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18.03.2022 13:17 by Jana Harms
What may sound like pure stress for some parents is true holiday bliss for other families. Cycling trips and family holidays can indeed go hand in hand. Read on to find out what challenges, learning opportunities, and success moments await both young and old on a family biking holiday!
Curiosity – the natural motor driving children’s bikes!
“It’s the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels” – Heinz Stücke.
What is hiding around the corner of the next house? Where does the path lead at the next crossroads? Will we be able to see the sea after our next turn? The easiest way to find answers to all these questions is to pedal harder and set out to explore. As children give free rein to their curiosity and are ever intrigued to understand and discover the world around them, it is often easy for them to cover impressive distances by bike despite the physical effort – especially when they are discovering unfamiliar territory. There is so much to see and explore…
I did it all by myself!
On a cycling tour, there is hardly anything that beats the feeling of reaching the top of the mountain, looking out and enjoying the view, and knowing ‘I got myself up here with the strength of my own two legs’. The feeling of having achieved something yourself strengthens self-confidence and creates experiences that serve as a constant reminder of what you are capable of. So, it is not surprising that even the smallest cycling champions are proud to report their successes after returning from a tour and that, when they return to their everyday life, they are bolstered by their holiday experiences.
How to elegantly avoid ending up in situations not fun for anyone
What isn’t so fun is having to bike the same road twice in a day because you got lost. Equally unpleasant – especially with children! – is having to bike on busy roads and to constantly remind the children to stay to the right and keep an eye on the road. When organising a family biking trip, it is important to choose a child-friendly route, ideally one with a separate cycle path. Then, if you get a good navigation device or follow well-signposted cycling routes, not much can go wrong even when trying to find your way around unfamiliar territory, and your tour will be a complete success.
How to make a trip even more special – creating moments of joy
Making a bet with Dad if he can make it all the way up the mountain without pushing his bike. Enjoying an ice-cream when you arrive at the next town or village. Taking that long-awaited swimming stop or seeing how fast you can race and who you can beat. Spotting butterflies or other animal friends, simply stopping at beautiful places, parking your bike and letting yourself get lost in the moment. So many moments can become ones of joy on a family biking trip. With your bike, you are incredibly flexible and free, you can alter the pace as each family member requires and take breaks whenever you find a nice place to rest.
Are we there yet? How to use highlights for motivation
Of course, cycling isn’t always pure fun and sometimes you just don’t feel like it, would rather do something else, are tired or hungry, or simply just want to be there already! Moments such as these call for some motivational creativity from the adults. The easiest way to do this is to always include a few highlights along the way when planning a tour. This could be a stop at a lookout point, a break at the next ice-cream shop, a visit to a local farm, the list goes on! Whatever brings a smile to the children’s faces. If children know that it won’t be long before they can build the world’s most amazing sandcastle on the beach, then they’ll be happy to push on for those extra few kilometres to do so.
How long is a kilometre? How to playfully improve your sense of direction
Today with GoogleMaps, Komoot, and other similar navigation systems, distances are often calculated and at any point on your route you can find out how many meters you have already covered. But how far exactly is a kilometre? For children, a kilometre is nothing more than a meaningless number. Of course, it is possible to determine from a young age whether a number is big or small, but what comes after that number, this “kilometre”, seems abstract for younger children at first. In a car, a kilometre passes very quickly, on a bike you have to pedal a while before you have covered those 1,000 meters, and on foot it takes even longer. Cycling trips help children learn how to estimate distances and also trains their sense of direction. You can also use this as a playful way to pass the time to the next destination by simply asking questions: On which side of us is the sea? Where do we have to go now? In which direction do we continue?
Stress? Not on holiday!
Time pressure, excessive ambition, binding deadlines that have to be met, unexpected incidents etc. can all be triggers from which a stressful situation arises. The resulting mood often does not go unnoticed by children and more often than not rubs off on them. However, what is perceived as a "normal stress level" for adults may have a completely different effect on children and may place them under considerable pressure. Often it is precisely these situations in which everything seems to go wrong and that can result in a relaxing day on holiday coming to an end. To avoid exactly these kinds of incidents, we recommend that you always plan ample time for breaks and unexpected occurrences. If you calculate a bit of a buffer, nothing can throw a spanner in the works. And if in the end, you have time to spare, generally it’s not hard to put it to good use on holiday. Maybe you'll have time for an extra visit to the beach or a refreshing drink in the nearest café. Total relaxation without any stress.
What definitely shouldn't be missing - Must-haves to bring on your cycling trip
To be prepared for all situations, you need a carefully packed rucksack. In addition to regular cycling equipment such as a repair kit, bicycle pump, etc., the following items have proven to be particularly useful and should never be missing on a biking trip:
If you have all this packed, you can feel assured that you are well prepared!
Islandhopping's Multi-Adventure Cruises - Family holidays without compromises
The Islandhopping Multi-Adventure Cruises are specially designed for families and combine fun, relaxation, activity, family time, enjoyment, and adventure. From short bike tours, hikes, and farm visits to swimming breaks in dreamlike bays and board games, there is something for every member of the family! A special advantage of the Islandhopping bike and boat tours is that you can save yourself the daily packing and unpacking - as is usual with multi-destination tours. For the duration of your holiday, you will be calling a charming motor sailer your floating home, which will accompany you from island to island. You will spend most of the nights in harbours, so you will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the romantic harbour towns in the evenings. Every day you can decide anew whether you would like to take part in the planned programme with the tour guides or rather get some great insider tips and explore the islands on your own. Sound interesting? Then Islandhopping's Multi-Adventure Cruises in Croatia and Greece might be just the thing for your next family holiday.
Follow the links to discover the Islandhopping family cruises:
Ionian Islands Tour in Greece
South Dalmatia Tour in Croatia