a bit of getting used to though, so you might feel a little wobbly to begin with.
front-mounted bike seats
These designs won't sort out your bike balance issues, but it's lovely to be able to see baby while you cycle. Front-mounted seats don’t normally have as high a back as the rear-mounted ones. However, some do feature a pad at the front for them to rest their weary head on if they fancy a nap. The downside is that your little one may outgrow this type of seat a bit quicker than other types since they're more compact.
These usually have two big wheels and a front arm that attaches to your bike. What's more, many trailers come with zip-up front windows, so your little one can see out while still being protected when it rains. You can also fit more than one child in them, although this does make them a bit heavy when you're trying to peddle uphill.
Now that their carriage awaits, here are a few cycle safety tips to read before either of you take a seat:
• only start cycling with baby once they're at least six months old. They need to be able sit and hold their head up unsupported
• buy a bike seat suitable for your little one's age, height and weight, with an adjustable safety harness
• make sure the seat adheres to the BSI number BS EN 14344:2004 safety standard and has footrests to keep baby's feet in a safe position
• check that baby's helmet fits correctly. It should sit snugly and cover most of their head. Make sure you tighten the straps so that it feels secure and can't move an inch
• if you choose a trailer, it’ll need a pennant and rear lights so that drivers can easily spot it
It’s a good idea to have a few short test runs before you set off on a longer journey. Both you and baby might need a bit of time to get used to riding together, but once you do there'll be no stopping you!