How to Introduce Your Child to Cycling

Anyone who’s felt the rush of wind against their face and the explosion of exhilaration in their bones as they ride a bicycle will undoubtedly agree that it was the second wheel that was perhaps the best invention in human history. Learning how to ride a bicycle is most children’s first step towards mobile independence. After the initial stumbles and scrapes, the pleasure of pedaling and the relish of riding over long distances take over. Moreover, bicycling is an eco friendly transportation alternative and is a great way to stay active and fit.

If you have a child of five or above, it’s time to introduce him or her to the joy of cycling. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Buy the right bike: Getting the right size of bike for your child is essential. The handlebars should be placed at a comfortable height, such that your child doesn’t have to stoop and can clearly see the road ahead. Don’t be swayed by your child’s preference of colour or decorative design. Spend some time browsing options and give more weight to the bicycle’s physical design and structure while making a decision. If your child has no prior experience with a tricycle, use training wheels to help them achieve balance and agility.

Get on the right track: For your child’s first attempt at riding a bike, make sure that the road or track you pick doesn’t have traffic and isn’t uneven or wet. Protect them from injuries with kneepads, elbow pads and a helmet. As your child tries to pedal, support his or her shoulders and let him or her figure out how to steer and accelerate independently. Teach them how to brake gradually, decelerating and then finally stopping and also how to handle emergency stops by braking at once. It is very important that they learn how to grab the brakes, both the rear and the front at the same time to avoid accidents.

Restock your box of band-aids and smiley stickers: The first attempts, more often than not, will result in some stumbles. Make sure you have band aids and disinfectant handy so you can treat the occasional scrape at once. In the event of a fall, it is very important to keep calm and encourage your child to not give up.

Make it a family affair: To keep your child from giving up on the bicycle after a couple of rides, go cycling together as a family over weekends and holidays. This is great way to keep everybody in the house active and also gives you an opportunity to explore your city!

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