Chicago's a great place to bike with kids


By Elizabeth Diffin

Associate Editor

Bike riding is part of any all-American childhood, and fortunately we've got some great spots. We talked to mom Jane Healy, board president for the Active Transportation Alliance, about her tips for family bike rides and six route favorites.

Have a fun destination. Healy suggests finding a playground or ice cream shop along your route.

Know their limits. Younger kids often think they can ride farther than they actually can. Choose a shorter, non-hilly route. And think about the wind: Healy says the prevailing winds usually move south in the morning and north in the afternoon. Be sure to bring a bike lock, so if you're forced to abandon ship, your little rider can get a lift home and you can pick up the bike later.

Be prepared. Bring along snacks (granola bars, apples) and water, as well as sunscreen, bug repellent, large and small Band-Aids and a tube of antibiotic ointment. Since little kids get cold more easily, Healy says to be sure to bring a sweatshirt or dress them in layers.

Talk! "One of the joys of biking is you have conversations you wouldn't have otherwise," Healy says. With older kids, you can talk about local or natural history, while little ones can count how many other bikes you pass. "It's a really nice bonding time," Healy says.

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