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Keeping warm on a bike seat - great ideas to keep the cold at bay
Keeping your child warm on a bike seat
Here at Cycle Sprog we're huge fans of bike seats as a great way to get out riding with your child. We've used both front and rear bike seats with our kids while they were toddlers and preschoolers, so understand that it's easy to consider this a purely summer activity, and pack the bike seat away once the colder weather arrives.
If you do this, you and your son or daughter are missing out on some wonderful experiences - including that of getting dressed up ready to cycle during the winter. There's something comforting about layering up against the elements and keeping warm on a bike, but when riding with a little one in a child bike seat it is crucial to remember that they aren't expending any energy, and will, therefore, get much colder than you, a lot quicker.
If they are in a front cycle seat they will be taking the brunt of the elements, and whilst a rear bike seat may be protected more by your body, it's harder for you to keep an eye on how warm your passenger is.
It's essential therefore that the clothes you dress your little one in keep them warm and dry throughout the ride. Here's our round up of how to keep your child, warm and dry on a cycle ride this winter.
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Toddler sized gloves or mittens
Little fingers get cold very quickly, so a good pair of warm gloves is essential. It's difficult to find waterproof and windproof mittens or specific cycling gloves in very small sizes, so we were pleased to stumble across these SealSkinz Kids Mittens. They're one size only, so little hands will grow into them, and you may want to consider the old trick of a piece of wool sewn into each mitten and through the arms of the coat to avoid them being cast off mid-ride.
Thermal underwear for young children
A warm base layer is worth several over layers, and so thermals will keep your little one toastie warm on a cold winters day. M&S do a good range, and occasionally you can pick a bargain set up in Aldi. The easiest way is to order some via Amazon
Easy access warm clothing
Try to avoid too many layers of all in one clothing as this will make loo stops a nightmare. If the layers closest to the skin are all in one you're facing have to undress them each and every time, and letting the cold air in - this won't be popular! Fleeces are great for keeping them warm - try to avoid those with hoods, which cause bumps on their back and can be uncomfortable when in the seat.
This could be a jacket, bodywarmer, gillet or a thick fleece, depending on the weather conditions and what your child normally wears.
Unless you're committed to only cycling on days when there is absolutely no chance of rain, you'll need some form of waterproof protection. You've got two choices. A waterproof suit, like this Regatta Puddle Suit comes in sizes from 6 months to 3 years, and can be bought with or without fleece linings. They are good for keeping dry once you're off the bike, but can be a hassle to put on, and are difficult to get out for nappy changes or wee stops.
The alternative is a waterproof cover, which helps to keep every part dry on the bike, such as this Hamax cover, which is available online from Evans Cycles.
Toes can be chilly in winter, plus are partial to jumping in the nearest muddy puddle the moment they're unleashed from the bike seat. Thermal socks are a great investment, especially when combined with wellies. John Lewis have a great range of toddler and preschool sized wellies.
Hi Viz vest
If you're riding on the road at any point then you'll probably want to throw a hi-viz jacket over their other clothes to give that added bit of visibility to drivers. We've got a whole post on child sized high vis jackets.
Keep out drafts with a quick to dry fleece scarf (also handy for mopping up running noses - we didn't say that honestly!)
During very cold weather we've used a balaclava on our youngest to protect him from the elements - you just need to loosen the helmet to make it fit and remember to tighten again when the weather warms up.
Finally, don't forget that you'll need to fit lights to your trailer if you're riding on road during the winter months, as low light levels can occur at any time of the day.
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