Cycling is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It also happens to be the perfect way to spend quality time with our loved ones…if we can get them to give it a go! Convincing our families to swap the screens for cycling is often easier said than done.
With the right encouragement and equipment, we can have the whole family loving cycling just as much as we do. It’s the perfect all-ages activity that appeals to a wide range of personalities. So today we’re going to explore six ways to make cycling a family affair and instil a life-long love of the sport in your kids.
1. Remember what it was that made you love cycling
Take yourself back to the time when you first began cycling. What was it that made you love it so much? For some of us it was the freedom to explore new places. For others, the excitement of finding a fun way to exercise. Boost your family’s enthusiasm by sharing your earliest experiences and how they contributed to your interest in cycling.
2. Go back to the basics
If you have little ones only just learning to ride a bike, you’ll need to teach them the essentials for safe riding. You have a lot of knowledge to impart! The beauty of cycling is that it’s easy to learn and quickly gives kids a sense of achievement and freedom. When teaching your child to ride, your main goal is to build their confidence so that they have the skills and self-assurance to ride independently.
3. Remove the pressure
There is no place for pressure when trying to encourage your family to love cycling. It’s important to remember that family rides are not a competitive sport. Both your kids and significant other might find their first ride daunting, especially if they’re under pressure to keep up with you.
As tempting as it may be to don your top-end racing gear and hit your favourite cycle routes, this will only intimidate your family and put them off riding. It’s best to start with short, easy tracks until everyone is comfortable handling their bike. It worked for us, so give it a try!
4. Explore new places
Keep things interesting by exploring different trails and pathways each time you ride. Stick to flat tracks with plenty of space while your family gets used to cycling. As skills develop over time, you’ll be able to venture further and add some exciting natural obstacles such as trees, hills, and twisting paths. Before you know it, you’ll be exploring new terrain both locally and abroad.
5. Let your kids set the pace
If you’re looking for quality family time, you won’t find it if you’re zooming ahead.
Instilling a love of cycling in your kids begins with letting them set the pace. This will require a touch of patience. As exciting as it may be to finally have your family cycling with you, it’s your job as the skilled rider to keep an eye on them and watch out for potential hazards ahead.
6. Get the right equipment
The better your equipment, the better the riding experience. While there is an initial expense to set the family up with riding equipment, the ongoing costs are very small. Check out our Gear Break for news and updates on the latest and greatest gear on the market.
The key is to make everyone as comfortable as possible in each of the following areas:
Have each family member fitted with the right sized bike. For variety in your family rides, choose a lightweight, manoeuvrable model that can be used for both road and trail.
Helmets should not be able to rock from side to side. Purchase helmets that are secure and snug but still comfortable.
Pre-schoolers need safe, secure bike seats that easily attach to your bike. Front mounted child bike seats are the perfect option for even weight distribution and active participation from little riders.
Ensure there is enough padding for comfortable riding on longer distances. This may require purchasing an extra saddle cushion.
Choose snug-fitting clothing that won’t restrict freedom of movement. Ensure riders have no loose clothing that could get caught in the bike while riding.
In conclusion? Have fun!
Having fun on every ride guarantees that your family will look forward to cycling with you. Focus on creating a fun experience for all, even if it means taking a step back from your usual cycle routes for a while. Fun is the foundation for creating a life-long interest in cycling. It won’t be long before your family feels the freedom and joy that riding brings.