The Age have been running a series of articles about cycling (presumably reflecting the interests of its readership). Last week was an article about getting into cycling in adulthood (dare I say it in middle age?). One of the comments suggested that one of the reasons people have to take up cycling in middle age is because its so hard these days to get kids into cycling. But I thought to myself – that’s not true on Adelaide Cyclists! I would say instead that we all go out of our way to encourage our children to cycle – taking them on rides, buying them bikes as early as we can, teaching them to ride without trainer wheels, giving them opportunities to ride longer and longer distances or try gentle competitions or attempt personal challenges. Obviously, cycling isn’t hard to encourage in children if you are already enthusiastic yourself. So I wondered whether maybe the problem (if there is one) is getting parents to ride so that their kids will too? It didn’t used to be like this. My parents hardly ever rode bikes (although I do have some funny memories of my dad on his “9 speed racer” doing a strange reverse leg mount/dismount that frequently didn’t go quite to plan and resulted in him and the bike in a rather embarrassing tangle on the footpath!) but we all learned to ride, though I must say geography and traffic curbed my enthusiasm for cycling in my teens, so I was one to return to cycling in my mid-20s.
Our daughter, the Tiny Tigress has just learned to ride without her trainer wheels. She was convinced she couldn’t do it until of course she could and now is itching to ride whenever she can. Because we live at the top of Greenhill Rd this means taking her to where there are safe and relatively flat bike paths to ride on. And aren’t we lucky in Adelaide? We have beautiful shady safe paths through the parklands that have allowed her to ride without worrying about traffic but still practice sharing the path, crossing roads with safety and with a playground at the end for a play. We have been going riding together most days of the school holidays. We have just graduated to some short rides along the footpath and she is getting her confidence up in turning and riding up and down small hills. It’s a wonderful thing!
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