Riding a bicycle isn’t just a great pastime for children; it is becoming a way of life for people opting to ride to work, or those setting off on weekend rides.
Are you feeling like it’s time to ride into the sunset with your family? While riding your bike has obvious benefits for the environment, it is good for you too. It improves the immune system, helps you relax without putting stress on joints. Plus it gives you the opportunity to get some fresh air as you ride off into the sunset. Teaching your children to ride has the added benefit of developing their independence. It also gives you the chance to spend quality family time together. Spending the holidays riding also means you won’t put on any extra holiday weight, as you will be getting plenty of exercise along the way.
Family bike holidays
- Cape Peninsula (Western Cape): Take a few days to ride along the coast, from Muizenberg down towards the Cape of Good Hope. There is accommodation along the way, and you can stop to see wildlife and the penguin colony at Boulders Beach, always a hit with the family.
- Drakensberg Amphitheatre (Kwazulu-Natal): Riding your bike in the mountains gives you the chance to try out various tracks, catering for different skill levels, catering for all family members. The Champagne Castle Adventure Centre has permits for surrounding trails, and there are plenty of accommodation options nearby.
- Mankele (Mpumalanga): Situated just outside Nelspruit, this biking park offers a variety of trails, from beginner to technical, as well as an adventure zone for skill development. Log cabins, permanent tents and camp sites are available, as well as swimming pools, river tubing, fishing and braai areas.
If you don’t want to spend your whole family holiday on a bike, here are some ideal spots for day tripping:
- Cape Town (Western Cape): The Green Point Urban Park is an ideal location for some family bike riding. From there you can head to the Stadium and the Waterfront, or even to Milnerton.
- Giba Gorge (Westmead, KZN): This park has a skills zone, BMX tracks, trails and more.
- King’s Kloof (Krugersdorp, Gauteng): Located between Joburg and Pretoria, mountain bikers can traverse valleys, kloofs, river crossings, mountains and much more. Trails range from easy to very difficult.
- The Big Red Barn (Centurion, Gauteng): Scenic tracks run through veld, farmlands and forest and alongside a river in this family-friendly park.
- Consider your children’s age and ability before planning a bike riding family trip. If they’re older and fitter, longer routes can be tackled, but younger children may enjoy a cycling park or adventure centre more.
- If your family isn’t used to cycling over extended periods, start slow and build up.
- Always take safety into consideration, especially when travelling along roads. Make sure you have the right equipment, clothing and other necessities. Sunscreen, bike lights and a first-aid kit are essential items.
- Read up about the route before you head out and make sure you have a map or GPS on hand.
- Find out if you need a permit to ride your bike on a particular a route.
If you’re thinking of a cycling holiday, look into using a tour operator. They can set up accommodation, transfer your luggage and provide guides for you. If you want to find out about local culture, using a reputable guide is a good idea.