While most of us are still working from home, and some of us are juggling said work with the joys of home schooling, this is the perfect opportunity to get your kids on their bikes.
Got reluctant riders in the family?
Introduce cycling as the daily PE lesson and they can test out their new-found strength from all those Joe Wicks workouts.
Here are a few more thoughts on how to make the most of cycling with your kids…
Manage your expectations
– yes that says “your” expectations. If your children lack either experience or enthusiasm you need to go easy on them. Don’t assume that they can keep up with you, or that they’ll relish the challenge of a steep uphill. And definitely don’t expect them to understand the mechanics of their bike. Cycling in one gear for an entire ride is fine – for now. They’ll soon work it out.
– it might feel boring to you, but taking it slow will give your kids more confidence and ultimately make for a far more enjoyable ride. Be especially mindful when you’re going downhill – it’s much more daunting than going up, especially if they aren't used to using their brakes. And don’t worry if they want to get off and push for a bit – as long as they are moving forward and they get back on when it gets flatter.
Bring up the rear
– it’s a good idea to keep the kids in front of you – that way you’re forced to go at their pace, plus it’s easier to give them instructions or directions. And remember to get everyone to stop now and then to look back and congratulate yourselves on how far you’ve come.
– if your kids are beginners or just lack confidence, start them off on grass, gravel and footpaths. Lucky for us, Richmond’s parks and tow paths are perfect for this. It will also get them used to changes in terrain (there's a cattle grid going in to Home Park that rattles even the sturdiest bones).
– there are very few family outings that aren’t improved immeasurably by a selection of top grade snacks. It also gives you a reason to stop and take a rest, which most kids will thank you for. Just don’t take energy gels – chocolate biscuits will go down much better.
Rules of the road
– take this opportunity, assuming the roads are still pretty quiet, to start teaching older kids the basics of road riding. What to look and listen out for, when to stop (and when not to) and how to signal. Something that is second nature to you will require a bit of practice for them.
Home school multi-tasking
– you’re already using cycling as a PE lesson. Why not track your route on a map and look at it at the end with them to work out distance, speed, gradients, etc. That’s a geography and maths lesson done too!
Get the tech
– an inexpensive bike computer can work wonders on a kid’s cycling experience. At first it’s just fun for them to see how fast they’re going. But once they start tracking their progress it means they’ll be more engaged and more motivated. You might even end up with a bit of friendly competition between you. With the emphasis on “friendly”…
If you are looking for a kids bike please drop us an email with age, height and experience and we can come back with what we'd advise and a time when you can come into the shop safely to try one out.