While Mitch Docker hails from Australia and Jens is a proud Belgian, these riders have two major things in common: they’re both dads who love riding with their kids. So whether you prefer handlebars, bike seats, or simply riding alongside them, Docker and Keukeleire are here to help you stay safe and make the most of the roads with your family.
1. Teach them the rules of the road
Since Jens’ kids were small, they’ve enjoyed riding with their dad on the front of his bike. “They hold the handle bars, so it feels that they are riding the bike. They really love it,” said Jens. And as fun as the experience may be, Jens also uses it as an opportunity to teach his kids about the potential dangers of the road. “I’ve noticed that it helps them a lot if you can take them with you on our own bike first. Before they can start riding themselves or even when they already know how to ride, you should always point out to them all the obstacles on the road. It’s also fun to just talk to them a lot while on the bike,” said Jens.
2. Switch it up
Even though Keukeleire’s oldest child has been riding his own bike for two years, he still enjoys the occasional bike ride with dad on the handlebars or car seat. “I notice that he still learns a lot on how to ride in open traffic,” said Jens. Plus, how could you pass up the opportunity to ride on the handlebars of a five-time Tour de France vet (on the beautiful roads of Belgium, nonetheless).
3. Show them how to maneuver
Mitch agrees with Jens in that your kid will learn a lesson or two when you’re with them on the bike, whether they know it or not. Dockerprefers to use a bike seat for the front of his bike so his son can see and experience exactly what he does. “I think that is the best part of riding: seeing the corner and the potential dangers and then watching how to go about manoeuvring around them. I think this not only makes it more fun and engaging for them, but teaches them lessons right from the get go,” said Docker.
4. Cherish the quality time
To Mitch’s surprise, he’s come to realize that his son prefers being out on the road more than a gravel track in the forest. “I thought it would be much safer to take him there, but I think it’s been great for him to see firsthand how to ride in normal traffic conditions. He watches cars and buses and trucks go by. All the things he loves to see.” Mitch also finds that taking his son to work on his bike has benefits not only for him and his son. “It’s a much more environmentally friendly way to travel, and it’s more exciting for him and the best bit is we have the time together talking on the bike.”
Thanks to Jens, Mitch and their kids for giving us what we need before we head out on the next ride with the little ones. Be safe and bon voyage!