Cycling with Children: Safe Trails in Bangalore

Cycling with Children: Safe Trails in Bangalore Cover Image

What’s a better city than Bangalore, with it’s beautiful weather, to be outdoors cycling with your child? While motorised vehicles continue to dominate every nook & corner, here are some charming cycling trails I’ve found to be safe for children to ride on.

While most of the benefits of cycling are pretty obvious. When it comes to children, cycling is not only fun & adventurous; it really feeds to the natural curiosity of children and probably the best way to foster exploration and independence.

As a kid, I thoroughly enjoyed my alone time wandering aimlessly on my BSA Mach 1. There wasn’t a single lane in Chembur (Mumbai) that my cycle wheels didn’t roll over. I had covered every inch that had to be covered.

Both my kids love cycling and usually cycle a tiny stretch around the park in front of our house. Hardly any fun according to me! If you’ve ever cycled in your life, you’ll know that the joy of cycling lies in long rides. I really wanted my children to experience those long rides. Unfortunately, they don’t have the luxury of the quite, safe roads as I once did.

Ever since the elder one kicked his training wheels I’ve been on the look out for safe trails in Bangalore to take them cycling. Here are some of the tracks & trails we’ve been able to discover till now:

1. Kaikondrahalli Lake, Sarjapur Road

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One of the most beautiful places to go Cycling with Children. The lake has a dedicated cycling path along side the jogging & walking track. While some of the stretches have tree cover, most of the track is open to the sun. I would recommend starting early morning to avoid the heat. 1 lap of the lake would be about 2 kms. Also, access to the lake is limited to a few hours in the morning (5:30 am – 10:00 am) & evening (4:30 pm – 7:00 pm)

2. Bangalore University, Mysore Road

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Getting to the Bangalore University is a quite a hike, a little off city limits but the campus is really worth visiting. We cycled on the arterial, Bangalore University Road which has a dedicated cycling track and runs for about 1-2 kms. You can drive up towards the Old Outer Ring Road and cycle down a nice enjoyable descend. The down-side though, is the number of crossings on this stretch. Every now and then you might you’ll need to get your child off the cycle and guide him through to the other side. You could also venture into one of quieter roads which not only have zero vehicles, they are charmingly beautiful to ride on. We turned into one such road that led to a few hostels and a finally dead end.

3. Cubbon Park, Kasturba Road

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The roads inside Cubbon park are closed for traffic between from 5.00 AM to 8.00 AM every day. Cubbon Park is absolutely beautiful in the mornings – highly recommended that you take your child cycling here.

4. Agara Lake, HSR Layout

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The trail around the Agara Lake is still not paved which makes for a mini off-roading experience for your child. One lap of the lake would be a little over 3 kms. I cycled with my children for the most part before the security guard asked me to stop cycling. He showed me a notice which is supposed to mention that cycling is not allowed. I had it translated and it seems there is no mention about the ban of cycling. In any case, I confirmed that kiddie cycles are absolutely ok. I believe the residents & local authorities are working towards developing the tracks around the lake. I hope they emulate what residents have done with Kaikondrahalli Lake and we get a dedicated cycling track. Fingers crossed!

5. Find a quiet lane in your neighbourhood

When you have the time just survey your neighbourhood. There’ll always be a few lanes around your place that will be relatively quiet and safe; a road that leads to a dead-end, perhaps. We usually head to the lovely Defence Colony in Indiranagar which is relatively quite and less busy.

6. Take your child to a cycling events

Bangalore has a very vibrant community of cyclists, so there’s tonnes going on. Even though, most of the meet-ups & events are for advanced cyclists there are a few events that you can take your child to. Here are some that I’ve been to and would recommend:

1. Cycle day

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Cycle Day is held on the last Sunday of every month. The organisers pick a road somewhere in the city and have the roads blocked for the event. You can cycle with your children on a completely car-free stretch during the event. We were at the last event and were pleasantly surprised to see the number of kids participating. The next event is happening this Sunday, Jun 29th at Agara Lake. You can find more details on Cycle Day and the upcoming event on their Facebook page

2. Vodafone Cycling Marathon

Earlier this year, I participated in the Vodafone Cycling Marathon and rode the 20km, Green Ride. My children didn’t participate but I did see a lot of kids participate in the 10 km ride and a bunch of father-son combos in the 20 km ride. Hopefully, this event will return next year and the elder one can ride along.

Tips

Fueling the ride

Make sure your child is nicely fed before the ride. Fruits are the best, especially bananas. Also, carry a snack after the ride especially if you’re heading far – they do get awfully hungry after the ride.

Safety

Being safe and cautious is most critical to having a fun and pleasant ride.

  • Lay some ground rules with your kids before they get on the saddle
  • Cycle in a straight line, instead of next to each other. You should stay behind and look for any danger.
  • If you’re cycling on the streets everyone gets off their cycles and carts it along at a crossing.
  • If you’re cycling around a lake or natural habitat, stay close and make sure your child don’t venture beyond the designated track. You want to avoid an encounter with snakes at all costs.

Gear

Helmet

I would highly recommend a helmet especially if you’re cycling on the roads.

cycling-water-bottle

Water bottle holder

This is, by far the best investment I’ve made. The junior cycles don’t usually come with slots to screw the bottle holders. You can pick up strap-on holders that are easily available at Decathalon. A lot of the junior cycles come with the basket in the front which is fine as well, or carry the water bottles in your back pack.

 

cycling-rack

Cycling rack

Junior cycles would easily fit in the boot of standard sized car. But if you are cycling you might want to invest in a cycling rack. You can buy one from at R. R. Cycles, Bums on the Saddle, or try the Second-hand marketplace (you can find racks for rent here as well). This might sound unnecessary, but if you want to make cycling a regular activity this makes for a great investment. You can not only avoid all the greasy stains in your car interiors and but also breaking your back trying to fit your cycle in your car. Note: The junior cycles usually don’t fit easily on these racks you might have to force fit them or continue using the boot for these.

Cycle Stores & Rentals in Bangalore


If you know of any other trails that you’ve taken your children to, please do leave a comment. I would love to try it out and also share it with other parents here.

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