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Have you noticed how almost all young children love to ride bikes.  They probably love it for the same reasons adults do.  It gets you from A to B quicker, that’s for sure, and it gives the rider a sense of freedom and exhilaration.  Cycling is also a great way to keep fit and save money on fuel costs, but I doubt our youngsters are thinking along those lines.

Does Cycling help Raise Great Kids?

I believe cycling is one of many activities that contribute to raising great kids.  If kids are cycling they’re not watching TV – which has to be a good thing.  But there’s more to it than that.  What about keeping fit – playing with friends – having fun – feeling a sense of achievement – exploring new places – you get the idea?    And cycling isn’t just for kids.  Whether you’ve always been a keen cyclist or never tried it before, having your own children gives you the perfect excuse to get on your bike and start having some family fun.

Start Cycling with your Kids early

I don’t mean early in the morning!  I mean, when they are young.  Even before they are off training wheels, you should be able to find safe places to cycle in your area.  Many parks allow cycling and ovals often have cycle tracks around the perimeter.  Some children’s play parks even have mini roads, roundabouts and crossroads, with mini pedestrian crossings and traffic lights.  Great fun for toddlers.

Get off those Training Wheels

I recommend you get your kids riding on two wheels as soon as possible.  The training wheels are great for learning, but the real fun starts once they’ve been taken off – the sense of achievement and freedom of movement is well worth the effort.  By the way, from my experience with two boys, it’s much easier to learn to ride a bike without training wheels if the bike is a bit too small.  It’s easier for the child to put their feet down on either side during those wobbly moments – and if they do fall, it’s a lot less painful!  Once they are confidently riding on two wheels you can buy the new, bigger bike.

Develop Healthy Family Habits

As well as local weekend cycling, we’ve had some wonderful family cycling holidays over the years.  Just recently we visited Canberra to see an Art Exhibition and did not hesitate strapping the bikes to the back of the car so we could cycle from Hotel to Art Gallery and then cycle around Canberra’s beautiful lake.  This came as no surprise to our two teenage boys.  We have never been to Canberra without our bikes – it would have been unusual not to take them.   While out cycling, we stumbled upon a wonderful memorial, The Siev X Memorial, which we probably wouldn’t have found if we’d been in the car.  And don’t forget to pack a yummy lunch so you can stop wherever you fancy for a picnic lunch.

Alas, Cycling isn’t for Everyone

Of course, I understand that cycling isn’t for everyone.  We certainly don’t cycle all the time – maybe 3 or 4 times a year, at the most.  We also love hiking and snow skiing – and you may enjoy something completely different again.    But, over the years we have definitely developed healthy family habits.  Our weekends and holidays have been fun and exciting (most of the time at least) and there’s a good chance our boys will go on to be be healthy active adults themselves.  What more can you ask.

For those who do Love Cycling

If you love cycling and your children love it too, why not plan a family cycle this weekend, or plan to take the bikes (or hire some) next time you travel.  You’ll see a lot more, spend some fantastic quality time with your kids, get to exercise and have a whole lot of fun in the process.  I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading Raising Great Kids Blog.

You might also enjoy:

Raising Great Kids – Top Ten Outdoor Activities for Kids

Raising Great Kids – Walking

Raising Great Kids – Building Sandcastles

Jan Littlehales

11 Responses to “Raising Great Kids – Cycling”

  1. Colin says:

    The hardest part for us is getting our 2 boys away from the PC and TV and onto their bikes, but once they’re out, they can’t get enough of it. Great post.
    .-= Colin´s last blog ..Inspirational People – Richard Branson =-.

  2. Eileen says:

    Hi Jan,
    Great post. You certainly do have a point about the training wheels. I was reading some time ago that it is better to buy a small bike without peddles (and without training wheels) so that kids can scoot along with their feet and learn to balance first before learning to use pedals. They just use their feet to push and guide themselves.

    We limit TV in our house and I have educated my kids from a very young age that too much TV is not good for your brain so we don’t have too many problems there.

    Enjoyed the read!

    Eileen.
    .-= Eileen´s last blog ..Chocolate Easter Eggs =-.

  3. Thanks for your comments Eileen and Colin. I smiled at your comments about TV Eileen. I educated my two boys from a young age about how eating food from a certain take-away was unhealthy and not good brain food. It worked – now aged 18 and 15 they still don’t eat it.

  4. Tom McEwin says:

    I have fond memories riding around as a kid and used to cycle to school. It sounds like you modelled some great behaviour to your children which is still paying dividends.

    On my last couple of holidays I have done winery bike tours and highly recommend them. They are great as no-one needed to drive, we got plenty of exercise, saw some stunning scenery and didn’t get to wobbly.
    .-= Tom McEwin´s last blog ..Explaining the Clickbank Affiliate Program Terms of Use – Part 2 – Regulators =-.

  5. Hi Jan,

    Cycling is great because it creates a bonding experience for the whole family. The action of cycling also makes the experience infinitely more interesting than merely walking. I remember my mum teaching me to ride many years ago. It was crash after crash until you just ‘got it’. That moment you learn how is amazing, like a whole new skill dimension has opened up.
    .-= David Moloney´s last blog ..What’s a Unique Selling Point/Proposition? =-.

  6. Thanks for your comments Tom and David. Cycling around the wineries certainly sounds like fun – although I’d probably leave the boys at home for that one! Cycling to school is something both my boys have done (one still doing) and as well as great exercise and fun, I think it’s given them road sense – even though much of it is on the pavement and on foot paths. It was definitely of benefit to my eldest son when he started driving a couple of years ago. And that amazing feeling you mentioned David – I felt it again when both my son’s learned to ride – you’ll know what I mean if and when you teach your own kids to cycle – parents can get sooo excited you know!

  7. Hi Jan

    At the beginning of the year we hired bikes whilst on a family holiday. As a whole family riding along safe bike paths, the laughter and smiles from ear to ear was wonderful memories. The kids thought it was fabulous to ride with Mum and Dad and loved racing us.

    The bike paths we used were full of other families doing the same thing and the bike hire company did a roaring summer trade. Thanks for reminding me of some very special family memories. Here’s to doing this again on our next family holiday.

    Thanks – Cherie R

  8. Hi Jan, I have just returned from a cycling holiday in France with my three boys, 47, 14 and 13. My husband is a keen tour de France follower and cyclist, and wanted to cycle in France, but how to do this with a family? We discovered http://www.velovercors.com They provide accommodation, bikes, maps everything, and very reasonable price. The host Roger is a former international rider and was so helpful. And they speak English! It was amazing to see my boys racing up mountains and just having the time of their lives. And a holiday where you get fit! It was fantastic. Bike riding is something that can reallly take you places. Also the area has spectacular scenery. Even though I am a middle aged mum and did not train at all, I did 600 km over 2 weeks and ate lots of french food and did not gain any weight. A fitness holiday with bikes is super, where ever you go. But if you want to try France, try the Vercors. Quite roads where great for our youngsters, with enough mountains to challenge even the seasoned cyclist.

  9. Hi Castaly – thanks for your comment. Your family cycling holiday in France sounds absolutely wonderful. My husband and I enjoyed cycling holidays in France (pre-children) and I remember the scenery, food and people were all fantastic. Velo Vercors is a great find – thanks for the link. Jan

  10. Ian Sibbald says:

    Jan,
    Love your passion for cycling. We have exactly the same philosophy and take every opportunity to get on our bikes. Our kids have been whizzing around on balance bikes since before they were 2. People stare in amazement as they zoom past. The eldest then got straight onto a pedal bike and went straight off. Looks like the youngest will follow as well.
    I do think training wheels are unecessary though – best to let young kids learn balance first and have fun. They seem to find pedalling relatively easy after this. If you don’t want to buy a balance bike then just take off the pedals for a while.
    I always think it’s a shame to see kids grinding along on training wheels when they should be having fun.
    Just my opinion, and experience…..

    Love your site philosophy. Keep writing!

  11. Thanks for your comments Ian. I’m not sure balance bikes were around when my boys were young – if they were, I didn’t know about them. I see them around now and they look fantastic.

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