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Published:  2012-10-11 Views:  418
Author: 
Published in:  Cruises
Family cycling is a fun and great way to enjoy the outdoors as well as a great way to exercise. Every child develops at a different pace but they will probably be ready to start cycling sometime between the ages of three and seven. Also remember to emphasise the fun nature of it; try and relax and recognise that a scuffed knee is part of growing up and an inevitable part of the increasing independence that comes with cycling

Learning to ride a bike is one of the strongest memories many of us have of our childhood because it is the start of a brand new sense of independence and freedom, however, once you learn it the skill stays with you for the rest of your life. The first big hurdle, of course, when learning to ride is balance and most people start with training wheels or what are more commonly known as stabilisers.

Children can enjoy their independence, learning how to pedal and brake, but without the added complication of mastering their balance. Stabilisers can then be gradually lifted off the ground to provide less and less support so the child develops their balance. Some people argue though that this can actually slow down mastering the skill of balance as it makes the child too dependent on the stabilisers for too long. Remember though that stabilisers properly fitted will make the bike lean because the rear wheel has to be in contact with the ground to ensure the brakes work.

Children’s bikes generally fall into age categories based on the average size of a child of a specific age. But there are no hard and fast rules, as long as your child isn’t stretched and can reach the brakes safely and change gear easily, there is nothing to prevent you buying a bigger bike from a bigger age category. Wheel sizes are related to age as follows

12� wheel cycles – suitable for ages 2 and a half to 4

14� wheel cycles – suitable for ages 3 to 5

16� wheel cycles – suitable for ages 5 to 7

20� wheel cycles – suitable for ages 7 to 9

24� wheel cycles – suitable for ages 9 to 11

26�+ wheel cycles – suitable for ages 11+ - these are usually classed as adult bikes

Finally just some simple tips to think about when planning your family bike trip to ensure a fun and safe outing

1.Plan an interesting route to keep young minds engaged; obviously try to avoid busy roads. Traffic-free paths and local green spaces are a great place to learn to cycle in safety. A third of the National Cycle Network is traffic-free and 75% of the population live within two miles of it.

2.Don’t be too ambitious and keep the ride well within the capabilities of all family members

3.Take food and drink to keep energy and spirits up

4.Ride in a line with the children in the middle. If there is only one adult they should ride at the rear keeping their eyes on the children in front

5.Don’t forget safety gear, high visibility clothing and a helmet, properly fitted are absolute essentials

The author is marketing director at My Outdoor Store

The premier walking and hiking outdoor gear store.
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