Step 1- Keep Your Kids Warm and Entertained in the Bike Trailer
Some people say kids are like little furnaces and I agree to a certain point. Kids' bodies stay warm when you dress them up right but their extremities always seem to fluctuate. Proper gloves or boots are important, but making sure layers are not too tight are critical for winter fat biking with a kids' trailer on skis.
Follow the three layer rule. We start with a long sleeve onesie and fleece pants and socks, then move onto a fleece sleeper and end with a down filled bunting bag, we love our Patagonia hi loft bunting bag. Then a terry cloth scarf bib and a warm hat. An adult down coat and a fleece blanket are the blankets I put over my daughter. I also put a blanket for her to sit on as the hard fabric seat can get a little cold. Be careful of zippers and Velcro near their neck and faces.
Bring some toys and comfort items with you. Same as in the summer, kids enjoy their favourite stuffy or blanket and the extra time you take to make sure you remember their comfort items can sometimes make or break a chariot ride, especially in winter.
A few little tips beyond clothing to keep kids warm:
- Fill a Nalgene bottle full of hot water and wrap it up well in a blanket or stuff it inside a down bootie, it will keep the blankets warm for a long time. Put it in the chariot on the way to the trailhead or twenty minutes before you leave your house. It will keep the chariot warm and toasty.
- Little disposable heat packs are great to share. I put them on the outside of her snow-suit by her hands and feet. I say share because unlike the hot water bottle which stays at a predictable temperature, the hot packs can get too warm for sensitive hands and feet. Therefore I check them every twenty minutes and put them into my gloves for 5 minutes or so until I suck some heat from them.
Step 2- Make sure your gear is set up before you start getting you child ready to go out
The normal Thule bike attachment, the ski part of the Thule ski attachment, and a different rear axle are all you need to get out on the trails. The Robert Alex Project axle is the best rear axle for ease and ability to quickly attach your trailer to your bike. There are many sizes to fit the weird fat bike axle standards.
Go for a ride with an empty chariot, seeing how it steers a little different with skis. My wife gave me the ok to get a fat bike this year as I would be ski touring less and I said I would go cross country skiing with her. Cross country skiing is a great work out, I just don't like it and controlling a chariot is way easier on a bike than on xc skis. It's a great family adventure now.
Step 3- Getting Outside is Hard but Important
Remember getting outside with your kids is important for their well being as much as yours. As an elementary school teacher, I am constantly amazed at how addicted our kids are to technology and how when they go outside for recess so many of them are glued to their technology instead of enjoying the playground or the nature forest.
Kids emulate their parents, if they see you enjoying your time outside, being active and riding your bike, they will be more likely to enjoy it and want to ride too. If my daughter doesn't want to ride her bike as much as I do, that is ok. That said, I will set her up to have the best experience by making sure I provide her with the proper gear to have a fun time. Even if you get a mile down the road and your child wants to find snow fairies and make snow angels, its way better than sitting on the couch or watching treehouse..