We all know cycling is a great fun way to stay healthy, so why not involve the whole family and spend quality time together? Once you’ve bought your bikes, the rest is free; from days out in the forest, to exploring cool urban areas close by, you and your loved ones will be entertained for hours. And if this isn’t enough, here are some cool facts about the benefits of cycling as a family:
Cycling is healthy for you and your loved ones’ mind and body
Regular cycling can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and stroke as well as keeping your weight under control. Just a 30-minute ride will count towards your recommended weekly activity target. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/cycling-for-beginners/
Cycling is good for your mental wellbeing
Get you and the kids away from the stresses of the modern world (work, exams, social media!) – yes, cycling helps release stress and boosts your mood!
Cycling is proven to keep you young!
It’s true, cycling is the fountain of youth – a study has shown that cycling keeps your immune system young, preserves muscle and helps maintain stable levels of body fat and cholesterol https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/08/cycling-keeps-your-immune-system-young-study-finds
Cycling reduces screen time!
Get the kids (and you) off the couch and away from tapping and scrolling. By getting out on the bike you’ll be active, enjoying reality (not fake news) and encouraging the kids to stay healthy by enjoying the freedom of the bicycle.
Cycling lets you explore the local area
By getting out on your bike, you will discover your local surroundings, find new areas to explore, maybe a new coffee shop for post ride treats. You’ll also be able to show the kids important landmarks and buildings, pointing out libraries, parks, and police stations. When they get older they’ll know how to get there rather than relying on mum or dad’s taxi!
Cycling boosts brain power!
Want the kids to do well in school? – get them out on a bike – Exercise has been repeatedly linked to brain health – A 2013 study found that during exercise, cyclists’ blood flow in the brain rose by 28 per cent, and up to 70 per cent in specific areas.
And what’s more, cycling helps reduced cognitive changes that can leave us vulnerable to dementia later in life.
Cycling is good for the planet
Our children are growing up concerned about the environment. They want a healthy planet and we want them to grow up on one. Shifting just 10% of journeys from car to bike would reduce air pollution and save lives! – what a great example to set to your kids to show you care about the environment. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2014/oct/16/why-cyling-is-great-for-everyone-not-just-cyclists
TOP TIPS FOR RIDING AS A FAMILY
- Any bike will do! Just make sure the saddle height is set correctly (when seated you should be able to touch the ground with the tips of your toes).
- Check the bikes over to make sure they are safe to use (do the brakes/gears work?). Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure (you will find the correct pressure on the sidewall (side) of your tyres. And don’t be intimated by those funny looking valves – use our handy guide here – http://www.havebike.co.uk/news/post.php?s=2017-06-12-pumping-up-your-tyres-the-basics-updated-for-the-summer
- Prepare your route – think about points of interest for the kids, avoid busy roads and think about a rewarding stop at a pub or café at the end of the route.
- Think about what you will take with you. Make sure you all have enough water (is your bike fitted with a water bottle and rack, have a few snacks in your bag (maybe take a picnic?) and make sure you all have a waterproof jacket in your bag in case the weather turns (or just to use as a blanket for the picnic)
- Suitable clothes for the changing weather are a must, along with sun cream and helmet. Normal clothing will do fine for most rides, although leggings or tracksuit trousers are preferable to jeans – especially if the weather is damp – and sturdy shoes are better than soft-soled ones. Cycling mitts or gloves will make small hands more comfortable. Easily removable layers are another must – temperature control is vital to happy cycling. Too many and you’ll get too hot and sweaty but too few and children will easily get cold and tired.
- Take plenty of rest and drink stops (and be prepared to) – you’re on an adventure, it’s the journey to enjoy, not the destination.
- And finally, when we say helmets we mean for everyone. I know you want to protect your children in the event of a mishap, but what about mum and dad? You are just as precious and vulnerable to any unforeseen circumstances. How will the family cope if you are out action as a result of an accident?