Synonymous with freedom, nature and a great getaway, bikepacking is not just for the solitary cyclist looking for the magic of the great outdoors. This discipline can also turn into a family adventure and be shared with your children. But affording a bikepacking trip with children requires a little more logistics and special equipment to ensure the comfort of young and old alike.
Saddlebags, accessories, bags, trailer…, what are the most suitable solutions for bikepacking with your children? How to organize? Here are some tips and advice for traveling by bike with the family and with peace of mind!
Bikepacking with your child: which bike to choose?
Choose your equipment as well as the type of bike according to the age of your child. If he is not yet old enough to pedal, opt for a child bike trailer . Choose a model with a structure specially adapted for roaming and invest in a suitable lighting system at the rear so that the trailer is clearly visible.
Another ideal option for slightly older children (and who are starting to tickle the pedals!) Is the Follow Me Tandem . Ideal for family bikepacking, this secure hitch system gives your child the freedom to pedal and be active. It nevertheless spares you the soup with the grimace when fatigue sets in and the urge to pedal become timider.
Very maneuverable, Weeho trailers with their single- wheel structure are thus perfectly suited to cycling on trails and forest paths. For additional storage, bet on the Weeho Igo Venture model equipped with saddlebags.
Is your child independent and old enough to pedal alone like an adult? Invest in a comfortable bike that is the right size so that it too enjoys the freedom to pedal on its own! However, adapt the distances and routes of your family bikepacking adventure.
On the safety side, don’t forget to protect your head and that of your children with a helmet! Even if they are installed in a trailer!
The choice of equipment for bikepacking with the family
Just like the bike, think about the equipment and accessories you are going to need. Even if the key word remains to travel light, you have to adapt the rest of your equipment. You will be carrying not only your belongings but those of your children. So it deserves a little organization!
First make a list of essential items (first aid kit, toiletries, water containers, easy-to-eat snacks, rain gear, etc.). Ideally, put them on the floor to see if nothing is missing, and estimate the number of saddlebags you will need.
Additional storage to carry the family’s belongings
So we put on waterproof handlebar, saddle and frame bags (always!) And we balance the weight on our bike. N e not overload your bike and distribute the weight well .
Need more storage? An additional trailer will allow you to store some additional belongings! You can thus choose to attach to your bicycle a single-wheel bicycle trailers for travelers such as the Brave extrawheel trailer.
Survival kit to keep your children busy during an off-road cycling holiday
In addition to the essential equipment for your bikepacking, don’t forget that your children will also have to be occupied when you ride, during breaks, or when you have free time in the evening!
So slip into your saddlebags:
- some mini board games and his favorite toys
- the blanket (essential!)
- pencils or markers and a small notebook so that they can draw what they have seen during the day
- a swimsuit for a little improvised splash in a pond
- an oilcloth or a pareo to put on the ground for the picnic or the snack break
- small plastic boxes to store the finds of the day (the little shining pebble, a pretty feather or a shell picked up by the sea)
Bikepacking with the family: tips for adapting and preparing for your trip
To ensure the comfort and safety of your children during a bikepacking trip , adapt not only your trip, but also your cycling experience and your way of pedaling. Because if the unforeseen is also the magic of bikepacking, they can also become the nightmare of parents and children!
Our practical advice before going on an adventure:
- Start gradually. Do not impose on your children a bikepacking holiday before having extended your bike rides.
- To introduce you to bikepacking with the family, opt for nearby destinations in France rather than going to the other side of the world!
- Have you chosen to sleep under the stars? Avoid wild camping and find cool spots with nearby play areas, or activities (visit to a farm, a fortified castle, etc.)
- If you chose the Follow Me Tandem option or add a trailer to your bike, practice turning and rolling with it before setting off on a bikepacking. The same goes for bags and accessories that increase the weight of the bike, test before to find the best configuration for riding.
- Check your equipment carefully before setting off, especially the mounts on your trailer or the bicycle drawbar.
- If your children are a little older, involve them in the preparations. Ask them what they want to see or do, or the destination of their dreams.
- When making your itinerary, try to spot farms or play areas to make the break even more fun!
Tips for a bike trip off the beaten track with the family:
- Limit your speed and avoid too steep sections.
- Take regular breaks. Ask your children regularly if everything is going well. In the effort or absorbed by the magic of the landscape, we sometimes tend to forget the rest of the world!
- To avoid boredom, arouse the curiosity of your children. Stop if the landscape is monotonous as soon as there is something that might interest them (colorful house, odd-shaped rock, meadow with cows, funny village name…). And then, it also allows you to rest!
- Offer to make a herbarium with the plants of the region. In the saddle, ask your child to recognize trees and plants. It occupies!
- Reduce the distances and the number of hours of pedaling. Plan around 3 to 4 hours of pedaling per day, or about 15 / 20km per day to start.
- Do not pedal forcefully as you risk exhausting yourself more quickly, especially if you have chosen the trailer option. Bet on a flexible pace with less resistance!