Taking your kids on a cycling vacation is a great way of either introducing them to or continuing a lifelong love of cycling. Creating a positive experience with them means they’re likely to continue cycling long into the future. It’s worth investing the time and potentially the money, ensuring they enjoy themselves as well as have a great family memory. So, we’ve got some tips and tricks to share to ensure your kids are excited about your cycling vacation.
1. Plan ahead
This is likely to be a given, but some people do like to have spontaneous vacations with little planning. For children, however, some structure and forewarning as well as having alternative options can help them feel at ease and start to get them excited. Plan how far you’re likely to cycle and include bail-out options so that if they’re not up to it on the day, they’re not pushed out of their comfort zones.
2. Get them involved in the planning
Go one step further with the planning and let the little ones plan your vacation with you. Show them lots of photos and various options and you may find out what it is they enjoy most. If they’ve chosen a route, they’ll likely be keener to finish it.
3. Or alternatively, keep it a surprise!
If you know they’re well and truly into the idea of a cycling vacation, the excitement might get the better of them if you tell them too in advance. You could leave it until the morning of your drive or your flight, meaning their excitement levels will be buzzing by the time you arrive at your destination and they’ll be raring to go but they won’t have missed any sleep staying up thinking about it!
4. Take them shopping
The perfect opportunity to get your kids excited for their cycling vacation would be during the purchase of their bike! Of course, it’s likely you’ll already have a bike so even buying a few extra useful items or things that they can play with whilst on vacation will be sure to get them excited.
5. Research the area
Research the kinds of facilities that are available along your routes and in doing so, you can find out where all the snack stops are likely to be. An important factor for your young people! If you know there’s an ice-cream shop half a mile away, you can coax them into pushing on and feeling a sense of achievement.
Alternatively, you may want to stop in a play park where they can do a different activity for a while before hopping back on the bike. This will build up their tolerance to sitting in the saddle without enduring long stints at once.
The most important one of all is knowing where the public toilets are. Whilst a nature wee is often OK, it can help to know if there’s a public toilet coming up for those busier rides. You could have all these points mapped out for them to see and point out various features on the map as you go.
6. Reminisce about a previous vacation
Maybe you’ve already been on a cycling vacation with your kids? Get out photos from that trip and share all the great memories you had, the food you ate, the beaches you visited and the ice creams you ate.
7. Go with friends
Not nearly as necessary as the previous points but could help with the motivation along the way. Having friends with similarly aged children may mean they’re more likely to want to impress and push on than if they are only with parents and siblings. Learning to encourage their friends whilst cycling can be a great life lesson too.
8. Have them help with the packing
Depending on what type of person you are, a good packing list and picking out your favourite cycling shorts is nothing short of bliss. The kids may well be the same. It’s unlikely but it is possible. Nonetheless, they might just enjoy helping out and preparing themselves for the vacation and it’s another opportunity to get them excited about the activities you’ll be doing.
9. Keep a scrapbook
Document the vacation from the outset, keeping paper copies of things that you could stick into a scrapbook. Let them colour it in or draw in it, predicting what they might see. Have them decorate the book ready to add in all your tickets, maps, sweets wrappers, etc. These will also help on a long car journey or flight, to keep them occupied.
10. Don’t worry if they’re not excited
Finally, don’t assume they’ll be excited about a cycling vacation. Just because it’s your one true love, doesn’t mean it has to be theirs. Of course, it would be nice to share your favourite form of vacationing with your little ones, so be sure to listen to them and you never know, they may grow up and end up loving it themselves!