Cycling is a fun, cost effective activity for the whole family; think about it, your first bike, the pedals and the spokes, the immense happiness you felt as you flew from the guiding hands of Mum or Dad into the street for the first time. Alone, in control, free. While many of us are hesitant to let our kids fly the coop too soon, into a world of dangers and unwelcome surprises, cycling really isn’t one of those activities we should be over-thinking. Introducing your young family to the world of bikes early will allow you to jump back on the pedals sooner; your road biking or weekend BMX’ing days are far from finished. But why start early, will your kids really benefit?
Get Up and Get Moving
Cycling with toddlers and young children (even if you have to purchase a tow-along gig or a baby seat) will provide the impetus you may have lacked to move forward in the fitness stakes – cycling can help you to churn the cellulite clinging to your thigh and tone up your butt, enhance your self-esteem and put a positive spin on post-natal stress.
And for the kids? We’re routinely encouraged to push them out doors, into the sunshine for at least thirty minutes of exercise per day. In an increasingly technological world, this is easier said than done. If you live close to school grounds and they’ve reached an age we’re you can trust them to respect the rules of the road, cycling to and from school will ensure their daily physical needs are met without waging war on screen-time.
Encourage Independence and Boost Communication
From a young age, we spend our lives figuring out the best ways to give our parents the slip; a common sense skill like cycling will help you teach kids communication skills, boundaries and responsibility, as they become more confident with new terrains and learn from unfortunate accidents. It will also allow you to gauge how the little ones deal with problems and mishaps.
Kids like to feel trusted. By giving them the tools to tour the neighborhood with confidence and a mode of reliable transport, you increase their involvement with the local area and open the doors of their social life. This investment will be returned one hundred fold, as kids are more likely to open up to parents who respect their need to explore the world.
Family rides might sound a little naff, but heading out on the weekend as a united troop on wheels can do wonders for good old family bonding. Fresh air is good for the soul and it needn’t be boring; there are usually a variety of paths around town that offer challenges and resistance. Time out of the house will get the kids to open up and unleash some school yard frustrations.
But where do you find the right bike for your child? Places like 99bikes.com.au and bricks and mortar stores offer a range of brands and sizes for every stage of your child’s development.