In a modern world, where advances in technology have left generations more divided and indoor-bound than ever, the one sure way to close the gap, get outdoors and create strong family bonding experiences, is by bicycle. Here are five practical, fun bicycle-bonding experiences that could change your families life for the better.
Going away on a cycling weekend requires planning and preparation beforehand. This encourages personal communication and consensus. It can be discussed around the kitchen/dining table and made to be a project for everyone in the family, with each member being assigned a responsibility, even if it’s small. It’s best to choose a destination that offers cycling stimulation for everyone in the family. Adults are generally fine with uncomplicated, longer rides, but teens and kids find short, flowy, fun rides more interesting.
Here are 50 family-friendly cycle routes in the UK to help you with your planning: https://www.cyclinguk.org/article/50-family-friendly-cycle-routes-uk
You can do this near home and all it requires is a bit of planning and creative thinking. Set out a local riding loop that’s easy for the whole family to complete. Pre-select four or five obvious landmarks on the route as a ‘hit list’. Match up family members and /or friends into two teams. Then set off at the same time with one team starting at the top of the hit list and the other at the bottom. The objective is to take selfies at each landmark on the list and complete the route. The team that collects selfies at all landmarks in the shortest time wins. The losing team must buy ice-cream for all. Make it fun and interactive. Be sure to Team up adults with kids so that there is at least one responsible person per team.
Pick a local landmark (geographic or historic) or a kids play park and plan a riding excursion to that landmark or park and back home again. Choose the landmark or park based on distance from home and the ages of your children. Pack some snacks and drinks in a backpack and then head out on your adventure. There are two parts to your adventure, the first reaching the landmark or park. Once at your goal landmark or park, get off the bikes and have a picnic. Don’t rush. Make it interesting and fun. If it’s a park, let the kids play.
The second part is the return to home. This will be a bit tougher because the adventure part is behind you. Don’t rush to get there, enjoy the journey and stop to look at, touch, smell anything interesting on the way.
The more confidence you have on a bicycle, the more you enjoy riding and the more you want to ride. It’s the same for both kids and adults. British Cycling has a very established system called ‘Ready Set Ride’ that’s designed to teach kids how to develop riding confidence. It works for adults new to cycling too. You can download their app and complete the various drills through the different levels as follows:
- Where do I start?
- Prepare 2 Ride
- Skills 2 Ride Balance
- Skills 2 Ride Pedals
Because you are involved in this progression, you get to spend time with your child, supporting them when they need it and praising them when they succeed. Full details are available here: https://readysetride.co.uk/
In order to improve road safety awareness, also look at https://bikeability.org.uk/ and guide your children and fellow family members through the process of learning how to respect other road users and ride safely.
Attend Pop-up Rides
In its effort to grow cycling as a form of exercise or transport, British Cycling, via Let’s Ride UK, has created various initiatives, including Pop-up Rides. These are monthly traffic-free events that include coaching to improve your skills and bicycle-based activities for kids. You can bring your own bikes or use one of theirs at no charge. These cater for all ages and are a practical way to ensure all family members get a chance to ride in a safe environment and build confidence simultaneously. Please note that: during the Covid-19 restrictions, these are on hold, but do look out for them once restrictions lift via https://www.letsride.co.uk/lets-ride-pop-up
Bicycles are great fun and provide regular, memorable bonding opportunities for all ages. Losing them to theft or damage can be devastating! Having bicycle insurance gives you the confidence that should something go wrong, your cycle insurance will cover your repair or replacement costs. Sundays offers affordable bicycle insurance so that you can cover the bicycles of all your family members.
Sundays offers the best bicycle insurance in the UK. Whether you are a mountain biker, road cyclist, cycle commuter, triathlete or eBike rider, you are at risk of bicycle damage or theft, making comprehensive bicycle insurance a sure way to gain peace of mind.