Pumping the pedals of your bike with the wind in your hair, soaring over the pavement with the world passing you by ? that's an amazing feeling! Millions of people the world over love riding their bikes and many use them as a primary method of transportation. Cycling is not just good fun, it's good exercise, too. It follows then that once you have children of your own, you will want to expose them to the joys of seeing the world from on top of a bicycle. Before you rush out to buy their first bike and a set of training wheels, though, there are a few things you should consider.
Safety should be your primary consideration when you want to introduce your children to cycling. There are many reasons for children to cycle, from confidence building to balance development. However, in the process, you should do your best to ensure that good safety habits are always in observance. That doesn't just mean wearing a snug helmet. It means paying attention to traffic laws, being alert, and being courteous to others around them, too. In this article, we'll run down the various things to be mindful of when it comes to biking safely with the little ones.
Ensure that everyone has the proper safety equipment
Before you hop on your bike and start pedaling away, it is crucial to stop and ensure that everyone has the gear they need to be safe. This safety exercise is of particular importance when dealing with your children and possibly their friends. Teaching proper bike safety habits start with the equipment. Enforcing good habits from the beginning is your opportunity to not only teach safety but to also create and reinforce those healthy habits. Leading by example is the best way to do that, so let's start with how you should prepare to go riding.
Your children should always have similar equipment sized appropriately to fit them. Helmets are by far the most important item of safety equipment. Since you're most likely to hit your head if you take a bad tumble off your bike, you'll want to protect it the most. The same goes for your kids! There are guidelines to follow for fitting a helmet. Simply put, it should fit very snugly, allowing no unnecessary movement. It should cover the entire crown of your head without being tilted or skewed in one particular direction. The strap should be sturdy enough to hold it as snugly as described. Most modern helmets are comfortable and safe, so no need to worry about the little ones complaining! Choose bright colors to be visible.For fun, let your children decorate their helmets with stickers.
Make it a part of the safety routine when dressing out for a bike ride to build good habits. Clothes should be comfortable but not so loose as to present a hazard concerning the bike's operation. Elbow and knee pads are also a good idea, especially for younger children. This extra protection will help prevent the most typical scrapes and bruises from minor bike accidents. Once you're all geared up, it's time to think about ride safety.
Biking with baby made fun and easy
There's a particular kind of cycling with children we should talk about first, biking with a very young child. Not only is taking your toddler out on a bike ride an excellent way to get fresh air, but it's a new and exciting experience for them. It's a chance to see new surroundings and develop new memories. However, it is essential for you to take good precautions when cycling with such a small child. Obviously, any accident would be bad, so it's important to take steps to mitigate the risk involved.
First and foremost, carefully choose when to take your baby on a bike ride. Waiting until they are a year of age is advisable in most contexts, though children as young as nine months can usually handle the trip. Select the right carrier for your purposes as well. Choose one which is lightweight but very durable and protective. Make sure strapping your child in and removing them after the cycling trip is straightforward and easy.
Once out biking, following only the safest of the safe routes. Biking inside parks, in very quiet residential neighborhoods, or on dedicated bicycle paths is ideal. Your baby will love watching the world go by as you pedal forward!
Cycling with your young children: the where and when
OK, so you know what to do when your kids are very little. What about as they get older and start riding bikes on their own? This scenario encompasses a relatively wide range of age groups. From the first time they clamber onto a bike with training wheels, to when they ride freely around the neighborhood, taking the right safety steps while riding with your kids is just as important at every stage along the way.
First, let's start by focusing on younger children who have a basic mastery of bike riding, but who may still use training wheels. What makes for a safe outing? By now, your kids should already have a good sense of dressing up in their safety gear for a ride. Out in the world, though, make sure they have a good understanding of basic safety precautions. For example, familiarize your children with all of the standard bicycling hand signals to indicate intent to turn to prevent accidents.
Teach them always to come to a stop when they near the end of a paved surface like the sidewalk. Always remember to look left and right at traffic crossings. Stick to cycling on the correct side of the roadway at all times, and teach your children a healthy respect for traffic. Of course, it's also important to caution against changing terrain and uneven pavement.
Many children fall from their bikes simply due to not paying attention to the ground ahead! Ensure your kids cycle at your side so you can monitor their progress. Finally, choose your path carefully. Try to avoid high traffic areas and potentially dangerous intersections. With these ground rules in mind, cycling without fear of an accident shouldn?t be tough.
Bicycle excursions: trekking out from home with the kids
Sometimes a quick jaunt around the neighborhood isn't what you have in mind. With older children, who have a lot more confidence on their bikes, you may want to take them out on a much bigger biking adventure. Pushing their physical limits is not just good exercise, but it can be exciting, too. What if you want to ride bikes over some distance, say a few miles or more, to take the kids someplace interesting? You might choose to ride through your city to a location for a treat like ice cream, or you could opt for a ride through nature on a marked path. Both scenarios present different safety considerations. When riding through nature, your children should be careful when navigating difficult terrain.
Do not rush. Proceed slowly and enjoy the surroundings. Take frequent breaks to prevent overheating and exhaustion, hydrating as necessary. For trips across pavement, similar rules apply, but increase the amount of water everyone drinks. You'll likely sweat more as you bike across hot asphalt and near cars. When possible, stick to bike lanes or sidewalks, riding in an orderly manner. Communicate clearly about where you are going and if possible choose a bike friendly route. Don't forget to include a fun stop at the end before you make your return trip, too.
Be safe, but don't forget: have fun!
Whether you're planning a grand adventure or just prepping for your young one's first bicycle ride, a safe ride is a fun ride. No one wants to fall, scrape their knees, and get a little teary-eyed in the process! Protecting your kids with the right helmets, good pad protection, and clothing of the right colors will do a lot to establish a safe foundation. From there, always make sure to obey traffic rules. Teach your children the rules of the road, how to signal, and of course, how to always be alert and safe! With that all in mind, it's time to saddle up and pedal out for fun and fitness. Establishing a lifelong love of cycling in your children isn't difficult. It just takes you showing them the safe and exciting adventures they can have on a bike!