Cycling is an excellent way to get out and about and also connect with children while setting an early example of the positive benefits of keeping fit.
But how do you get kids out cycling and, more importantly, enjoying it?
As keen cyclists, we couldn’t wait to get our children cycling. For their second birthday, each was given a balance bike and soon they were running along on these, unwittingly learning the difficult art of balancing on a bike. On their third birthdays, they were presented with ‘proper’ bikes and within half an hour they were pedalling independently, without stabilizers.
From then on, we started working cycling into everyday life. Everywhere we could cycle, we did – to the library, to nursery (preschool), round the local park and slowly moving on to slightly longer efforts on local cycle paths.
Now, at the ages of 4 and 6, our two intrepid cyclists are faster than mum and dad, do an 8-10 mile run no problem and positively look forward to bike trips. So what have we, as parents, learned about making our family bike rides successful?
Here are our top 6 tips for cycling with kids.
– Work cycling into everyday life. Cycle to school or round to the park or even just to the post box to post a letter, but do try to get out on the bike every day.
– Remember to acknowledge children for their efforts– for example, if they get up a hill they haven’t managed before, or go further than they’ve ever gone let them know you saw them do it.
– Make sure all your bikes are in good condition and don’t skimp on the children’s bikes. If you’ve just got the latest upgrades for your mountain bikes , maybe let the kids have something new for theirs too – like a new water bottle or bell.
– Take more spare clothing that you’d think necessary. Children can and do get colder much quicker than adults and cold children will no longer be joyful making for a miserable bike ride for everyone.
– Take snacks. Lots of snacks. Children need constant refuelling.
– Factor in a café stop. A café stop gives tired legs a rest and hungry cyclists a chance to have a healthy treat and the family a chance to chat.
Hopefully by following these tips, you can start having successful trips of your own. Happy cycling!