Learning how to ride a bike has always been a rite of passage for young kids around the world. It is an important skill to acquire at a young age because cycling is a physical activity they’ll be doing pretty much for the rest of their lives. Parents have always appreciated this and bikes are some of the most popular gift items for the young ones.
In the age of LEGO and PS4 and all kinds of cool games, some kids might be missing out on this important life’s skill.
Some parents may also avoid it due to the effort and commitment it takes to teach a young one how to ride a bike. It comes with all kinds of risks and frustrations and it takes time for your kid to balance right and start cycling away on their own. The most frustrating will be wobbles, the scraped knees, the screams and the patience to get them to keep at it until they get it right.
Learning how to ride a bike is just like learning how to swim. Once it “clicks” and they are able to take it in their stride, it is a skill that will stay with them for a lifetime. There is a whole range of benefits that your kid will derive from learning how to ride a bike at a young age. Let’s look at some of them.
Your kid will stay physically active
Children should have at least an hour of physical activity on a daily basis in order to stay healthy. Biking is one of the best ways to keep fit by being physically active. It is a fun activity that they can indulge in with some consistency. By getting your kid to learn to ride a bike, you are helping them acquire a healthy exercise habit that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
It is fun
At a young age, kids are restless and eager to learn and explore. Riding a bike around the neighborhood engages their senses to the fullest and gets them to indulge in simple, healthy and pure fun. Riding a bike is also a peer activity. When your kids ride around, they get socialized for the first time with other kids in the neighborhood who are also riding bikes. They learn to make friends, share and compete. This affords them the opportunity for a healthy social development.
It is good for the kid’s mental health and learning
Riding a bike isn’t just good for your kids’ physical fitness. It is also great for their cognitive development. By getting out, riding, socializing, competing and solving problems together, the activity helps improve their mental health and learning development.
Kids who get out to ride a bike will generally be more focused and eager to learn. Increased physical fitness also improves their moods and leads to greater happiness. The opportunities for kids to socialize with their agemates when they are cycling are priceless. The social connections made during childhood have a lasting impact.
Bike riding can be a family activity
Cycling is an activity that the whole family can indulge in, including adults. If your kid can ride, too, it can be a perfect activity to help bond together and share some quality time as a family.
It is particularly great if you already enjoy the activity as an adult. Teaching your kid to ride is a great way to pass on your loves to the little one.
Family bike rides are also a lot of fun while also giving the family the opportunity to cycle together and keep fit together. Just remember to give the little fellow plenty of time to rest. Kids learn fast. They will acquire lots of new bike tricks on your family cycling activity that they can brag about to their friends.
You can even take it a notch higher during the holidays by signing up for biking holidays and other biking activities. This creates a perfect setting for imparting the love for biking to your kid as well as lots of adventure that afford your family plenty of fun. For the little one, every new experience constitutes a learning opportunity.
It boosts your kid’s confidence
Every time the little guy or the little lady acquires a new skill, their confidence gets a little boost. Learning to cycle requires a lot of hard work and commitment and the little one will never forget the big day when they finally learned how to balance and cycle on their own. By learning to cycle early, they are able to build their confidence early which will motivate them to try out new things in life.
This post was inspired by my buddy Ken who is such an Environmentalist Hot Head. I really enjoy his frienship and would like to send my support to his business, Lake Macquarie Tilers.
The Bicycle is the Best Ecological Transport
Societies must face environmental problems such as environmental pollution, caused by cars that emit carbon dioxide, producing other more severe issues such as the greenhouse effect, global warming, and climate change that threaten the existence of humanity. On the planet, put into practice alternatives and strategies to minimize these ecological consequences through sustainable mobility. Thus, in the face of traffic congestion and atmosphere contamination, man urgently needs to promote and encourage the use of environmental transport such as the bicycle.
Bicycle culture, in general, seems to be experiencing a new golden age. Pedal fever is in the streets and on the internet, all fans of the world can find information from both professionals and amateurs. Nowadays, it is effortless to create content such as web pages, podcasts, or videos that people take advantage of to share eco-smart routes, experiences, repair advice, parts. Cycling blogs have grown exponentially in recent years, as have all kinds of online stores, which offer all types of products for sale.
Zero CO2 emissions while burning calories
For every kilometer you cycle instead of using a car, you avoid the emission of approximately 300 grams of CO2 (carbon dioxide).
As if this were not enough, riding a bicycle is very beneficial to health. In just ten minutes of activity at a rate of less than 16km / h, a person who weighs 60kg will have burned 40 calories, and a 100kg person will have consumed almost 70. In addition to carbon dioxide, cars also emit other greenhouse gases, substances that slow down the formation of ozone, hydrocarbons, and fine particles. Pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen and sulfur oxides limit photosynthesis in plants, a process that consumes carbon dioxide and emits oxygen, purifying it from the air.
Spectacular benefits in the well-being of people and the sustainability of the planet.
Without a doubt, the fact that some 1.5 billion cars circulate on the streets of the world causes a dramatic deterioration in the environment, invites us to reflect on solutions that contribute to making us friendlier with nature. That is why many governments and companies are looking for ways to reduce their pollution, look for alternative fuels, other forms of clean energy, and even rethink whether cars have a future in the context of the planet. Although of course, as has already been mentioned, there are other types of solutions, and one of them is this more traditional one focused on trying to use cars less, substituting their use when possible for walking or cycling.
A cleaner and more enjoyable city
Several cities have already opted for car-free zones, with bicycle-friendly plans and infrastructure to reduce air pollution and reduce the time it takes to get around. Community bicycle initiatives are replicated around the world, including in third world countries like Mexico, as well as the construction of exclusive bicycle lanes in all parts of the world.
Most car trips within the city cover 5 kilometers or less, distances that could be traveled by bicycle. A journey of 5 kilometers is equivalent to a round trip of 25 blocks, a relatively short distance in most cities. In addition to the effects of burning fossil fuels, we must consider the environmental costs associated with manufacturing, the road infrastructure, and the energy and materials used for repair.
Where do bicycles circulate in the city?
Within cities, bicycles can circulate along the lane intended for them, if any, or along the road alongside other mechanized transport. Cyclists may only ride the sidewalks in areas specifically designated and marked for such use. Otherwise, the cyclist must become a pedestrian, that is, get off the bike and push it. Some municipalities have allowed bicycles to circulate on the sidewalks, but the drivers’ associations warn that these municipal ordinances contradict the general law and are being annulled in court.
From the moment the bicycle occupies the road, it is one more vehicle and, therefore, its driver, in this case, the cyclist, must respect the traffic regulations. This includes elements such as traffic lights, ‘stop’ signs, give way, pedestrian crossings, road direction, etc. In the latter case, some municipal ordinances allow you to circulate in the opposite direction when it comes to a single-lane urban street (consult the regulations of your City Council about this).
Where do bicycles circulate on the road?
Bicyclists must ride on the shoulder of intercity roads. If it is not passable, they can use the essential part of the way. On motorways, they can only circulate on the shoulder as long as they are over 14 years old, and the corresponding sign does not specifically prohibit it.
The road helmet is mandatory; Not so in the city -only for those under 16 years old-, but we highly recommend it. The use of the city bike helmet protects the head against impacts that, even at low speeds, can be very serious.
How to overtake a cyclist?
The driver of an automobile intending to overtake a cyclist or a group of cyclists must occupy part or all of the adjacent or opposite lane, even when the line is continuous, and must maintain a safety width of at least 1.5 meters. It is prohibited to overtake a cyclist if said maneuver could endanger or hinder the progress of cyclists who circulate both in the same direction and in the opposite direction to the vehicle to be overtaken.
Always remember to have your bike in good condition. Have it checked periodically (greasing the chain to avoid breakage, gear and brake tension, etc.) and do a quick check before using it. With this, you will avoid breakdowns that are always uncomfortable for every cyclist and, in some cases, can endanger your physical integrity.
At what speed can a cyclist ride?
A cyclist can circulate at a maximum of 45 kilometers per hour and must always respect the established maximum speed. In other words, on a road limited to 30, it cannot exceed this speed. Also, they can drive at a speed below the established minimum limit, that is, they do not have to respect the rule that requires driving at a speed higher than 50% of the marked limit. For example, on a city road limited to 50 kilometers per hour, you can drive less than 25 kilometers, which can be useful on uphill roads.
Put on your lights at night.
At night it is essential and mandatory to use reflective and lighting elements, such as white front light, a red rear light, an approved vest, etc. These elements must be visible by drivers at a distance of 150 meters. Campaigns such as RACE ‘stay bright’ are very well on this path.
Precisely because of its slower speed and the effort it represents, you must be patient with cyclists. This includes not urging them, using the horn, or driving in a way that they can feel pressured.
There is no doubt that road bikes have evolved considerably since their invention. As competition cycling grew, so did the demands for increasingly light and versatile bicycles. Little by little, the brands were incorporating technologies and developing patents that made life easier for the cyclist.
Since its inception, the bicycle has been full of innovations and perfection that have converged in the creation of the modern machine that you have parked outside your office today; with the one you go to school or, with which you go out to conquer the path with only pedal power.
If you are wondering about every day cycling, check out our last post.
Next, we will show you the most notorious innovations that bicycles have had.
Today it is unthinkable that someone would take the Tour de France exit with a bicycle equipped with wooden wheels and iron covers. However, until the end of the 19th century, bicycle wheels were like this. Very heavy, very rough, not very maneuverable, and with a high degree of fracture in the event of a blow (the wood splinters easily in the event of a high-speed accident).
In 1887 John Dunlop developed the first modern tire. Changing the stiffness of iron and wood for the comfort of rubber was the first great revolution in cycling since it allowed cyclists to ride more comfortably and at a faster pace.
Before the rear derailleur appeared, there was an impractical way to shift gears. That involved getting off the bike, removing the rear wheel, and turning it, to use the sprocket on the other side of the wheel. Since then, the introduction of indexed shifting in the 1980s by Shimano launched the need for a fully compatible system of shifters, derailleurs, cassettes, and chainrings, and this was the first model of what we now call groups.
Before rear derailleur systems became popular, changing gears required the rear wheel to be removed, turned, and replaced. Started by Tullio Campagnolo while competing during the winter season, Campagnolo’s hands had become so cold that he had trouble removing the bolts holding the wheel in place to remove the wheel, and as a result, lost valuable time in the race.
The carbon frames
Almost since the beginning of cycling, one of the significant technological challenges of the cycling industry has been making bicycles that are increasingly light, resistant, and comfortable to ride.
When aluminum replaced steel as the primary material for making frames, there was a notable improvement in this regard. Aluminum is lighter and more flexible, which results in not only less weight for the bike but also the possibility of creating frames with more curved lines.
But the great revolution in materials came with the use of carbon fiber. It is light, resistant to corrosion, and offers extraordinary strength. Also, one of the significant advantages of carbon over metallic materials is that it can adapt to practically any shape and geometry.
Wire actuated brakes
Wire-actuated brakes are often overlooked, but we didn’t realize that the biggest problem for early riders was braking their bikes.
The first tests with this type of innovation that although they were not with cables but powered with rods date back to before 1900 and those powered by steel cables date back to 1901 demonstrating their superiority and efficiency, so they continue to equip most of the bikes we use today.
Electronic gear shift
They have been with us for a short time, but in the high competition, they have already become essential. And more and more amateur cyclists begin to bet on them. We refer to electronic exchange groups.
A rod system powered the first gearboxes. Shortly after that, parallelogram diverter was introduced, used as a mechanism to change the tension position of a cable.
If you’re a novice cyclist starting to commute on your bike to work for the first time, it won’t be long before it seems as natural as driving. It’s that easy. This assumes that you are reasonably fit and live a manageable distance from work. These conditions are essential since the inexperienced rider does not support long commuting distances.
When you come to your work, you will see your colleagues full of energy and very happy after having ridden their bikes from their homes to work without the need to enter public transport, having to endure bad smells and other unpleasant things.
If you already own a daily-use bike, you should only check it daily before going out to your daily routine. Be sure to check that there is air in the tires and that the brakes are in good condition, primarily if you have not driven recently. The best you can do is ask an expert for help or search for a tutorial on YouTube: essential bike maintenance is easy, even for beginners.
Your first ride on bike can be scary, but planning it before could help. A route planning app like Cycle Streets provides 3 options to choose from: the quietest route, the fastest route, or a balance of the two. Carry out practices when you do not have any pending activity, ideally not in the rush hour, you will already know what to expect, and you will be able to take route decisions more calmly. You can also consider a short trip at the beginning: you can ride part of the route on your bike, leave your bike at a station and then take a bus or train to your home or work.
When you are starting to ride a bike, it would be best to avoid busy roads as this will surely quench your desire to continue with the bikes. Therefore, it is essential to map out a good route to work that makes the most of the trails, keep in mind that ways made especially for bicycles are much quieter than roads. It is a good idea to first take an exploratory ride through them on a weekend so that you can adapt to the path. In doing so, remember that the fastest route to get to your home or work is generally the busiest. It will be well worth your while to add a kilometer or two to your itinerary if it minimizes your exposure to heavy traffic, and this could increase the time you’ll spend on your bike.
Tips for commuting
Begin with an achievable distance
If you live a few kilometers from your workplace, it makes sense that you have to travel both ways on your first day on your bike. Now, however, if you live far or many miles from your workplace, it may take more than 30 minutes to get there. In case your work is far from your house you can ask a friend for a ride and only have to go home on your bike. Ignore the criticism of others, just adapt the distances to your ability to ride the bicycle.
Wear a helmet
In case you are unlucky enough to experience an accident, probably you always want to protect your head and all the ideas within it. If you worry about your hairstyle after using the helmet, you can fix it with the help of any comb, safety first.
Consider cycling shorts
If your commute is longer than 25 minutes, surely you will be considerately more comfortable wearing cycling shorts. Cycling shorts decrease the burning sensation in your legs when you spend more than 30 minutes riding your bike, keep in mind to use them often in case you spend many minutes of the day riding your favorite bike.