I recently learned about this cycling option and used the concept on multi-family bike ride around Ankeny.
Bike trains are typically found in busy metro areas like Los Angeles and New York City. With the increased visibility provided by cyclists traveling in a group, urban commuters can opt to use a bike train to commute around their bustling city. The concept is not just used by adult cyclists. Children in cities around the US have been able to participate in National Bike to School Day or Kidical Mass rides thanks to bike trains.
A bike train is a scheduled ride of up to 10 cyclists traveling to predetermined locations. Each train has an experienced urban cyclist serving as the bike train conductor. The conductor leads the ride and works to make sure everyone arrives at their destination safely and on time. Some bike trains also have a caboose. This cyclists keeps an eye out for those ahead and prevents riders from falling behind. For cyclists uneasy about riding from home to the “station”, valet cyclists can be available so they don’t have to ride to the starting point alone.
With summer vacation underway a bike ride for the kids was in order. the plan for the group ride would be to meet in my sisters neighborhood, ride to the Ankeny Art Center and then over to Prairie Ridge Sports Complex. With a total of 8 riders my sister took the role of conductor, and I the caboose. Riding single file everyone did a great job safely navigating down streets and across intersections. Using the bike train was definitely a good idea. It was easy to keep an eye on the young riders and give directions. On our ride we saw trees wrapped in sweaters and baby ducks on the ponds. Visiting the art center, and playing at the sports complex was fun too.
Using the concept of a bike train was the perfect way to navigate a group of kids around town. I’m sure we will be using this strategy again this summer. Riding the bike train is definitely the way to go!