“On Two Wheels” by Ian Bax (pictured) of Roy Jervis, Ripley.
By the time you read this Christmas will be well and truly over, apart from, for a lot of us, the “did I really spend that much” credit card bill and the extra inches and pounds we seem to have received from
Santa’s festive treats! Unfortunately I can’t help with the credit card bill (well yours anyway!) but maybe we can do something to help shed the unwanted pounds. GET ON YA BIKE!
As I sit and write this article with just 10 days to go till Christmas we are busy at the shop building, preparing and storing bicycles and scooters of all shapes and sizes ready for Santa to collect and deliver to kids of all ages and cycling abilities. I love seeing kids out on the street on Christmas morning riding their new bikes, especially when we’ve sold them!
Cycling is life enhancing, not only is it a mode of transport but it’s a balancing act, a tool for exploratory play and a form of exercise all wrapped up in an eco-friendly package. Did you know that cycling is by far the most popular sport related exercise among children?
For kids, learning to ride a bike is a key rite of passage giving them a great sense of independence, enabling them to undertake journeys that were too boring or too far to walk previously and making them fun and exciting. Cycling enables children to explore new places, meet up with friends and make new friends that were out of their reach before.
Obviously there are risks with cycling; bicycles can be fast, a lot faster than running which, in itself, is an attraction for many children. I’m sure many of us used to build ramps and tracks to see how far we could push ourselves and our trusty steeds! Children do hurt themselves on bikes; I did, but most injuries are slight and every knock is a learning experience and that is no reason to limit their rides to weekends with adult supervision.
As a kid I would spend most summer days during the school holidays with my best mate Chris out on our bikes going for miles with only a water bottle, some sandwiches and a few pennies for sweets! For those of you who have read my previous articles and have some idea of my age you will know that we didn’t have mobile phones either! We loved it, regularly clocking up 50 miles or more and discovering places we didn’t know existed, our favourite being “Stone Rocks” at Weirwood Reservoir in Sussex (I’m a Southerner, don’t hold it against me!) where we would climb the rocks and meet up with like-minded kids.
We didn’t even have cycle helmets in those days something which should be a must today and as familiar to kids as putting their seat belt on in a car.
Well 500 words is fast approaching, so let me just end by saying that not only is cycling fantastic for children’s development and general health, but it is also something that we can all get a massive benefit from, keeping us healthy in body and mind and giving us an activity that we can do as a family.
Good luck with the diet and I look forward to seeing you all soon.
This article appears in our Feb/Mar 2012 issues - click here to read the All Things Local issue of your choice.