Yep, it's official – the training wheels are off. It took a while and as friends will attest, it wasn't smooth sailing with a certain child's bicycle being thrown in the wheelie bin on more than one occasion but we made it.
I say 'we' as my kids learning to ride a bike was hugely important to me. Growing up my bike was the single, biggest leap forward in independence that I made after turning five. Suddenly the world opened up and I felt I could do something with my parents on a level footing. I have great memories of country rides with my parents where I would be pedaling ten times as fast as they were just to keep up but I felt every bit as fast as Cadel Evans.
Sadly very few families cycle outside of parks these days, which is a shame given the number of fabulous bike lanes this country has developed. Cycling keeps you fit and is better for the environment than loading everyone in the car for short distances. We recently visited Japan and the children loved being ferried around on a Japanese family bike (pictured). Obviously safety is an issue but it does beg the question how will children learn road sense if they are not trusted to ride in the real world?
When it comes to your first bike park for little learners there are a few points to consider:
1. Make sure there are no inclines on the designated speedway/pathway. 2. Try and find a circular track so that you can stand in the middle and don't have too far to dash when the inevitable stack occurs. 3. Take Band Aids and ice packs as this will be expected should the worst happen. 4. Expect training sessions to be short and sharp due to their attention span and your patience levels.
Majestic Park in Eva Street, Coorparoo was the perfect park for us. The circuit was just long enough to build up some independence but not too far to exhaust young legs or old.
We've moved on to bigger and better rides now. Our top pick is taking the Cross River ferry from Bulimba and cycling along the riverside footpath to New Farm Park. We've invested in some panniers and even ride to the markets when they are on. That way we can convince ourselves we have earnt our coffee and croissants.
Do you have a favourite bike ride with the family? Share it with us and let's get Brissie kids cycling.
Bec, there is a great park (not sure of the name sorry) in Red Hill near the Bronco's training ground that has one of those great circular paths at that perfect distance. It is really shady too for the summer bike training schedule. It also has a great play area well away from traffic should the inevitable occur and everybody gives up on the bikes :-)