Cycling

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While the evenings are still long there is plenty of time for bike rides after school, as well as the weekend. Follow our tips for fun and safe adventures on your bike.

Get on your bike! Cycling is great for the whole family to enjoy together, but it's important to follow basic road safety rules.

Top tips before setting out

  • Check your bikes over. Make sure the tires are pumped up, and test the brakes.
  • Every child and adult needs a properly fitted bike helmet.
  • On a long bike ride, plan plenty of stops along the way.
  • Take snacks and lots of water or Sunny D.

Sunny D is refreshing on a long bike ride! It contains Vitamin D, which contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function.

Choosing a bike

If you are buying a brand new bike it can be very confusing as there are so many on the market, so shop around.

Make sure your child tries the bike out. This is really important because the wrong size can cause accidents, so it's best not to buy online. She should be able to touch the ground comfortably with her toes, but if she can put both feet on the ground you probably need a larger size. Consider the size of the wheels. Too small and it will be tiring for your child, too large and they will find it difficult to get on and off.

From the age of about 7 or 8 or child can ride a bike with gears, and a BMX bike (which have larger wheels) can also be used from this age.

Cycling on the road with children

The idea can be terrifying, particularly in areas with heavy traffic. But cycling with your children to school, or taking smaller children in a bike seat, can be liberating.

It needn't be expensive as equipment can often be borrowed, bought cheaply, or found for free on Freecycle.

Smaller children can cycle on the pavement but past the age of seven or so they may want to cycle on the road with you. Make sure they are road-aware and consider cycling safety training such as Bikeabillity http://bikeability.org.uk/ which may be offered for free to children at their school.

Great cycle paths for a family day out in the UK

Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

The Family Cycling Trail is an 11-mile circular route graded 'easy', along the old Severn and Wye railway line.

Find out more:

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/englandgloucestershirenoforestforestofdeancannopcyclecentrefamilycycletrail

Chase Trails, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire

Some easy routes deisgned for families. The Health Sculpture Trail is just one mile long.

Find out more: http://www.chasetrails.co.uk/leisure-cycling/

Bewl Water Country Park, Kent

A 12 ½ mile cycle path through beautiful countryside. Open April to November (check before setting out). The park has plenty of other activities for familties too.

Find out more: http://www.bewlwater.co.uk/page.php?section=2&page=4

Grafham Water Park, Cambridgeshire

The 10-mile circular cycling path is great for kids. You can hire bikes from the cycle hire centre in Marlow car park.

Find out more: http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/leisure/water-parks/grafham/cycling/

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