Bike Touring With A Baby

Pedal Powered FamilyMore and more families are heading out on bicycle tours, but what is it like to travel by bike with a baby?

Some people will tell you it’s impossible or, at the very least, impractical but we’ve found a few parents that prove travel with young kids is more than just feasible. It can be a lot of fun too.

As you’ll see from the case studies below, all the families had positive experiences and have tips to share about distances, routines and special packing lists for bike touring. Their answers vary, although one clear winner here seems to be the Cougar Chariot bike trailer ($437.93 from REI). It comes in a single and a double version and is used by 3 of the families featured here. The fourth family also uses a Chariot trailer.

If you want to see more than the case studies below, check out answers about bike touring with babies in detail from the families.

We also enjoyed a story about “Cycle-Toddling” from Stuart & Kristie’s Family Adventure Project website.

BIKE TOURING FAMILIES – 4 CASE STUDIES

Case Study #1 – Elle (mother), Jose (father) and baby Lennon
The Tour: 2 weeks In Oregon (see their journal Lennon’s First Road Trip)
The Baby:11 months old

rest stop

In 2009, the Bustamante family hit the road for a two week tour of Oregon, including baby Lennon, who was 11 months old at the time. Lennon rode in a Cougar Chariot trailer for the 600 mile trip. His first trip in the trailer was at 6 months old.

I did a lot of research and made the decision after talking with our pediatrician and making sure Lennon’s neck was strong enough to hold up a helmet and his giant head. Also, I picked the Cougar Chariot because it was the only trailer that had suspension as vibration is a main concern for babies and biking.

Once on the road, Lennon loved the trip and enjoyed spending time in the trailer, though there were some difficult moments.

There were times when Lennon would be having a melt down after a long day (we’d all be feeling that way) but we’d only have a few more miles to go or we couldn’t stop safely. It was added pain to the tiredness of the ride but in the end, the second Lennon was out of the trailer, he’d be happy as can be. Babies are incredibly resilient and forgiving. We just had to keep that balance, patience and flexibility and listen to his needs.

As for special equipment, Elle recommends disposable diapers for convenience (although they normally use cloth), teething tablets and a picnic blanket to make rest breaks that much more enjoyable during the day.

Case Study #2 – Reuben (father), Heidi (mother) and baby Eden
The Tour: Eight days in Southwestern Ontario (see their website Pedal Powered Family and their journal of the trip)
The Baby: 16 months old

Pedal Powered Family

Reuben, Heidi and 16-month old Eden set out in 2008 on a 650 kilometer journey around Southwestern Ontario. Eden rode in a trailer and the family mostly free camped along the way, instead of taking paid campgrounds or hotels.

They say Eden adapted well to the touring lifestyle, and as parents they took special care to work in plenty of stops at playgrounds and schoolyards along the way.

Making time for her to run around during the break and play on the slides and jungle gyms was extremely important. As time went on, she learned the rhythm of the days and would climb back into the trailer on her own when she was ready to get going again. Some times, she wouldn’t even want to get out when we arrived at camp for the night!

Among the things they packed were small toys and books for Eden, plenty of clothes (in case they couldn’t clean or dry out soiled ones), and a wide variety of food, so Eden wouldn’t get bored with the same thing every day. They also brought a thermal sippy cup filled with milk, which let her “drink on demand” in the trailer.

They urge parents thinking of a trip with a baby, to just get out there and do it.

As with anything in life, you will never be able to make your trip with-baby 100% predictable or 100% safe. You will also never be 100% prepared. Don’t let those worries hold you back. Just get out there and adventure with your kids while you can. You will both love it as long as you remain flexible.

Case Study #3 – Robin (father), Erin (mother) and baby Ronan
The Tour: 2 weeks In Iceland
The Baby: 18 months old

Family camping and bike touring in Iceland

This family of Canadians, including 18-month old Ronan, did a 14 day tour of Iceland. To keep things manageable, they tended to do a couple relatively short biking days (40-60km), followed by a rest day and they also occasionally used buses to bridge the gap between destinations.

Robin & Erin were initially worried about how Ronan would feel spending so much time inside his trailer but a few trial runs before going to Iceland helped reassure them.

“Prior to going we travelled around home and found that after a while he loved his trailer. He’d point to it and our bikes in the garage and say ‘ride’. Mostly he gets lulled to sleep or just looks out the windows and ponders. Sometimes we’d hear him ‘talking’ to his duck and we’d try and talk to him as we went so he knew we were still there,” says Robin.

Because their trip to Iceland involved a big time difference from home, they also started adjusting their eating and sleeping times before leaving.

To make up for the 6 hour time difference, we started getting up earlier and earlier for the week before, 45 minutes at a time. We shaved off 4 or 5 of the hours before we left. It helped Ronan adjust and hit the road running. Any amount of preadjustment is probably worth it depending on schedules or plan to scrap a day or two on the other side.

They also recommend planning days around the routine of the kids, including working in time for an hour or two or play once you arrive in camp.

Another great tip involves getting your trailer on a plane, without extra charges. It’s all in the wording!

Don’t pack a trailer. Pack a stroller with a bike attachment. Then it doesn’t cost as much! It’s all the same but clerks don’t know.

Case Study #4 – The Londahl Family
The Tour: 40 nights and 1,535km through Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The Baby: Two kids: 2-1/2 years old and 4 months old

Martin's family bike touring setup

Martin sent us this story, after we originally published the 3 case studies above.

There were four of us: my wife and I, and our two kids Sarah and Isac, at the time of leaving 2-1/2 years old and 4 months old.

The kids were fine and adjusted rather quickly to life on the road. There were some problems in the beginning with Sarah, who found out that she could stop us by saying “I need to pee” and then spend some time running around with no pants. She did not use diapers, except at night, at the time. Luckily she quit this behaviour within a week.

Isac was only a small baby and slept whenever he got the chance, and then was happy whenever we woke him up. There were times when Sarah treated him rather roughly, to say the least. This was our main problem: since they were both sitting in a single carrier there were times when we hardly could do anything about it.
Most of the time we could cycle in 40-50 minute intervals with breaks in between for playing. Near the end of the trip, however, the nights were really cold (almost freezing) and Sarah didn’t sleep very well since she refused to have her sleeping bag closed.  This made her quite tired during the daytime, from which Isac suffered. As the nights became warmer again Sarah slept better and the problem decreased.
Last summer we went on a one-week trip with the kids, and this time managed to separate them. Sarah rode in a bike chair and Isac in the carrier. This really made a big difference and so I would really, really recommend it. It’s difficult to fight if you can’t reach your adversary.
Concerning packing, packing for the kids was not much different than from ourselves: clothes, sleeping bags etc.
Was it fair to travel with such small kids? Yes, I definitively think so. For 40 days we spent day and night together, with no distractions from work. They enjoyed that, for sure. And they certainly enjoyed all the coffee breaks. Sarah ate cookies every single day, which she hasn’t done ever since.
Would I recommend it? No. At times it was really tough, and so I won’t give a general recommendation to do it, trusting that if you really want to go, you won’t listen too much to me, but go anyway.

Would I do it again? Definitively yes, yes, yes! But with the kids separated…

Want to know more? See detailed answers about bike touring with babies.

Comments

  1. Cathryn Ramsden
    13th June 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    Thanks for a great article – really useful. Particularly love the tip about packing a ‘stroller with a bike attachment’ as that was one thing I was trying to get my head around. Hmmm…let’s go cycling!

  2. Stefan Helgi Valsson
    14th June 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Amazing, bicycling around Iceland with a baby!

    Never thought of that yet, even though I work as a bicycle guide in Iceland.

    My girlfriend and I run Reykjavik Bike Tours, guided tours on bicycle around the capital city of Iceland. We take our 4 year old along in our trailer all the time.

    For our guests with children we have a trailer and a baby seat, both available for guided tours and for rent.

    Happy cycling!

  3. Grace Johnson
    20th June 2010 at 11:31 am #

    We don’t have kids ourselves but I do know that on the Dutch website “fietsen met kinderen” (bicycling with children) they have a lot of information available over bicycle touring with children and babies. Click here for the English translation for this website: http://translate.google.nl/translate?hl=nl&sl=nl&tl=en&u=www.fietsenmetkinderen.info%2F

    • friedel
      21st June 2010 at 11:36 am #

      Great link, Grace! I should have known the Dutch would have a site for that…

  4. friedel
    30th June 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    Bike tourist Stephen just emailed me a link to his blog, with great photos and an account of bike touring with a baby:

    http://tober-zambrano.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html

  5. Martin
    4th February 2011 at 10:38 am #

    My family can provide you with a fourth case study. Last fall we cycled 1535 kilometers (960 miles) through Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and then Germany again. 31 out of 40 nights were spent in our 3-man tent. When we set out our son was four months and seven days old, while our daughter was almost two and a half. And as everyone else, we had the kids in a Chariot Cougar XL. It sure wasn’t vacation, but a journey indeed…

    • Bree Smith
      3rd May 2011 at 2:48 am #

      Is this Martin who was an exchange student in Mississippi in 1998? If so, please email me at [email protected].

      • Martin
        22nd May 2011 at 7:28 am #

        Yes, it’s the Martin who was exchange student at Riverside High School. I’ve written you, but gotten no reply. Maybe my mail was caught in the spam filter?

    • Danny
      24th June 2015 at 9:07 pm #

      Martin,

      My wife and I plan on setting out on a journey–as you call it–next summer. We’ve cycled a lot with our first, starting at about 4 months as well, but sadly, no touring. However, we did take her backpacking–so we have experienced the pleasures of camping with an infant. We’ll have another (child, that is) before setting off for the extended tour we have planned for next summer, who will be approximately 4 months old when we start.

      We’re wondering if you’d be willing to let us field you some questions as we prepare for next summer. Please send us an email if you wouldn’t mind us asking some questions. Thanks!

      -Danny
      dcardoza [at] byu [dot] edu

      • andrew.grant
        28th June 2015 at 7:36 am #

        Hi Martin, never mind answering questions time permitting, but we now have a newborn and a 3-year old so we’re woefully behind on emails. Still, fire away…

  6. DD
    11th March 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Thanks for putting this content together! We have a 8 months old and are also considering starting to do some more serious cycling with him. It is very encouraging to read stories about other parents and their experiences. Very helpful tips!

  7. Rhonda
    9th February 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    we are considering a trip to England, but none of the bike shops in the district rent chariots… How did those of you doing international trips pack your chariot? Just a big box? Thanks!

    • friedel
      10th February 2014 at 7:10 am #

      On most trips we didn’t pack it – we took it as a ‘stroller’ and walked it to the gate. Other times we did have to check it (it was too big to gate check) but then we just folded it up and strapped it together with a compression strap.

  8. supreme clothing
    16th March 2022 at 3:05 am #

    I enjoy you because of your whole labor on this site. My mother delights in doing research and it’s simple to grasp why. My partner and i hear all regarding the compelling way you render great things by means of the blog and as well as attract response from visitors on this content while my simple princess has been learning a lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. You are performing a terrific job.

  9. supreme clothing
    16th March 2022 at 3:07 am #

    I would like to point out my love for your kind-heartedness supporting visitors who really want guidance on this content. Your special dedication to getting the solution all over had been unbelievably helpful and has continually made employees much like me to reach their dreams. Your helpful help implies a great deal to me and even more to my colleagues. Best wishes; from everyone of us.

  10. curry 8
    15th July 2022 at 8:56 am #

    I wanted to send you this very small word to say thanks a lot the moment again relating to the pleasant principles you have shown on this site. This is quite surprisingly open-handed with you giving openly precisely what a number of us would’ve advertised as an e book to help make some profit on their own, particularly since you might well have tried it if you decided. These secrets in addition acted like a good way to know that most people have similar interest much like my very own to find out somewhat more on the subject of this issue. I am sure there are numerous more pleasant instances in the future for individuals who scan your blog.

  11. kawhi leonard shoes
    15th July 2022 at 8:57 am #

    I have to voice my appreciation for your kind-heartedness for folks that should have assistance with this topic. Your personal dedication to getting the solution up and down had become particularly good and have continuously encouraged people much like me to arrive at their desired goals. Your entire warm and helpful report implies much to me and substantially more to my colleagues. Many thanks; from all of us.

  12. bape hoodie
    15th July 2022 at 8:57 am #

    I needed to compose you a little observation to finally say thanks over again for all the precious methods you have discussed on this page. This has been quite extremely open-handed with people like you to convey without restraint what exactly many individuals would have supplied for an e book to get some bucks for their own end, most notably considering the fact that you might well have done it in the event you desired. These good ideas in addition worked to become fantastic way to realize that someone else have the same dreams similar to my very own to learn more with regard to this issue. I know there are many more enjoyable occasions ahead for individuals who take a look at your site.

  13. nike off whtie
    6th August 2022 at 9:41 pm #

    Needed to send you this very little word to be able to say thank you yet again with your remarkable views you’ve shared in this case. This is simply unbelievably open-handed with people like you to give unhampered just what some people would’ve advertised as an electronic book in making some dough for themselves, most importantly seeing that you might have tried it if you considered necessary. Those good tips additionally worked to become easy way to comprehend someone else have the same interest much like my own to know the truth way more regarding this problem. I know there are many more pleasurable periods in the future for individuals that read through your site.

  14. giannis shoes
    6th August 2022 at 9:42 pm #

    I want to express my respect for your kind-heartedness for visitors who really need help with this important content. Your very own dedication to getting the message up and down came to be amazingly useful and has really enabled most people like me to reach their ambitions. Your personal valuable tips and hints signifies a whole lot to me and additionally to my office colleagues. Best wishes; from all of us.

  15. curry 6
    15th August 2022 at 7:01 pm #

    Thank you a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily special opportunity to read from here. It is always so fantastic and as well , stuffed with amusement for me and my office peers to search your blog more than three times per week to find out the newest things you will have. Of course, I’m just certainly pleased for the remarkable knowledge served by you. Certain 4 facts in this article are without a doubt the finest we have ever had.

  16. yeezy 500 blush
    15th August 2022 at 7:02 pm #

    I simply wanted to thank you very much yet again. I’m not certain the things I would’ve created without the actual concepts discussed by you about such a concern. It previously was a very horrifying problem in my opinion, nevertheless understanding the skilled manner you processed it made me to cry over gladness. I will be happy for this guidance and in addition trust you find out what an amazing job you happen to be getting into training the mediocre ones by way of your blog. Most likely you have never met any of us.

  17. golden goose
    28th August 2022 at 3:15 am #

    I wanted to create you that bit of observation to be able to give thanks as before on the spectacular solutions you have shared in this article. This has been really seriously generous of people like you to give extensively what exactly some people would’ve offered for sale for an ebook to generate some money on their own, notably given that you might well have tried it in the event you desired. The tricks additionally served to be the great way to recognize that most people have similar eagerness just as my own to grasp more and more concerning this issue. I’m certain there are thousands of more pleasurable times in the future for folks who discover your website.

  18. kobe shoes
    28th October 2022 at 9:55 am #

    I want to express some appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from this particular situation. Right after surfing around through the the web and obtaining principles which were not helpful, I was thinking my entire life was done. Being alive devoid of the approaches to the issues you have solved as a result of the posting is a serious case, and those that could have negatively damaged my career if I had not encountered your blog. Your own natural talent and kindness in taking care of the whole lot was crucial. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come upon such a stuff like this. I can at this point look ahead to my future. Thank you very much for this reliable and sensible help. I will not think twice to endorse your blog to any individual who would like recommendations about this area.

  19. off white hoodie
    28th October 2022 at 9:56 am #

    Thank you a lot for giving everyone an extremely spectacular chance to read critical reviews from here. It really is very awesome plus packed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office acquaintances to search your blog at the very least thrice weekly to find out the new stuff you have got. Not to mention, I’m just always astounded considering the staggering information served by you. Certain two ideas on this page are certainly the most effective we have all ever had.

  20. kevin durant
    28th October 2022 at 9:56 am #

    I have to express my affection for your generosity supporting people who must have help with the matter. Your real dedication to passing the solution all over became certainly powerful and have constantly made employees just like me to reach their ambitions. Your valuable tutorial signifies so much to me and substantially more to my mates. Thank you; from all of us.

  21. skjerf
    3rd November 2022 at 12:42 am #

    I appreciate you sharing this article. Fantastic.

  22. golden goose
    3rd November 2022 at 10:08 am #

    A lot of thanks for all your valuable work on this site. My mother takes pleasure in conducting investigations and it’s obvious why. Most people learn all relating to the powerful mode you present functional tips on your website and therefore attract participation from people about this point while my princess has been studying a lot of things. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. You’re doing a powerful job.

  23. ggdb
    3rd November 2022 at 10:09 am #

    I wish to show my appreciation for your kindness giving support to people who have the need for assistance with this subject matter. Your very own dedication to passing the message across came to be wonderfully beneficial and have continually helped guys and women much like me to attain their ambitions. Your new useful help indicates so much to me and even further to my office colleagues. Warm regards; from all of us.

  24. yeezy shoes
    3rd November 2022 at 11:29 pm #

    I simply wished to say thanks once more. I do not know the things that I would have implemented in the absence of the actual points contributed by you on this situation. It previously was a traumatic difficulty for me, nevertheless spending time with the very expert strategy you dealt with that made me to leap with gladness. I am thankful for this work and even hope you really know what an amazing job you’re providing instructing other individuals via your site. I am sure you haven’t met all of us.

  25. bape outlet
    3rd November 2022 at 11:29 pm #

    I want to voice my passion for your kindness supporting men and women who actually need guidance on this one study. Your personal dedication to getting the message up and down had been especially important and have permitted somebody much like me to achieve their targets. Your own valuable tips and hints can mean a great deal a person like me and further more to my office workers. Many thanks; from each one of us.

  26. kunjungi situs
    7th November 2022 at 7:27 am #

    I really like looking through an article that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment.

  27. goyard outlet
    10th November 2022 at 5:03 am #

    I must show my affection for your kind-heartedness for persons who should have assistance with this one idea. Your special commitment to passing the message along came to be exceedingly beneficial and have consistently made folks like me to arrive at their desired goals. Your entire warm and helpful guidelines signifies a lot to me and much more to my peers. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.

  28. blossoms one north
    15th November 2022 at 11:16 pm #

    I really enjoy the blog. Will read on…

  29. Botany Dairy Farm condo
    16th November 2022 at 8:19 am #

    Thanks a lot for the article. Much obliged.

  30. off white
    18th November 2022 at 9:03 pm #

    I must show my appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from this type of condition. As a result of surfing through the online world and getting suggestions which are not beneficial, I believed my entire life was gone. Existing minus the solutions to the difficulties you’ve resolved through your short post is a critical case, and ones that could have adversely affected my entire career if I hadn’t encountered your blog. Your main natural talent and kindness in handling every item was helpful. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had not discovered such a thing like this. It’s possible to now relish my future. Thanks so much for your skilled and amazing help. I won’t be reluctant to refer your site to any individual who ought to have counselling on this area.

  31. bape
    23rd November 2022 at 4:10 pm #

    I simply wanted to type a simple remark so as to express gratitude to you for the awesome pointers you are sharing here. My prolonged internet look up has now been compensated with professional content to exchange with my family. I ‘d express that we visitors are undeniably blessed to dwell in a perfect network with very many awesome professionals with very beneficial techniques. I feel really blessed to have come across the webpage and look forward to plenty of more awesome moments reading here. Thanks a lot again for a lot of things.

  32. Roofers in Sugar Land, TX
    24th November 2022 at 10:29 am #

    I cannot thank you enough for the blog.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

  33. palm angels outlet
    25th November 2022 at 9:06 pm #

    I want to convey my appreciation for your kindness for men and women who absolutely need help on this particular question. Your special commitment to passing the solution up and down ended up being certainly informative and have frequently helped most people like me to reach their aims. Your personal insightful help denotes a whole lot a person like me and far more to my fellow workers. Warm regards; from everyone of us.

  34. Tubidy
    26th November 2022 at 5:08 pm #

    Enjoyed every bit of your article. Want more.

  35. how to use a dick pump
    28th November 2022 at 9:37 pm #

    I really enjoy the blog.Much thanks again. Cool.

  36. best rabbit vibrator
    29th November 2022 at 1:16 pm #

    I appreciate you sharing this post. Really Cool.

  37. yespunjab.com/
    30th November 2022 at 12:40 am #

    Thank you ever so for you post. Really Great.

  38. Theodore Kent
    30th November 2022 at 2:11 am #

    I see last blog include good information. I am surprise to this blog!

  39. supreme clothing
    4th December 2022 at 5:47 am #

    I precisely desired to appreciate you yet again. I do not know what I might have taken care of in the absence of the ideas documented by you relating to this theme. It had been a frightening crisis in my position, however , observing the very well-written tactic you processed that made me to weep with happiness. Now i am grateful for the work and sincerely hope you comprehend what an amazing job you are putting in instructing many others via a web site. Most likely you haven’t come across all of us.

  40. jordan travis scott
    4th December 2022 at 7:53 pm #

    Thanks so much for giving everyone a very remarkable possiblity to read in detail from here. It’s always very terrific and full of a good time for me personally and my office colleagues to visit the blog the equivalent of 3 times weekly to read the latest things you have. And of course, we’re certainly motivated for the splendid suggestions you serve. Certain two facts in this posting are completely the most suitable I have ever had.

  41. kyrie shoes
    4th December 2022 at 7:54 pm #

    I precisely wished to thank you very much all over again. I do not know the things I would’ve gone through in the absence of these information revealed by you directly on my area of interest. Entirely was an absolute troublesome matter in my position, but viewing the very skilled mode you treated the issue took me to cry with delight. I am just happier for your assistance as well as hope you comprehend what an amazing job you were getting into teaching the mediocre ones through the use of your website. I am sure you’ve never encountered all of us.

  42. bape
    4th December 2022 at 7:54 pm #

    I must voice my respect for your kindness for people that have the need for help with this particular issue. Your special commitment to getting the message all over came to be amazingly beneficial and has usually helped people much like me to get to their dreams. Your new interesting instruction can mean much a person like me and a whole lot more to my colleagues. Thank you; from all of us.

  43. Dennis Bailey
    8th December 2022 at 2:39 am #

    Is anyone here in a position to recommend Fishnet Tights and Stockings? Cheers x

Leave a Reply to friedel Click here to cancel reply.