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May is National Bike Month: Spin Your Wheels As a Family

Resources and tips for getting rolling with the kids.

Joshua Huston


If you aren't already the family that stays together by cycling together, now’s the perfect time to give it a whirl. With local cycling clubs and family groups leading the charge, it’s easier than ever to pedal to a new happy place. Don’t let the hills, busy streets or even lack of gear deter you — we'll show you how to get ready to roll.


Getting Started


If you're apprehensive about family biking, it helps to have an attitude of trial and resilience. You have to learn what works best for you and you have to discover what’s bikeable—be adventurous! It will pay off.

Consider carrying your little ones in child seats before graduating to a cargo trailer. Both take some getting used to, so you will want to practice to get a feel for shifts in weight and balance, the distance between you and the end of the trailer, and how long it takes to brake.

Seattle abounds in family biking programs. Familybike Seattle offers a wealth of resources, including bike expos, seminars and a full rental fleet. They also organize Kidical Mass rides, where all manner of bikes, trailers, tandems, and trikes are welcome. Pedalheads offers bike safety and skills programs for kids age 2 to 12, including summer camps, and Cascade Bicycle Club offers classes as well.


Finding the Right Gear


There’s no need to rush out and buy a bunch of new biking gear, but when you are thinking about looking, head to G & O Family Cyclery in Greenwood—many cyclists tout it as the best spot to shop and try out new equipment. The Seattle Family Biking Facebook Group is another great resource. Here, find out about family meetups where you can test ride various equipment, or post a message to the group about what you’re looking for. 


Where to Go


City and regional bike maps are available on the Cascade Bicycle Club website. Other family friendly spots include the Burke-Gilman Trail, Bicycle Sundays (select Sundays in summer along Lake Washington Boulevard) and for kids looking to try out mountain biking, the I-5 Colonnade Mountain Bike Skills Park.


Happening This Month...


Bike to School Day, May 9


Celebrate on Bike to School Day, Wednesday, May 9th. Cascade Bicycle Club hosts friendly statewide Bike to School competition for elementary, middle, and high school students for the entire month of May where students can track their bike riding to earn cool prizes and promote active transportation in their communities. If you can't bike all month long, at least celebrate today! On Bike to School Day in 2017 a reported total of 3,317 students rode their bikes. Check out the information on the Cascade Bicycle Club website to find out how to host at your school, get students registered, be safe and earn cool prizes.


Finn Hill Family Bike Ride, May 13


Spend Mother's Day at this family-friendly event. There will be a bike safety check, kids bike swap, and an easy roll around the neighborhood on low-speed, low-traffic residential streets. The first hour (1-2pm) will be for a kids bike swap and bike safety check, the second hour (2-3pm) will be the ride, the third hour (3-4pm) will be for picnicking, socializing and playing back at the park. No training wheels, younger riders on their own bikes can stay at the park with parents to roll around.


Bike Month Party, May 18


Join the fun and other cycling enthusiasts at Peddler Brewing Company in their Beer Garden to cheers another extraordinary Bike Everywhere Day and celebrate the best way to get around – by bike! Vendors will include Washington Bike Law, Electric and Folding Bikes Northwest,Telaio Wool Bicycling Clothing, Swift.Industries, Rad Power Bikes, Commute Seattle, Chrome Industries and more. Cycle Dogs food truck will be on hand for bites, and riders of all ages, abilities and styles are welcome at the celebration.


Bicycle Sundays, May 20


On Sunday, May 20th, Bicycle Sunday returns along the shore of Lake Washington. Families can enjoy the four-mile stretch of Lake Washington Boulevard between Mount Baker Beach and Seward Park, car-free! LimeBikes will provide free rides during all bicycle Sundays. For a list of upcoming dates running through September, be sure to check the City of Seattle’s website.


Kidical Mass Ride, May 26


Meet at Gasworks Park and ride to the Ballard Locks for a potluck picnic. The ride will go along the Burke Gilman until reaching the Missing Link where it will move onto the street. This is a busy road so you may wish to scoop up your little ones and carry them for this segment. Kidical Mass is a fun, safe, easy-going, family bike ride for kids of all ages. There are informal ride leaders and “sweepers” who travel slowly making sure no one is left behind, and they have fun! And ding their bells a lot. And generally whoop it up.


Kohl’s Helmet Safety Program at Seattle Children’s


Kohls and Seattle Children's are working to get more kids and teens into properly fit helmets through their Safety Program. Traveling Washington state, they provide free helmet fittings and giveaways for children year-round, and teach parents and kids how to properly fit every helmet they give away. Free bike helmets are available for children 1 to 18 years old. One helmet per child, and wearers must be present and be fitted to receive a helmet. Quantities are limited. First come, first served. No appointments needed. Check the Seattle Children's website for dates.


Related: Beyond the Burke-Gilman: Kid-friendly bike trails to explore

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