My kids are headed back to school next week and I’m getting their bikes ready for daily action after a busy summer. This year we have a kindergartener and a 3rd grader, and they will be biking to school on their own bikes 3-4 days a week as long as the weather and daylight allow. They are currently riding the Prevelo Alpha 3 20″, and Woom 5 24″. Let’s talk about what I’m going over for these bikes.
There are three categories I’m thinking about when getting kids’ bikes ready for daily use: reliable, visible, and fun.
Kid’s Bike Safety Checkover
When checking over any bike I’m following the “A, B, Cs”:
- Inflate the tires (I do this weekly on their bikes) and check the tires for wear. I’m also refreshing the Slime in their tubes to help prevent flats.
- Check the brakes so that they stop quickly. I have the front brake adjusted so it makes contact just slightly after the rear brake.
- Lube the chain and make sure the gears are working properly
If you want to see my full rundown of checking over a kid’s bike then check out this video.
Making a Kid’s Bike More Visible
Kids are much smaller than an adult and they are much harder to see when around cars. Add in that my kids have to ride on a twisty neighborhood street for a part of their ride, and we’ve added some additional items for increased visibility.
A safety vest
We prefer this style that pulls over their head. We have made these a requirement anytime our kids get on their bikes as they have to bike on a neighborhood street to get anywhere from our house.
Flag on the rear of their bike
We have some twists and hills on our streets and this flag sticking up catches people’s attention and makes the kids about 3 feet taller to be seen over cars or hills. I am interested to see if they get stolen at school since the bike racks are right by the playground.
Blinky lights on the front of their bike and the back of their helmet. I’m personally running the Lumos Firefly lights on their bikes this year as they are easy to take off since they are magnetic, and I can charge 4 lights at once which is very handy. There are much cheaper options out there and I plan on taking the next 3 months to see if these are worth it.
Adding Some Kid’s Biking Fun
Bells are rad
Music helps with morning meltdowns
Bike Ride Tracking
I recently added a little dongle to their front wheels that tracks their ride stats and then uploads to their iPads through the Garmin app with a Bluetooth connection. We haven’t used them enough so far for a full review, but the kids love seeing the distance and max speed after their rides, and I love that they aren’t being distracted with a bike computer on their handlebars.
Other Random Things
I added some woom plastic zip tie fenders to my son’s 20″ bike since the frame doesn’t have clearance for typical fenders. I’m adding fenders to my daughter’s woom 5, and switching out the knobby stock tires for a more durable city tire from Schwalbe.
As the year progresses I’ll post an update on what’s working! I would love to hear from you on how you outfit your kid’s bikes for bike commuting.