Get On Your Bike with What's On 4 Little Ones!
Kids love cycling! It's great outdoor family fun and with sturdy scooters and lightweight balance bikes coming onto the market, it's never too early to get your little ones on two (or three!) wheels...
Search What's On 4 Little Ones now for a wide variety of 'Learn-To-Ride' classes and outdoor activities for you and your little ones. We've also got some great TOP TIPS from Sir Chris Hoy, bike reviews and competitions to ensure you can all have some family cycling fun this summer...!
- FirstBIKE - Check out what our little reviewer thought...!
- Get on your bike with Saltrock
- Cycling Fun in the Great Outdoors at Stanwick Lakes
- Cool Cycling Kit from Re:creation
- Fantastic Wheel Writer & Cycling Helmets!
- BalanceAbility - Learn to Ride Courses
- Top Tips from Sir Chris Hoy & Evan Cycles
We asked Martin Balhar, chief executive officer of FirstBIKE for some tips on getting your child started riding a bike. Riding a bicycle is one of the basic physical activities most children learn from a young age and further build on in the future. In the past, biking was part of the physical literacy of almost every child. In the same way we want our kids to be able to run, jump, throw a ball, or swim, we want them to learn to ride a bike.
Cycling is not only a lot of fun, it also connects people and fosters relationships—children love to explore the outdoors on bikes with their parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. The magic of biking is that it puts the entire family in motion—little bikers often encourage adults to get up and get moving too.
What kind of bike should I buy?
Over the past 10 years, bike experts have been recommending that when teaching young children to ride a bike, we replace heavy pedal bikes and stabilisers, with lighter training bikes called ‘balance bikes’. Balance bikes, such as the ones offered by FirstBIKE, have no pedals so children use their feet to balance and propel themselves along.
Unlike kids on pedal bikes with stabilisers, children on balance bikes can ride for several miles at a time and run up hills—all while having fun and boosting their self-confidence.
What age can my child start to ride a bike?
One of the biggest advantages of the balance bike method is that children as young as 2 can learn to balance on their own without explanation, coaching, or unnecessary stress. They are very proud of themselves and immediately become fond of cycling.
As your child grows and gets stronger—around the age of 4 or 5 depending on their height and skill—they can smoothly transfer to a pedal bike without ever needing stabilisers.
What should I look for when choosing my child’s first bike?
- Tip 1: Look for an adjustable seat.
- Tip 2: Buy a model with a quality brake.
- Tip 3: Look for a ‘steering limiter’
- Tip 4: Always wear a helmet
- Tip 5: Wear bright colours.
- Tip 6: Stick to areas with little or no traffic to start with.
- Tip 7: Transition naturally to a pedal bike when the time is right.
If they have ridden a balance bike, such as FirstBIKE, children will already know how to balance and use a hand brake. The only skill they still need to learn is pedalling, however, at the age of 4 or 5, it is a natural transition. Check our REVIEW PAGES for the What's On 4 review of FirstBIKE and see what our little reviewer (Cole, 3) thought of his FirstBIKE test drive...!
We all know cycling is a healthy and fun activity but with Minecraft and other digital tech offering a tempting alternative for kids, it can be a battle to get them out enjoying it. So to help, we spoke to Saltrock ambassador and bike trials world record holder, Andrei Burton to give us a few pointers to help you (and them!) along the way:
Parents – step aside: One way to get kids to master cycling is for parents to take a step back. Councils across the country offer free schemes to get kids on bikes and having a group lesson with a bunch of friends can really help kids learn quicker. Having the right person to teach them is crucial and a sociable, group session can instil the sense of fun that comes with cycling.
Show no fear: Getting kids to feel confident is key to them being a proficient cyclist. While it is second nature for a parent to nervously ‘hold on tight’ to the handlebars when teaching their child to ride, kids will pick up on this fear which will only add to their unease. Support them so they feel safe and confident to have a go but make sure you are letting them learn for themselves.
Don’t rely on stabilisers: For a very small child you will need stabilisers to begin with, but for an older child consider teaching them without. Kids have a tendency to rely on them too much which can inhibit their learning. An 8 year old, for example, should have enough balance to learn to ride without them. Remember they are a short-term back-up not a long-term crutch.
Get them excited: Capturing kid’s enthusiasm and imagination will go far to getting them on their bike and staying on it. Whether it’s a video of fun biking tricks or an extreme show or display, showing them the fun that can be had by biking will inspire them to get involved while eradicating any fear.
Saltrock: It all started in the 80s when two brothers travelling the world looking for waves arrived in the UK and headed to Cornwall. After growing short on funds they put their artistic talents to work and developed a highly advanced printing screen and blackout system using tape, nails and a Salvation Army rug. Saltrock was born and today employs 250 people, turns over in excess of £10 million and has 35 stores in the UK. For more details visit http://www.saltrock.com.
Stanwick Lakes is a unique 750acre countryside attraction and nature reserve in the heart of Northamptonshire's beautiful Nene Valley, and is widely considered to be one of the region's most imaginative outdoor activity destinations. It offers the best of both worlds: extensive play areas to keep adventurous families entertained for hours, and for nature lovers, walkers and cyclists, acres of wide open spaces and paths, where blue skies are reflected in tranquil waters.
Bike hire is available and there are a number of family-friendly cycle tracks. Children love the wooden play equipment in the adventure playground with towers to climb, sand to dig in and a stream to splash in. Explore the nature reserve area and you will discover our popular assault course and the adventure trail with climbing rock, rope bridge and zip slide.
And if the weather is less than perfect? Head indoors to the award winning visitor centre, with its café, shop, and a great little indoor soft play with aquatic themed play equipment.
There is always something to do at Stanwick Lakes, visit the website www.stanwicklakes.org.uk to see our all year round events programme packed full of exciting family activities. Discover pond creatures with the rangers, spend the night under the stars at a bush craft camp, and be creative with arts and crafts.
There is no per head entry charge for Stanwick Lakes, admission is charged through car parking fees; entry to most events are free, although there may be modest charges for some activities that are part of those events.
There is no doubt that kids love getting active. Bikes, scooters, skateboards and more keep today’s children on the go everyday. Now keeping safe while they’re having fun doesn’t have to be a chore. The unique range of stylised Raskullz and Krash helmets turns protective headgear into a fashion statement with funky mohicans and on-trend designs. Each helmet features a shock-absorbing EPS inner shell for protection and aerodynamic cooling vents for comfort as well as a practical, adjustable nylon strap for the perfect fit.
Add some attitude to their ride with this edgy mohican design.
Available June 2015 SRP £24.99. Suitable 7+
This helmet is no old sea dog. This funky friend features a pirate wolf….what else?!
Available now: SRP £22.99. Sizes 4 – 7 years
Horsey horsey don’t you stop! There will be no stopping kids with this cool 3D helmet with its cute pony design.
Available now SRP £22.99. Sizes 4 – 7 years
Funky Bike Accessories!
Kids will love to check out their speed with this handy speedo and high tech sound maker. Handlebar mounted, the Mega FX features 11 different sound libraries that change as cycling speed varies. The faster they pedal, the faster the sound. Speed is displayed on the digital display.
Mount the Wheel Writer onto the spokes of any bike wheel (20” and up) and, as the wheels spin, the super bright computer-controlled LED’s flash on and off to create a dozen different images and patterns including a real working speedo. LED’s show up in night and day.
Balanceability is the fun way to teach your child to ride a bike. Courses are 6 sessions in length and will teach your child the fundamental skills required to ride a bike.
Level 1: Age 2½ upwards consists of balance and agility games and balance bikes to teach gliding, streering and braking.
Level 2: Age 4 upwards combines balancing and agility tasks and balance bikes and then allows for children’s own bikes by the end of the course.
Britain’s most successful Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, recently announced a new partnership with British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme and Evans Cycles, that will help to deliver over two million opportunities for young people to get into cycling by 2020.
British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme – an initiative where young people experience coaching and competitive racing for the first time – will be supplied with 1,500 bikes from Evans Cycles to run thousands of Go-Ride sessions across the country.
Last year, over 30,000 young people got involved with the Go-Ride programme, which also aims to find the next generation of world champion cyclists – as the first step on the Great Britain Cycling Team Performance Pathway.
Commenting on the partnership, Evans Cycles ambassador Sir Chris Hoy said: “Inspiring young people across the country to start cycling and realise how great it can be is something I really believe in. That’s why Evans Cycles and I jumped at the chance to provide HOY bikes for British Cycling’s Go-Ride programme over the next four years, and hopefully we can help find the world champions of tomorrow.”
Over 60% of the elite riders who will go for gold at Rio 2016 began their career in the Go-Ride programme. The ambition for the new partnership is to enable more children to experience the joy of cycling, unlock their cycling talent, and – who knows – even inspire them to go for gold at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and beyond.
There are over 300 Go-Ride clubs across the country in communities and schools, where young people are able to sample the various cycling disciplines and enjoy one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. The programme is supported by Go-Ride Racing, which is a calendar of entry-level, local racing events for young riders.
Sir Chris Hoy offers his top tips to parents to get children on their bikes!
1. Take your time choosing the bike: Heavy bikes can put children off cycling and will have them struggling up any little ramps or hills on the way. Lots of kid’s bikes on the high street weigh an absolute ton, but Evans Cycles pride themselves on selling quality children’s bikes (like the HOY ones, naturally) which can endure the same kind of thrashing as an adult’s bike.
2. Learn to stop before you start: It’s sensible to teach your kids the basics of braking before they start going fast. This will keep them safe during their first parent-free runs and give them confidence and the feeling of control.
3. Lose the pedals: For the very youngest budding cyclists, a great alternative to stabilisers is ‘runner’ bikes or 'balance' bikes. Try one to help your toddler get to grips with the basics of balance and being in the cycling position for the first time.
4. Safety first: Not all kids want kids’ helmets - sometimes they want to be ‘big kids’ - but once children are old enough to understand, try talking to them about the reasons for wearing a helmet as well as leading by example yourself. And it goes without saying that choosing a great-looking lid that fits well makes all the difference.
Get going: Head for somewhere away from busy roads and lots of people where your little ones can have the space to develop their bike handling skills. Wheelies, track-stands and jumps are all things you can work up to...