Cycling is awesome, you’ll hear no arguments from us on that one, but riding a bike is so much more than ‘just riding a bike’.
As an adult you can commute to school or work, get fit, go on adventures, commute and see more cool things in less time than if you were walking. There are so many reasons why riding a bike is great for us, but what about for our children? Why is cycling good for are children? As well as some of the reasons it’s good for us as adults, there are additional benefits that come with kids getting out on bikes.
1. INSPIRES CONFIDENCE
For the first few years of their life your child’s mobility is limited to prams, carriers, car-seats and/or staggering around! When they can balance or pedal a bike on their own their world suddenly opens up and they can experience that magical feeling of travelling, getting places and exploration… FREEDOM! For a parent seeing your child master cycling is very rewarding. Riding a bike on their promotes independence and opens up their minds too a vast array of possibilities, boosting their confidence. Riding a bike opens their minds too a vast array of possibilities.
2. IMPROVES HEALTH AND FITNESS
There are so many health benefits to gain from cycling, both mentally and physically. Of course it’s a fantastic cardiovascular exercise that’s fun and not forced, but some of the most important benefits as far as children are concerned are the improvements to concentration, spacial awareness, improved motor skills and coordination. Cycling also helps build up their muscles, promotes better sleep and also relieves stress. Cycling is a fun sport and a life skill that once mastered can provide so many benefits.
3. GREAT FOR FAMILY BONDING
Cycling as a family is a highly social experience for your child. It allows you to bond, enjoy many health benefits mentioned previously, and share the experience as a family. When planning rides and adventures your child can be part of the whole process, from picking a route, to planning a café or picnic stop during the ride. Cycling can be enjoyed by people of any age and is a low-impact activity, so you really can get out with the entire family.
4. GETTING OUTDOORS IS GOOD FOR YOU
We are told that modern children are fast becoming an ‘indoor generation’, one that is glued to the Xbox, iPads and computer screens, rarely spending time outside. According to a recent European World Health Organisation report we (both adults and children) are now spending up to 90% of our time inside which is having a detrimental effect on our health. Getting outside can improve respiratory health, promote better sleep and boost mental wellbeing. Making an effort to get our children outdoors in natural light is vital amongst the distractions of day to day life.
5. THE FUN FACTOR
What’s more fun than being outdoors, whether it be riding at a trail centre, exploring the local town, riding in the park, or playing outside in the street making ramps and fun features to hone skills on. Cycling can be an amazing way for you and your child to get to know your local area, meet new people and stay healthy. There’s something incredibly freeing about whizzing about on a bicycle, riding in puddles and getting muddy. It’s also great for you to be able to see your child progress, grow more confident, and enjoy themselves doing something as simple as riding a bike.
6. LEARNING HOW THINGS WORK
Bicycles are beautiful and simple mechanical machines and that offer a great opportunity to get your children to engage with how things work, how to do basic maintenance, and how to do safety checks. It is the simplicity of the bicycle that appeals to many people, and understanding the basics can really help and aide development and enjoyment. Everyone should know how to mend a puncture… right!?
7. MENTAL RELAXATION...
John F. Kennedy wrote, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” The very process of riding a bicycle is calming and relaxing. When kids are riding their minds drift, they imagine, they day-dream and role play. We believe it that riding a bike creates a really great mental state that is the complete opposite of edgy and often overstimulating screen time.
… BUT ALSO MENTAL STIMULATION
On the flip side of mental relaxation is the fact that riding a bike can also be mentally stimulating… but in a good way. The mental stimulation that comes from riding a bike can only be seen as a positive thing. Your child will become more aware of their surroundings and environment, aware of the ground beneath them, the feel of the grips, the pull of the brakes. It will stimulate their senses... a sensory overload, but one that can easily be controlled and managed.
Relaxation or stimulation? It all depends on how you ride it… and that is the beauty of the bicycle.