Cycling with my children, there are several more items I consider necessary than for solo cycling. I’ll try to break them into two lists. Stuff we bring for every day short distance cycling and what we take on longer trips.
The stuff for shorter trips:
-small first aide type items which include:
wipe (something disinfecting)
-degreasing wipes (this is for chain replacement fixes)
-small patch kit/pump (these are actually stored on my bike permanently)
-water bottle, typically 1 cup size for each person. They have to carry their own. Because we are cycling in a city we can almost always score free water refills.
-bike locks and cables
These items are actually standard in my purse. During the summer my purse also carries two spare tire tubes.
I should note that if we get a flat fixing it depends on how far we are from one of the several Local Bike Shops or how quickly I can get us a ride home.
-bigger water bottles on the bike, camel-back type packs or 2 1L water bottles stored in baskets or panniers.
-tire tubes in every wheel size
-sun screen (a face stick and goop for the rest) and after-sun
-a more complete first aid kit
-sometimes (weather depending) jackets or other clothing
-print out of our route (marked) with our names and contact information printed on the sheet. I print two. One is tucked into our bags and the other accessible. While I typically don’t need directions the kids like checking and navigating.
-anything else we need depending on where we’re going and what we’re doing.
Of all of the above I would say that water is likely the most critical. Mind you on our to school commute trips we have it but don’t think to special pack it. Our ride this past week I forgot to take a bottle or two and was kicking myself for making what I consider a rookie mistake!
And our favourite water bottles are the Kleen Kanteen bottles.
After water bottles, I’d recommend some way to lock up your bikes securely. Having been victims of bike theft I’d like to say that there is nothing worse than returning to nobike with young children. And its a hard choice if you forget, do you leave a child while you run into a store? Send in both children together with a note? Risk the bikes and the ensuing potential chaos?
I recommend getting the items together and just keeping them bike ready. Then cycling alongside children can truly feel spontaneous!