Riding with kids through the colder months isn’t always easy, but staying stoked is all about perspective. Every parent knows that their little ones take their cues from us, so if we’re down about going for a ride when it’s cold or wet, they’ll feel the same way.
So turn that frown upside down, because winter rides can be mega fun! There are puddles to splash, new colours and smells to experience, and who doesn’t love a well earned hot chocolate with extra marshmallows at the end of a brisk ride? Wrap up, and get out there!
With the above in mind, we’ve gathered our top mountain bike life-hacks to keep your little one warm, dry, and most importantly stoked – when riding shotgun throughout the winter. Read on to warm up!
1. Puddle-hunting season
Playing games with your little one whilst you ride is a great way to keep the stoke high, and thankfully winter provides plenty of opportunities for new games.
There’s new and exciting critters and plants for eye-spy, and plenty of fallen branches for stick races at the local river.
But our favourite winter game is puddle hunting! On a puddle hunt, get your little one to call out whenever they see a puddle, and then detonate it together, splashing all the way home - how many puddles did you hit today?
2. Do-it-yourself Goretex socks
Smashing through puddles is one of the joys of winter riding, but nobody likes having wet feet.
One way to avoid this, even when your little ones shoes inevitably get soaked, is to put a plastic bag over their socks – before they put their shoes on. Then, even if their shoes get wet, their feet will stay warm and dry.
We admit, it’s not great for breathability, but if your little one is riding up front on your bike they won’t be doing any pedalling or getting too hot anyway. This hack is best paired with a spare pair of shoes back at the car.
3. The hot-dog snack-hack
Snacks are an integral part of any ride with your mini shredder, and when the colder months roll around, it’s important to keep the energy levels high. Fill your kids hip pack with some chocolate or sweet berries, and if you’ve got the space – you can even take a thermos with hot chocolate or soup for longer rides.
If you really want to up your game though, our pro snack-hack comes from Kids Ride Shotgun co-founder Dan, who fills a thermos with hot water and hot dogs before setting off on the family ride. By the time you’ve finished riding, you’ve got freshly cooked hotdogs ready to eat – genius!
4. Make your kid waterproof
Staying dry is top of the list when it comes to keeping stoke levels high on winter rides, and there’s one piece of outerwear that rules them all in the kids category – the humble onesie, AKA, the rain-suit!
We’re not talking about your little-ones unicorn bedtime onesie here, we’re talking about a purpose built outdoor onesie, like those from Didriksons. The benefit of a onesie is that there’s nowhere for water or mud to get into your kids' clothing, meaning they’ll stay warm and dry, even on the wettest rides.
For a wallet friendly version, look for kids ski onesies which are readily available, much cheaper, and still have good warmth and waterproofing.
5. The ultimate kids glove, that’s hiding in your kitchen!
Keeping your kiddos hands warm & dry when they’re riding shotgun is a must. Having the shotgun handlebars is a great start, as the rubber grips are much warmer than holding onto your bars directly, but you’ll want some kids gloves too.
We might be a bit biased, but when you really want to keep your kids hands toasty, reach for some pogies. With 10,000mm waterproofing and fleece lining, our Kids Ride Shotgun Pogies are great for winter rides. Or you can do what Trev did to get started, and make your own out of some old oven gloves (slightly lower waterproof rating 😅 ).
As you can see, winter rides can be awesome! Remember to shout at the wind, yell at the puddles, and keep the ride energy high – your kid is a brave adventurer, so be sure to make them feel like one.
We hope this article has helped inspire you to hit the trails together through the colder months. If you’ve got a winter riding hack you’d like to share, leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!