If your family is enjoying time off during the holidays, there’s no better time to get a head start on those healthy New Year’s resolutions you’re hemming and hawing over. Speaking of head starts, I hope you don’t mind me getting going on drafting the first five of those resolutions for you — you know, just to free up more time for family fun over the holidays.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Taking young family members out on their bikes helps build healthy habits that last a lifetime. Car-free Sundays on Golden Gate Park’s JFK Drive take place year-round, presenting a great opportunity for people of all ages to bike without worrying about traffic whizzing by.
Another great place to ride with your family is your neighborhood schoolyard. One or more public school playgrounds will be now open in every neighborhood in San Francisco every Saturday and Sunday, through the new Shared Schoolyards program. (Find a Shared Schoolyard near you here.)
2. Increase family biking for everyday transportation
Biking to school may be the most convenient way for some families to roll together. For others, another time makes more sense, depending on commute considerations, as well as the ages and stages of your children.
Look for errands and other short-distance trips for biking together — a neighborhood friend’s house, a nearby recreation area, the library or the store. It may be easier to bike with your child when there’s less time pressure than early morning, and less traffic.
3. Don’t let the rain get you down
Stay dry! How about a gift of biking jackets for your weatherproof outerwear this year? Waterproof backpacks and panniers well also help keep homework and supplies dry.
Your local bike shop can help outfit your bikes with fenders and racks. Make plans to warm up once you arrive at your destination: a warm sweater, a cup of hot cider, and some rags to wipe down your bike are some must-have items when I arrive home from a wet ride.
4. Light up the morning when you bike to school
Outfit adult bikes, trailers and your child’s bike with good bike lights and reflectors. When riding in the dark, all bikes are required to have a white front light and a red rear reflector or light, and they help in wet weather, too, when visibility is diminished.
5. Study up on Family Biking
Download the free Family Biking Guide for tips on biking with your baby, toddler or school age child. Whether biking with family or not, knowing the rules of the road is a must. Our urban bicycling workshops cover that and much more, in addition to providing a chance to meet other folks who bike, or want to bike more safely, in our beautiful city.
Photo credit: Adrienne Johnson, SF