Where to try family cycling equipment

Whether you just completed our carrying kids by bike survey, or are researching options to get cycling with your family, you're probably here because you want to start the wonderful journey that is cycling with your children. But for many, the prospect of diving into the world of family biking can seem daunting, especially when it comes to acquiring the necessary equipment and expertise.

There are so many options available to carry your kids by bike, from cargo bikes to front and rear seats, tagalongs and kit within a huge range of prices. But what works best for your family, your bikes, the type of riding you'd like to do, and most importantly your budget?

Fortunately, across the country, there are dedicated charities and not-for-profit organisations ready to lend a helping hand. These organisations not only provide access to essential gear, but also offer invaluable in-person support and guidance to beginners embarking on their family cycling journey.

Here at Cycle Sprog we have loads of advice articles, but they cannot replace trying something in the flesh for yourself, fitting it to your bike and going for a ride with it with your kids on board!

We have collated a list of the family cycling equipment libraries and hire schemes we know of to allow you to try before you buy and receive brilliant in-person family cycling advice to get you from curious to confident riding with your family.

Keep reading to find your nearest one, and if you find yourself ready to make the investment in your own equipment, take a look at some of our comprehensive buying guides: best front bike seats, best rear bike seats, and best tagalong bikes.

Jump to your region:

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UK wide

Our friends at Bike Trailer Hire offer a hire and/or try before you buy service for a wide range of Burley trailers, as well as other family cycling essentials such as panniers, bikepacking bags, cycling computers or even a stand up paddle board!

They will deliver to your door, so a great option if you don't need in-person lessons to get started, and just want to check out whether a trailer suits your family.

Tandems and Tag-alongs available to borrow for free UK wide from this charity for people with disabilities or additional needs, who are unable to ride a bike safely on their own, so that they can enjoy the wonders of cycling.

Adaptive bikes for people of all ages and abilities. Wheels for All embraces disabled people and people who would otherwise not be able to cycle, through providing fun and friendly activity in 28 locations across the country.

bike ride on a smooth gravel track, two women on bikes and a kids trailer

Scotland

A Glasgow based cycling collective who have a family cycling equipment library and regular information sessions to get into cycling with your family.

From borrowing a cargo bike to move house, or trailing the school run with your family, Cargo Bike Movement in Edinburgh is a brilliant place to try a range of cargo bikes out to see how they'll work for your family.

A range of e-cargo bikes, panniers, trailers, baby accessories and even rain covers available to hire from the Porty Active Travel Hub for 1 day to 1 month.

A local cycling club with a range of equipment and bikes available for long term loan for members of the cycling club.

Wales

Hire of children's bikes, tandems, trailers, child seats and tagalongs from this charity. They also do family sessions and cycle training for all ages to help get you confident on your bike.

Hire of kids bikes and e-cargo bikes in Llangollen, North Wales.  Drosi Bikes’ is a Community Interest Company with the aim of promoting active travel in the local area. They offer donation based pricing for people living in LL20 postcodes, to enable anyone, regardless of their income, to enjoy the e-bikes.

Northern England

Offshoot of Women in Tandem, Mums in tandem run regular sessions to try a range of family cycling equipment including seats, trailers and e-bikes.

Cargo and electric bike hire in a range of locations around Manchester. More of a hire service than an advice service unfortunately, and you need to have a Level 3 Bikeability certificate.

If you're lucky enough to have a child at the Friars Primary School in Manchester then you'll have access to a range of family cycling equipment to loan- wouldn't it be amazing if more schools did this!

Sign up for a "Start Cycling with Cake Confidence" session and you can either take your own bike and cycling equipment along, or rent a bike and rear seat or single trailer.

Box bike with four children

London

Lewisham Family Cycling Library can lend you an electrically-assisted cargo-trike to transport your kids around.  You can also hire other children’s rear-mounted seats or trailers, so that you can leave your car at home. Library sessions run once a month from February to October.

Carry Me Bikes runs cargo bike test rides and paid for try before you buy, as well as running community projects such as their family cycling library. The Family Cycling Library offers free one-to-one support to find the correct equipment for your family and free loan of equipment fitted to your bike.

All family cycling equipment available for short & long term hire, including cargo bikes, child seats and trailers.

The local council have a range of cargo bikes available for loan to anybody who lives, works or studies in Waltham Forest. For a small refundable deposit, you can loan a bike for up to one month. As the scheme is so popular, there is often a waiting list

Try before you bike scheme, offering monthly bike payments for bikes including e-bikes, kids bikes, cargo bikes and rear bike seats. Free trails available if you're a resident in certain areas.

Southern England

A volunteer led bike hub, that also offers child-friendly trailers on zero-cost loans, to try a week of emission-free school runs!

A community cycle project based on the brilliant Strawberry Line cycling route. Family bike hire, including adult, children's and adaptive bikes as well as trailers, rear seats and even dog carriers!

 

Boy in rear bike seat

Have we missed any? Do comment below or email us at [email protected] if you'd like to add to this resource.

This article sums up some wonderful organisations, not-for-profits and charities doing wonderful things in their local communities to equip and inspire families to cycle.

 

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