Cycling with Children

Find out reasons for cycling with children, how to carry them on your bike, and your needs when riding as a family. 


There are lots of brilliant benefits to cycling with children. Here are a few, can you think of others? 

  • Speed. People who cycle will often get there faster than people who drive, especially within the city over a distance of 5-10 km.

  • Cost. There are fewer ongoing costs compared to using a car or transit. 

  • Easier Parking. It's so much easier, closer, and often cheaper to find parking for a bike than it is to find parking for a car.

  • Environmentally friendly. It’s better for the planet, and you build a greater connection to nature around you.

  • Good for you! There are benefits to you and your children’s physical and mental health.

  • Social. It can be a social activity - you're able to stop and talk to people you pass along the way, as well as other people riding their bike. 

  • Long-term benefits. You can help build positive habits to encourage your children’s regular physical activity. 

  • Community-focused. It can create a positive connection for children with their community.

  • It’s fun!

Options for carrying children on your bike

  • Front seats. For children aged 1-3 years old and can carry children that weigh up to 35 pounds. You can chat with your child while you’re cycling, they can see where they’re going, and it’s easy to get on and off the bike. It may affect your steering and balance. 

  • Rear seats. For children aged 1-7 years old, and can carry children that weigh up to 45 or 75 pounds (depending on which seat you buy). These are of great value, and widely available, and children can recline and nap while riding. It’s not as easy to chat with your child and they can’t see where the bike is going as easily. 

  • Trailers. For children aged 1-7 years old and can carry children that weigh up to 100 pounds. You can carry things in addition to your child, they’re protected from the elements, and trailers can be adapted to carry younger children. They can be heavy to tow and require additional space to store when not in use. 

  • Cargo bikes. These are for anyone aged from 1 to 80+, they can carry up to 440 pounds! They can be a real replacement for a vehicle and can carry several children as well as other things, they have great resale value. They can be expensive, are at higher risk of being stolen, and they take up more space to store.

Factors to consider when deciding on the best type of way to carry children on your bike:

  • What is the temperament of your child(ren)?

  • What bike and gear do you currently have?

  • How many children do you want to transport on your bike?

  • What are the size, age, and abilities of your child(ren)?

  • What is your ability level?

  • What space do you have available to store your bike?

  • Do you have other things that you would like to carry on your bike?

  • What weather are you planning to ride in?

  • What is your budget?

Your needs when riding as a family

The need to MOVE.  As a cyclist, you need to be able to react to other road users & road conditions, so it’s important to leave yourself as much space as possible, and avoid squeezing between other road users so that you are able to move where necessary. 

The need to be SEEN.  Cyclists are one of the smaller and less visible users of the road, therefore, you want to place yourself in the sightline of other road users as much as possible and stay out of blind spots. Bright or reflective clothing and lights will help! 

The need to be CLEAR.  You should use all tools at your disposal (hand signals, bells, horns, eye contact, and body language) to communicate clearly with others.

The need to do what is EXPECTED. What you do on the road should never be a surprise to anyone. That means following the rules of the road,  and riding in straight lines wherever possible. 

What's next?

Make sure to have a read of our other web resource pages on e-biking, route-planning, cycling with children, basic bike maintenance, and cycling in the fall and winter. We also have a HUB resource page that has a lot of helpful information about cycling in Metro Vancouver

If you want to take your learning a step further, check out our free StreetWise Cycling Online resource that can help you begin your cycling journey with confidence. 

Our webinars take place throughout the summer, check here for recordings of them in the meantime. You can learn more about riding with children in our Biking with Children webinar. 

Want to take a cycling course in person? We run courses for the general public and can also run courses for your workplace or community.