Riding a bike can be one of life’s great pleasures. The wind in your hair, the freedom, and the fun can be hard to beat.
For a lot of young kids just starting out, though, there’s another reality about biking that is also true: it can be difficult and it makes little legs tired. Some kids will want to go on longer bike rides right away but most need a little encouragement.
These tips from AfL Role Model, Tanya Koob, will get your kids rolling in no time:
1. Pedal through puddles
Find some big bad puddles to ride through and organize a puddle fest biking event with friends.
2. Plan a fun destination
Biking is the same as hiking. Kids need a destination and a purpose. Riding for the sake of riding may work for some kids but for others, riding to a playground, a duck pond, a big bridge, or even ice-cream shop just might be the incentive they need.
3. Go off the beaten path
Do some exploring and try out some natural trails for a bit of variety. Maybe your child just doesn’t like pavement. As a plus, it doesn’t hurt as much if they fall.
Guest post by AfL Role Model, Tanya Koob
Tanya is an adventurous mom who has not slowed down since the birth of her son, 6 years ago. This article first appeared on her blog Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies, which chronicles the joys and challenges of taking kids hiking, camping, backpacking, skiing, biking, paddling and all-out exploring in the Canadian Rockies.
4. Head for the hills
Find a gentle grass hill and let your child have fun practicing his or her gliding down it. Grab the video camera and play the movie when you get home. Kids love watching themselves in action!
5. Have fun with natural obstacles
Set up a natural obstacle course using trees, hills, narrow twisty paths, or piles of dirt to add some challenge.
6. Get your game on
Try setting up some races, a game of Follow the Leader, or a friendly bike competition.
7. Take a break
Stop to play in the mud, collect sticks, throw rocks in a river, play in a forest. Just get off the bikes and let the kids have some time for free play.
8. Bring friends
As I always say, bringing a friend is like giving your child a superman cape. Try it. It works magic.
9. Make it a family ride
Maybe your child needs to see Mom and Dad on a bike, too. I bought my first adult bike last spring so that I could be a motivation to my son.
10. Know when to call it quits
Bring a Chariot for younger kids when they tire out or even use it to carry their bikes when going up steep hills. Know when it’s time to turn around, and don’t push it. Power marathon bike rides usually end poorly when children get too tired to keep going.