The springtime and school holidays represent the ideal time to get outside. Thinking back to our own childhood’s, being off school meant spending hours in the garden or out in the park with friends and family; perhaps even out on bike rides and as we’ve reached that time of year again it’s time to turn our attentions to our own children and how to get them into cycling.
The countryside, National Parks and playgrounds are often filled with people riding their bikes and as the weather improves we’re likely to see more and more ditching the car and cycling to work instead – perhaps making your kids take note and think how much fun it must be to ride their bikes.
Whether they’ve ever ridden a bike before or they own a bike but don’t really use it, perhaps this summer could be the one where they really get into cycling. Now, we might be slightly biased (and make no apology!) but cycling is great fun, especially with the range of great bikes on the market these days and particularly kids bikes.
5 tips to get your children into cycling
So how do you convince your kids to get out on their bikes? Sure, you can buy them a brand new bike to get them out for the next few weeks of school holidays and for the summer; but how do you actually get your children into cycling? Here are some top tips:
- Start them young. It goes without saying that the younger you start a hobby the more likely it is to become a passion. While your children may already be 7 or 8, for example, it’s never too late to start cycling and the more they ride the more chance there is for them to fall in love with cycling before other interests take over.
- Cycle everywhere. To the grandparents’ at the end of the road, to school or even just to the park and back; rather than walking get on your bike with your kids and the bike might become their go-to form of transport. Before long, and as they grow up getting safer and more confident on two wheels, they’ll start riding to the shops and to see their friends rather than walking or relying on you for a lift!
- Reward them with cycling gifts and equipment. Now, we don’t want to tell people to go out and spend hard-earned money, but if you do believe in rewarding your children – perhaps for an excellent parents’ evening or for keeping their room tidy – rather than giving them a new computer game, reward them with a new water bottle for their bike or perhaps a new set of bike lights that will make them want to keep riding everywhere.
- Bikeability (aka cycling proficiency). A test might not sound like fun, but the old cycling proficiency test you may have taken at the age of 10 or 11 is a great way of teaching your child to ride a bike safely as well as new skills such as when to change gear, how to steer the bike and how to check on the condition of the tyres. Best of all, they come out of it with a certificate saying they’ve passed!
- Cycling holidays. If you’re going away but staying in the UK this summer, why not take the bikes with you and explore the local area on two wheels. It’s a great way to spend time together, seeing the sights and encouraging them to ride both further and for longer.
The best bikes to get kids into cycling
If you think this is the right time to treat your child to a new bike – or perhaps even their very first bike – then we’ve got some great new kids’ bikes that are perfect for first-timers and youngsters getting into cycling.
- Ridgeback Scoot Beginner Balance Bike. (USE PRODUCT IMAGE) Finished in a range of stylish colours, the Ridgeback Scoot Beginner Balance Bike is a great model for kids to start riding on at a young age. With a handle for you to hold to guide them on their way along with an easy to use back brake, they’ll be up to speed in no time!
- Scott Roxter 14 Kids Bike. Another perfect starter bike, the Scott Roxter comes with easily removable training wheels giving you the potential to fit them, or remove them, as your child’s confidence and ability develops. Finished in a great green and orange design it also comes with V-brakes and a stem protector to look after the frame when it comes to inevitable mishaps along the way!
- Cube Acid 200 Kids Bike. (USE PRODUCT IMAGE) Lightweight, easy to handle, even easier to ride and available in two colour schemes; the Cube Acid 200 is a child-size adaptation of the adult bike. With smooth gearing it’s one for older children ready to use a geared bike; while the strong frame is ready to stand up to the tests of on and off-road riding.
- Raleigh Zero 24 Kids Bike. A lot of cyclists start out with a Raleigh – it’s a British cycling icon after all! The perfect choice to get your child riding comfortably and with brakes and gears they can use themselves, the Zero 24 is built for young children with a strong, lightweight aluminium frame that’s ready for anything.
- Scott Scale RC 24 Kids Bike. Once they’re really ready to hit the off-road trails, this is the mountain bike to choose. Mountain bikes present the ideal opportunity to throw the bike around and get some speed up, taking on jumps and mud without any issues. Scott is one of the leading names in the mountain bike sector and the Scale RC 24 comes with the kind of spec you’d expect on an adult mountain bike – excellent travel on the forks, SRAM drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes and grippy Schwalbe tyres.
The best cycling helmets for children
Witch cycling equipment you can go one of two ways. You can either buy everything going to protect your child, or you can buy the most important piece of equipment – a cycling helmet. If you’re in the position to buy one item then a helmet should always, 100% of the time, without debate, be that piece of equipment. With that in mind, here are our recommendations for the best kids’ cycling helmets:
- Met Elfo Kids Helmet. A comfortable and stylish kids’ cycling helmet, the Met Elfo has a shock absorbing inner shell and hypoallergenic padding offering all-round protection.
- Bell Sidetrack Kids Helmet. (USE PRODUCT IMAGE) One of the industry’s leading manufacturers of safety equipment, the Bell Sidetrack kids cycling helmet is ideal for both boys and girls and offers the kind of protection that lets them shake off any fear they may have!
- Scott Spunto Junior Plus MIPS Helmet. Offering all-round protection and immense comfort, the Scott Spunto Junior Plus helmet offers the kind of protection usually only found in adult cycling helmets to keep your child safe on any and all rides.
How do I measure a cycling helmet for my child?
Measuring a child’s cycling helmet is a fairly quick and easy process. If you own a tape measure simply wrap it around their head covering the widest points – the forehead and crown – and measure the overall diameter. From that point on you can judge the size of the helmet accurately as you don’t want a helmet with so much room it can move around and provide no support, but you also don’t want it so tight that it puts pressure on the head.