Encourage your kids to ride bikes with these tips from guest blogger Ben Hope! Learning to love riding bikes will set your kids up for a lifetime of healthy activity. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, not all children enjoy physical exercise, many preferring to sit in front of the TV or play video games all day every day. However, the good news is that cycling is one of the forms of exercise that most children seem very willing to try, so we’ve put together a few handy tips to help get your kids off the sofa and on their bikes.
Get Out There With Them!
Every parent knows this golden rule: the thing that your kids want most from you is time.
Get your kids to ride bikes by spending time with them – first, teaching them to ride bikes, and then riding with them. They will love you for it, and it will set them on a lifetime path of enjoying healthy, fun exercise.
Also called strider bikes – balance bikes look a bit like a cross between a scooter and a bike.
Kids from the age of about two and a half to three and a half can use balance bikes to develop balance while moving forward. After that, many can graduate directly onto bikes without the use of training wheels.
Even if they need training wheels on their first bike, they will already have learned the basic concept of balancing while moving on their balance bikes, and will very quickly be able to graduate to riding bikes without training wheels.
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Choose suitable routes for kids
No child is going to be inspired by a cycle around a busy town center, and in fact this could be dangerous for children who aren’t used to road cycling. Instead, include an incentive in the route. For example, while a child might not be interested in the amazing views at the top of a hill, they might be interested in cycling to the park where they can play, or to a parade they can watch, or to shops so they can buy a magazine, a toy or a snack.
Or just take them somewhere that’s simply awesome and interesting, such as the Stanley Park bike route in Vancouver.
Kit your kids out for cycling
Getting a new bike is a memorable experience for many people. I remember getting my first red bike as clearly as if it was yesterday. A proud moment!
And get them dressed properly too. Specialist cyclewear won’t just improve performance when cycling, it will also get your children into the right frame of mind. There are lots of exciting new designs for cycle jerseys these days, so letting your child choose their own funky design can make them feel much more inclined to go cycling so they can show off their fun cycle jersey. It will also make them easier to spot and identify on busy roads and crowded areas for your own peace of mind.
Watch a live event
Since the London 2012 Olympics and the amazing performances of all the athletes in the velodrome, cycling has increased vastly in popularity. The Tour de France is a good example of a popular cycling competition, though cycling events happen all the time in cities across the world. Check out your local news to find out about events in your area so you can go along and watch with the children. Chances are, the atmosphere will be buzzing, and will make them want to get involved.
Invite a friend along to make cycling more fun for kids
Why not ask your kids if they’d like to invite a friend along? Children might feel more comfortable going for a bike ride if they have a friend who is interested in the same thing; and it means that in the future their parents may reciprocate the favor, so that your children can get regular exercise and have fun with friends at the same time.
Teach Kids to Bike to School by Biking with Them
It’s not easy to start biking to school. Make it fun and easy by doing it with them a few times. So what if you’re late for work? You’re laying the groundwork for a healthy life for your kids, and that is priceless. Find a safe route and bike to work with your kids. They will love having your company, and both of you will benefit from the exercise. On your deathbed, you will not be thinking about the hours you spent in your office – but you may be remembering those wonderful mornings when you biked so school with your child.
Most schools provide bike parking, so this should not be a problem.
Hopefully, all of these tips will help you to encourage your kids to experience the joys of cycling!
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