Cargo bikes, family cycle tours and 80s pop stars…

It's easy to think that to go on a family cycling tour you need to plan long routes and go miles from home.

However, that isn't the case. You can enjoy really fun family cycling adventures from your front door (or those of a friend / relative).

In this blog Laura Moss, Director of the Cycle Touring Festival explains how she took her little ones on a ride to remember - with a celebrity encounter thrown in for good measure!

Over to you Laura.......

As the founder of the Cycle Touring Festival, the vast majority of my holidays are on two wheels. In our pre-children years, my husband and I cycled around the world, covering 13,000 miles across 27 countries. 

As our family has expanded, we’ve adapted our adventures to suit the age of our children.

We started with a month of cycle touring through Estonia, Finland and the Åland Islands, when our eldest was nine months old. 

Once our second child was here, we spent a month cycling around Scotland, from the Trossachs up to Shetland and Orkney, and back via the Great Glen Way. 

Now we have three young ones (currently all aged 5 and under), we are working out where to go next, and how to arrange ourselves on wheels.

However, family cycle tours don’t need to be epic. Sometimes, the best adventures can be found much closer to home. 

In summer 2022, before our third arrived, my two children and I had a lovely little cargo bike tour, between our home in Kendal and my parents’ house in Silverdale, and back again. 

The unusual thing about this trip was that we were joining Timmy Mallett, best known for novelty records and presenting children’s TV shows in the 1980s, but now an accomplished artist and long distance cyclist.

Cargo bikes and family cycle tours with children

Timmy was mid-way through his round-Britain tour, cycling round the coast of England, Wales and Scotland and painting the scenery as he went. 

Having spoken at the Cycle Touring Festival a couple of years ago, he invited us to join him as he came through north-west England. 

I spent a couple of days riding with him around Liverpool and the Cumbrian coast, but for this particular section, he had planned short days which would take in an old castle and a beach, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring my boys along.

Family blog post - cargo bikes and family cycle tours with children

As I would be solo-parenting on this trip, I decided to take our electric cargo bike, a Tern GSD.  With two Thule Yepp Maxi seats on the back, both boys could ride in comfort, and it wouldn’t matter if they fell asleep. 

I could also load the front rack up with all the snacks and changes of clothes we would need for the day.

I rode about 15 miles down to my parents’ house, with just one stop at a posh garden centre to give the children a break. 

I’m not sure the pensioners in the cafe appreciated the chaos we inflicted on them, especially when they started pulling their pants down and comparing bits, but at least it meant we got back on the road without delay.

We met Timmy at my parents’ house, where we all spent the night (my Mum can now dine on the fact that she’s seen Timmy Mallett in his pyjamas).

The morning after, we cycled northwards along the Lancashire coast, stopping along the way to paint interesting scenes. 

Every time Timmy got out his sketchpad, my boys did the same, and the three of them lay on the grass in the sunshine drawing pictures of Arnside Tower.

At Arnside, we had a picnic on the beach and some giant ice creams, before winding our way through quiet lanes up to Kendal.

It was a very short, but very memorable, trip.  Proof that a cycle tour doesn’t need to be epic to be, in Timmy’s words, utterly brilliant. 

The idea of cycling solo with the kids was somewhat daunting, but choosing the right bike and taking it slowly, with plenty of stops, took the worry out of it. 

Family blog post - cargo bikes and family cycle tours with children

Cycling holidays are just wonderful with children, as the world rolls by at a perfect speed to take it all in, and it’s easy to stop along the way. I’m passionate about encouraging other families to give it a go.

This year’s festival is taking place from 3-5 May 2024, in Coniston, Cumbria. We are planning a dedicated family session on the afternoon of Sunday 5 May, where you can come along and have all your family cycle touring questions answered. 

Cycle Sprog’s very own Karen Gee will be talking about family cycling equipment, there will be stories from people who have done trips as a family, and there will be activities to keep the kids entertained. 

More information about the weekend, and about the family session, can be found on the website here.


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