Here is a guest post from Denise Nelson – enjoy!
Cycling and Children
Children riding their bikes is a great way to teach independence and alternate travel options. Helping your children learn to ride a bike at a young age and to ride alongside them will show your children a healthy activity to partake in.
Cycling has many benefits, and learning to cycle at a young age will improve health, fitness, and exercise. Children are also young and need to be taught how to ride their bike safely, no matter where they’re riding. There are important reasons to teach your children how to cycle, why cycling is good for them, and that you can go almost anywhere on a bike.
Riding With A Group
When you ride in a group, you show children the safety in numbers and that people will be there if they need them. In a group, children are able to test the boundaries to see what is and isn’t appropriate when riding. It’s all right for children to test boundaries; this helps them determine what is acceptable and what isn’t.
Help guide children; when they ride inappropriately make sure to correct them and let them know why that is unacceptable. Make sure to warn them of the potential dangers of riding recklessly or carelessly. Children need to understand the laws of traffic at a young age; this is vital if you ever plan on letting them ride alone.
Riding in a group helps children to follow rules and the traffic laws. They are able to test their peers and their adult companions. This allows for a better foundation in riding and learning about cycling.
Bike maintenance is important for all children to learn. This isn’t about traffic laws or etiquette, rather how to care for their bike. Teach them about flat tires and how to add air to their bikes, how to adjust their seat, and to check their brakes before every ride.
Teach them about lubing the chain and checking for any damage or kinks in the chain. By helping them maintaining their bike, they’ll grow up to show more appreciation and concern for their bikes.
Children who learn about their bikes at a young age are more likely to take better care for their bikes and understand the way the bike works and that maintenance is an essential part of riding a bike.
Are your little ones ready to ride to school on their own? Test them if you feel uneasy about it. If you live close to a store or small shop, send your child to the shop for a little snack that’s easy to find. Time them and ask them about their trip when they return.
Riding independently is a way for children to become independent and helps them gain confidence and advances their decision-making skills. Taking a small trip to a neighbour’s house, a store, or meeting a parent at the end at the end of a street are all ways to improve your child’s ability to gain independence and prepare them for riding on their own.
This can be an exciting time for your child, and at the same time, a terrifying experience for you. Remember, children all gain independence at different times in their life. They may not be ready to go it alone. Ride with them for the first week or so to make sure they know the right way to go. If you feel more secure afterwards, allow the child to ride alone and see how it affects your child.
Make It A Family Event
Teaching children to be independent and safe riders is important, but you want to make sure to encourage the healthy activity. During the weekend or anytime that the family can go together, take a bike ride together.
The bike ride you choose can be just a nice hour-long ride around your neighbourhood or you can look up some trails for beginners or those that are safe for children. Some of the best local trails that are kid safe and parent approved include Hagley Park and The Railway Cycleway (lots more ideas here).
No matter what you choose to do or where to go, as long as you go as a family event, your children will constantly be encouraged to ride their bikes. This shows them that riding their bike can be done to get around, and gets them away from cars, except for very far away rides, and creates a healthy activity in their life that could last a lifetime.
Make It Fun And Safe
Show your kids that riding your bike can be fun by wearing family shirts that match, or participating in a bike race, even try letting them take the lead and decide where to go. Practise safe bike riding by making sure you wear helmets, and if necessary, elbow and knee pads.
Riding is a fun event that gets you close to nature, brings you outside, and lets you experience amazing things. When you’re safe, you can enjoy the outdoors and your bike even more.
I’m Denise and I’m a mountain biker who enjoys cross-country biking all around the world. I worked as a trainer for 6 years before becoming a co-founder of a private biking lessons school to teach people how to properly train and ride bikes to prepare them for cross-country and any activities they want to indulge in. I’m also a co-founder of MountainBikeEZ.