Tips for bicycling with children in cold winter months

     Layering is among the ways you can help keep children warm while bicycling during the cold winter months. (Dena Driscoll/for NewsWorks)

    Layering is among the ways you can help keep children warm while bicycling during the cold winter months. (Dena Driscoll/for NewsWorks)

    There are great resources available for winterizing your bike and yourself for the cold weather, but what to do when you add kids to the mix?

    This is my fourth winter riding with kids. Every year, people are shocked I ride with children during the winter.

    Yes, I do it and I have picked up some good tips and resources for winter riding along the way.

    Helpful winterized hints

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    Passengers tend to have cold heads and hands. Keeping heads warm is very important and, luckily, helmet inserts and balaclavas exist just for this!

    Helmet companies often make inserts to keep ears warm. You can find all types right at your local bike shop and online.

    To help protect faces, we use a combo of child-sized balaclavas and good old Vaseline to protect from wind and drying out.

    Layering is key for riders and kid cargo alike. I always dress kids in an extra layer than myself, as they aren’t physically doing much while the bike cuts through the winter air.

    Our whole family wears a lot of wool during winter riding. It is great natural fiber that keeps us warm and dry. Keep an extra set of mittens and socks with you, as they are the first items that kids tend to get wet.

    Cargo Box bikes often make rain covers which are great for sheltering the kids in the winter.

    I feel lucky to have one, but don’t worry: The easy DIY is reusing stroller equipment to protect kids on bike seats. “You Ain’t Got Jack” maps it all out for you.

    If you have a front-mounted seat, I recommend investing in a windscreen. They cut down on wind bearing down on the child and you can easily cover it with a stroller rain cover, too.

    Speaking of stroller accessories, a stroller snuggle bag works great on bike seats to keep kids toasty. Also, regular sleeping bags work great in a box bike or trailer.

    Top tip

    My favorite winter-riding tip, which comes by way of a Canadian pedaling father, is to give the kids hot water bottles. These reusable bottles are flat, inexpensive and help keep kids toasty warm. Both of mine snuggle with one in our bike. You can also easily refill them in any faucet that has hot water.

    Finally, budget for playtime!

    While you are working up a sweat biking, the kids are sitting pretty still. So, get those kiddos out to run and jump and enjoy that winter air, too.

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