There are so many distractions these days, with video games, the internet and social media, that it can be tricky getting children to exercise or even play outside. Working cycling into the school run is a sure fire way of working exercise into your child’s daily routine. With schools now open again after the pandemic, it’s the perfect time to start a new habit.
Benefits of Cycling to School
Encouraging a more active lifestyle – experts says that children should aim to be physically active for at least one hour a day, sports classes at school help towards this goal but cycling to school is a great way to ensure they meet the ‘target’ while also having fun!
Its good for their health – research shows that encouraging children to be active from a young age is a habit they take through to adulthood which improves their chances of living longer, healthier (and hopefully happier!) lives. One of the major causes of heart disease is adults is physical inactivity so cycling definitely a habit worth picking up. As well as helping keep our children healthy in later life, cycling has other health benefits such as, improved bone strength, healthier joints and even improved performance in school!
Convenient and fun – The school run is the perfect time to incorporate exercise into their day as there aren’t any other distractions and is something that happens most days anyway. Cycling to school is a great way of getting to know the area around where you live and children tend to find it more exciting than travelling in a car. Depending on where you live, it might even be quicker because you’ll avoid road congestion.
Environmentally friendly – cycling is fantastic for the environment as it helps to reduce local pollution and traffic congestion (which is great for the penguins too!)
Save money! – after the initial costs of the bike and some basic kit (helmet, reflective patches/clothing, etc) you’ll find that by avoiding using the car or public transport you’ll be saving yourself money (and time since you won’t get stuck in rush hour traffic!)
Choosing the Right Size Bike
Learning to ride a bike can be quite daunting and scary for young children, even more so if the bike isn’t the correct size. It’s important to remember that when trying to determine the right size bike for children you should go by the wheel size rather than the frame size. We’ve put a handy table below to help you. For children over 12 years old it’s worth looking to get an adult bike.
|Wheel Size||Age (years)||Height (inches)||Height (cm)|
|Balance||First Bike||2’ 11” – 3’ 5”||88 – 105|
|12 Inch||3 – 5||3’ 3” – 3’ 8”||98 – 112|
|14 Inch||4 – 6||3’ 5” – 3’ 10”||105 – 117|
|16-18 Inch||5 – 7||3’ 8” – 4’ 2”||112 – 127|
|20 Inch||6 – 9||3’ 10” – 4’ 6”||117 – 136|
|24 Inch||8 – 11||4’ 2” – 4’ 9”||127 – 145|
|26 Inch||9 – 12||4’ 6” – 5’ 0”||138 – 154|
The most important things to look out for are:
- Your child can put the balls of their feet on the floor while sitting on the seat
- There’s enough room for your child to stand over the top tube (the horizontal bar that runs between the handlebars and the seat)
- When your child is sat on the seat, holding the handlebars their arms should be straight and their back should lean forward slightly. If they appear hunched over or look like they are stretching too far then the bike frame may be too long for them.