Summer 2014 is pegged to be hottest on record, that alone should be motivation enough to get us out and about, to top up our tans and start planning fun activities with our families and friends.
So, what to do with ourselves and our miniature bundles of energy, also known as our children, this holiday? With the Tour de France still fresh in everyone’s mind and the cycling events taking place in the Commonwealth Games, hitting the cycling trails is an ideal family activity!
However, what do you do if your little, or older kids have yet to take the leap to a ‘proper’ bike yet? If you feel its time to upgrade your child to a two wheeler before you check out some of the UK’s best cycling trails here’s some top tips for helping them learn safety:
• Firstly, find a safe place to practice, it wants to be a flat surface with a few gentle slopes. Its best to learn on concrete, it makes balancing and getting going a lot easier. However, if you or your child is a bit nervous about this short grass or gravel type surfaces can be more forgiving. However, If you kit yourself out with good safety gear falling off should not be too much of a worry. This could include: Shin pads, elbow pads, helmet and in some cases gloves. (Available online and in store at Sportsdirect.com)
• Next, make sure the bike is safe before you ride, the bike seat wants to be low enough for the learners toes to touch the floor while seated. Check that the tire pressure and brakes are working as the manufacturer recommends.
• It’s a bad idea to wear baggy clothing or open shoes when riding a bike, there are wide ranges of good clothing styles available. You should always wear a helmet for safety, with the varieties out there, there’s no excuse not to wear one.
• Once you are safe, Mount the bike and practice braking, remember, you should brake with the back brake first and front brake only when necessary, you don’t want anybody going over those handlebars!
• Now that they understand the brakes and are safe as they can be, encourage your child to find the balance point. Without putting their feet on the pedals try gliding down slopes without putting their feet on the floor, this helps them find that balancing point without panicking. Do this until they feel confident with their balance.
• The next step is to go back to the top of your slope and this time, feet on the pedals. They do not need to pedal, they should glide to the bottom as before rolling onto the flat surface, this in when you encourage them to pedal.
Now you’ve got them going there should be no stopping them! So, its time to get out there and enjoy the time with your family and friends while taking in some of the great British country side while you’re at it. Just don’t forget your sun cream and water bottles!