This is my third winter riding with kids. Each winter my oldest has ridden on our bikes differently, and each year I learn new ways to keep kids warm. During our first winter my son had just turned a year and rode in a front mounted seat. While I was pregnant last winter he rode in a back-mounted seat and now both kids ride in a box bike.
Dena and kids bundled up for a trip on the Schuylkill River Trail.
5 Tips I picked up along the way
1. 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. Our whole family wears a lot of wool during winter riding. Wool is great natural fiber that keeps us warm and dry. Three-in-one style coats are great for layering, too, and sold at most kids stores. If you are beyond the diaper bag carrying stage I would stow away extra mittens and socks in a pannier or pocket, as they are most likely to get wet while out and about.
2. Keeping heads warm is very important. 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 or handmade version on Etsy. We also picked up a kid-sized balaclava for under the helmet. A balaclava provides protection for the neck, ears and lower face. Don’t forget the chapstick or Vaseline, too, for some extra face protection.
Dena’s children are protected by the bike box cover.
3. Box bike covers are great for sheltering the kids in the winter. I feel lucky to have it this year! But don’t worry, the You Ain’t Got Jack blog has an easy DIY guide to reuse stroller equipment to protect kids on bike seats. If you have a front mounted seat I would invest 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 snuggle bag works great on bike seats to keep kids toasty. Bonus Tip: regular sleeping bags work great in a box bike or trailer.
4. Have hot water bottles on hand. Found at most drug stores, these reusable bottles are flat and easy to pack in your trailer or box bike to keep kids warm. You can easily refill them on the go with more hot water in any bathroom.
5. Make time for play! While you are working up all that warmth biking, the kids are mainly sitting still. Get those kiddos out to run and jump and enjoy that winter air too.