Family cycling holidays are a great way to connect with nature and landscapes, all while going at your own pace and sharing moments of complicity. The cycling routes are part of a slow tourism approach, that is to say that we take the time to appreciate every detail of the environment that surrounds us and to refocus on the simple pleasures of the life. In France, there are a multitude of routes to follow as a family. You can just as easily walk along the coast of Hauts-de-France and Brittany as go along the Loire to stop in historic villages and at the foot of the great castles. Not to mention the slightly more sporty cycling trips such as the one that leads to the heart of the Auvergne mountains. While the summer season is here and
1- Define the route
The first thing to do when planning a family cycling vacation is to make sure the children are perfectly comfortable on their two-wheelers. Then they must be able to follow a route, find a constant pace, but also understand road signs. To do this, do not hesitate before the holidays to carry out some revisions of the main panels. Fun exercises are available on the Internet and this is a point that should not be overlooked because their safety is at stake.
Then, the route that we choose to ride with the family must of course be adapted to all cyclists. When traveling by bike with children, it is best to take roads without too much difference in height so that they do not run out too quickly. For this, the website of the French Cycling Federation brings together several routes to give us ideas. There is also a color code, as in the mountains. With children, we prefer the very easy to easy level course, ie green and blue. For everyone’s comfort, you should know that a 12-year-old child can rarely go beyond 40 km per day, 30 km if he is a little younger. And then, while following the road, you must not forget to take breaks and take your mind off things. A bicycle route for the holidays is not just pedaling all day long, it is also making stops in pretty green areas to share a picnic, stop in a village for a refreshment , visit a monument, fish or take a break at the edge of a lake fitted out for swimming. It is from
2- Respect the Highway Code and pay attention to other users
As mentioned above, compliance with the Highway Code is essential for everyone’s safety. Even if you take a cycle path or a Green Lane prohibited for cars, you must respect the regulations such as stopping at red lights and stop signs, driving on the right or even giving priority to pedestrians. Likewise, during a family cycling holiday, we are obviously not the only ones to take these routes. It is therefore essential to pay attention to others and not to endanger them. For example, you must overtake only when the opportunity allows it and other cyclists do not arrive in front, then always respect a distance so as not to brush against them. If the situation requires it too, you have to systematically line up, there is no point in piling up.
3- Equip yourself with the right equipment for a hassle-free stay
The question of equipment is essential during a family cycling holiday. For this, the French Cycling Federation of course recommends having made the necessary checks on the bikes before leaving, then leaving with the necessary repairs, in particular the patches and the pump. Note that families who decide to go with small children can equip themselves with a cart. On the other hand, it requires having a precise idea of the route and avoiding motorable roads and paths.
You should also provide a bag with the necessary to hydrate regularly, eat and a small pharmacy with basic products in case of injury. For clothes, we prefer light tones, pants to protect the ankles and rain gear. Helmets are compulsory for children under 12, but highly recommended for all cyclists! There are also the very useful accessories to bring such as gloves and sunglasses. The glasses protect not only from the sun, but also from insects and other branches that can be found in the forest. Finally, it is always useful to have your mobile phone with you: to learn about the sites of interest to see in a corner, to call for help in the event of an accident, #vacancesavelo !
4- Warm up well so as not to tire too quickly
Each day, family members will need to understand the route or path taken. This requires starting at a moderate, constant pace, and finding the pace with which everyone is comfortable. To avoid getting tired too quickly, it is also preferable to go easy pedaling.
Then, when you decide to settle in one or two days in a place and that you plan a few bike trips to the sites of interest in the sector, you must always remember to go into the wind, and this so that the way back is easier.
5- Adopt the right reflexes to ride in a group
Riding in a group is not easy, and adults have an important role to play in this. When taking a bicycle route with children, it is advisable that an adult takes the lead and sets the pace, a pace which of course must take into account the children’s abilities. The second adult is placed behind him to alert a pace that is too much or not enough sustained. Note that the pace must be constant because the change of pace causes fatigue.
Adults and children must finally adopt simple gestures to ride safely, such as putting their arm in the direction in which you are about to turn. Beyond gestures, words are also important. To turn or stop, we use simple words that everyone can understand.