On your bike: How to encourage children to cycle
Cycling is not only a fantastic, low impact exercise; it’s also a fun way to connect as a family. But if you’re struggling to get your kids off the couch and on their bikes, here are some ideas to help foster a lifelong love of cycling.
Be a role model
Parents who are active are more likely to have active children. Why not plan family cycling activities in a safe place you can ride together? Depending on age and ability perhaps you could plan a family cycling holiday.
A new bike
If you’re struggling to find a birthday or Christmas present, a shiny new bike, complete with a helmet, might be the answer. A bike in their favourite colour, or with their favourite character on it may be enough to encourage them to start riding.
If your children love computer games, take advantage of it and get a cycling app. Programs like Strava or Ride with GPS track your route, speed, and time. Plan a family challenge to see who can make it to the top of the leader board.
The freedom of the open road, or bike track is a major milestone for a child. Perhaps this can be a goal they can work towards. If they’re old enough, have the skills, and you feel it is safe, they could start riding to a friend’s house, or to the corner shop.
Many cycling clubs have a junior league which teaches children important riding skills and involves them in the competitive side of cycling. This is a great way for children to meet friends with similar interests.
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Events like the Santos Tour Down Under (16-24 January 2016) in South Australia host some of the best cyclists from around the world. Whether you’re a professional, a spectator or a weekend warrior there is something for everyone. Children can register in the Bupa Mini Kids Tour, while mum and dad can ride part of the UCI World Tour Track before the professionals head out on the Bupa Challenge Tour.