The first moments of teaching kids how to cycle can be very frustrating. Below is a detailed guide on how to introduce your kid to cycling ensuring that they learn as fast as possible and that they are safe at all times.
How to take your kids for mountain biking
If you are planning to teach your kids how to cycle, purchase bikes that will fit them according to their height and body sizes. Cycling with the wrong bike size make the process even harder and compromises the safety of your kids.
Teaching kids how to cycle requires attention and close invigilation. The first step you should take as a parent is to clearly explain to your kids the safety riding rules to prevent accidents. They include: wearing helmets at all times, using the bell and braking safely. These rules ensure that the kids are safe and they treat the people surrounding them when riding with etiquette.
Ensure that the path they will be cycling on is safe. You should never allow them to ride their bikes on the road to prevent being hit by cars. When you are set to start the cycling practice, check the bike whether the tire pressure is good and whether the brakes are working. Make sure to check the weather and consider the timing because early in the morning it could be extremely cold or very hot during the afternoon.
Make sure to wear protective clothes like gloves and biking shorts and shoes for comfort during the cycling practice. It’s also advisable to include sunscreen if you will be out cycling for a long time to protect yours kid’s skin from the sun rays.
Pack a tool kit just in case of emergency and a first aid kit that should comprise of items to clean and dress minor wounds. You should also carry some snacks and adequate water to refreshment if you are going to cycle for long.
When riding, keep an eye on the kids to ensure that they are safe at all times. Sticking together also keeps the activity more interesting because you get a chance to socialize and encourage each other to cover the planned distance.
Last but not list, getting hurt is part of the learning process and it shouldn’t make you give up as long as you ensure to pack the first aid kit before heading out for mountain biking.
Safety tips for cycling with kids
Minor accidents are normal when teaching kids how to cycle but as a parent you should always practice safety precautions to prevent severe accidents from happening. Below are some safety tips that will help you keep your ids safe and out of danger.
1. Always wear a biking helmet– Many children have suffered from very serious head injuries and some have lost their lives because of ignoring this safety practice. It’s your obligation as a parent to ensure that your kids never go for mountain biking without wearing their helmets. Always remember that prevention is better than cure.
Make an effort to invest in a high quality helmet that will never jeopardize the safety of your kid no matter how rough the trail is. It should have a sticker that proves that it meets the standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The helmet should fit the kid perfectly and they should not wear any hats or scarfs under it. Teach them how to fasten the straps of the helmet to prevent it from moving around when cycling.
2. Road rules- It’s always advisable for kids to cycle along biking trails but if they are of age to cycle on the streets, they should observe these road rules.
• Always keep left if you are cycling past other bikers or people on the street.
• Make sure to stop when the traffic light turns red. Not only does this rule apply to cars but to cyclists as well.
• Always use the designated biking routes to prevent colliding with vehicles on the main roads.
• Don’t ride too close to cars because you can never be sure about their next turn.
• Avoid riding against traffic. You should cycle in the same direction as the cars do.
• Always put your hands on the handlebars when cycling no matter what.
3. Learn hand signals-It is always important to learn some basic hand signals that bikers use so that the car drivers can know their next move to prevent being ran over.
4. Mount mountain bike lights- No matter what time you are cycling always ensure that the lights of the mountain bike are mounted because you can get held up somewhere and have to cycle back late. Good lighting increases visibility and prevents you from tumbling over objects.
5. Ensure that the kids pack a toolkit and a first aid kit- You should always make sure to pack these two kits just in case of any minor injuries, flat tires or if the chains come off.
6. Make sure that the bike is well maintained- Check whether your kid’s bike is in good working condition before heading out for a ride. Faulty brakes can cause very severe accidents.
7. Stay alert at all times- You can always avoid accidents by staying focused and avoiding getting distracted by all means. Mountain biking requires you to watch out for anything that could make you lose control of your bike. This includes potholes, railroad tracks, rocks, tree branches and cracks.
Never wear headsets when biking because you need to use your ears to hear traffic.
8. Try to be predictable- Cycling in a straight line makes it easier for drivers and other bikers to predict your next move. Riding in and out of cars may lead to an accident due to the mixed signals assumed by the car drivers.
Last but not list, signal your next moves to others to avoid collision. All drivers and mountain bikers understand the basic signals hence it makes communication easier.