What to Prep
- Plan your route: look for quiet neighborhood streets,
cross major streets at lights, avoid steep hills! Some resources to help you find good routes:
- Kidical Mass Arlington's holiday lights route suggestions, our gift to you (see below).
- NextDoor has a "Holiday Cheer" map, showing crowd-sourced light displays
- Many of these maps identify the really big displays, but riding around neighborhoods with holiday lights twinkling is magical, even if you don't see "the big 'uns".
- Bike Arlington's comfort map shows which routes are the more comfortable (look for the green ones) and indicates the steepest hills (stay away from those arrows!)
- Google maps has bike directions, and will show an estimate of the hills (make sure you choose "bike directions" and look on the left, under where the route option summaries are)
What to Bring
- Lights & reflective gear
- Clothes for weather - layers are the best (see this guide from WABA)
- Gloves - make sure you can brake and change gears while wearing them!
your face & neck warm - neck gaiters & balaclavas are great. Make sure you can turn your head and see to your side, whatever you wear
phone & power - a smart phone can give your directions if you get lost, can "phone a friend" if you need help and can even be a light in a pinch, but only if it has power!
& mask - because you need that brain and it's still 2020
- REI has a list of safety tips to review
Bring music, hats and other holiday bling
Make some hot chocolate! Either bring it with you and plan a stop to enjoy it (2/3rds of the way through is best) or have it warm when you get home.
Give yourselves extra time before you need to leave to run through some pre-ride safety:
ABC Quick Check your bikes - before you set out make sure:
- Air in the tires
- Brake are working
- Chain (and the drivechain) are working
Talk to your group about rules of the road:
- Stay to the right, but don’t weave around parked cars (drivers will have a hard time seeing you)
- Kids stay to the right of adults
- Talk to each other as you ride
- Turning right/left
- Car up/back
- Stop at stop signs and red lights
- Pull over to gawk at lights, and look before pulling out again
- Discuss the "what ifs" -- what to do if you get separated, if you need to stop, etc.
Family Friendly Holiday Lights Routes Map for Arlington, VA
- The locations with lots of lights/inflatables are marked with red markers, but there are plenty of other lights to enjoy along the way.
- There are two neighborhoods where are the streets are good for family riding, and it would be nice just to wind around -- those are marked with green & grey rectangles.
- The blue lines are suggested routes, but ride at your own risk.
- If you don't feel comfortable on a street, take the sidewalk. Just remember to ride SLOWLY, especially at driveways and intersections -- drivers don't expect people at biking speed on sidewalks.
- The name of each "layer" give you a little information about the route.
- The route in North Arlington is very hilly and involves more challenging riding -- this is not recommended for beginners.
- You can use these suggestions in conjunction with Bike Arlington's comfort map to create a loop that works for your family.