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How do I get my kids to ride a bike?

c.1983/4

I am 5…6…maybe 7 years old. I am wobbling down one side of the cul-de-sac on my second hand red bike. Dad is holding tight to the back, running along with me. I am calling out to him.

‘You’re doing it!’ he calls. I notice his voice sounds further and further away.

‘Noooooo!’ I call, ‘waghhhhhhh! you let go!’

But I keep pedalling and I realise… I am a cyclist!

It all seems simple in my memory. Learning to ride a bike. Hmmm, fast forward to 2014

We’ve talked about our goals for 2014 a bit as a family. That makes us sound like a really effective family unit, you will feel better if I tell you my children were beating each other up during a long car journey back from visiting family on New Year’s Eve at the time.

I explained New Year Resolutions to distract them, and after a bit of half hearted ‘I promise not to hit my sister even though she is an idiot’ and ‘I will be nice to my brother even though he is mean’ we dug down further, and more importantly to me, to thinking about positive, achievable goals.

One thing I think would make a real difference, would be getting us all cycling. Mr G was amazing on his balance bike, but we stupidly let him try his new bike with stabilisers on and now he is terrified of being without them. Miss L just doesn’t seem keen, whatever we try. Her bike still has no pedals after the last You Tube inspired teach your child to ride experiment.

I always thought teaching my kids to ride a bike would be a happy childhood milestone, but it has been a source of stress, like learning to drive with my parents was. I may be looking back at my own experiences with rose tinted spectacles. So anyway, I met someone who does learn to ride a bike lessons for kids, so I may be booking them in.

I will be doing some serious cycling for Sport Relief this year as part of the TEAM HONK blogger relay. Grantham to Nottingham is about 50k by canal, scenic, traffic free and flat, but a lot longer than I have cycled before. Although every time I go near the canal I get punctures. So I need to relearn the art of bike maintenance and start cycling further.

Then there is the Chatsworth to Sheffield relay leg, which I still need to plan the route for, I have no idea how many hills or what terrain I will have to navigate. I am starting later in the day, so I need to make sure I am properly equipped, with lights and helmet lights for cycling safely in the dark.

That just leaves Mr A to retrieve his bike from the shed and get it repaired.

Then, if we invest in a bike rack, we’re good to go. Living the dream.

No one tells you how exhausting family life can be!

 

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