Season opener

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It was wonderful to see so many kids participating in the first competition of the local road cycling season 2014. While the U9 age group was pretty light on competitors, the U11’s was well contested and the U13’s, U15’s and U17’s were jammed packed with champions-in-the-making. This is our second season of competitive cycling (as a family) and it gives me great pleasure to watch not only our children develop as cyclists but also the others in their midst. The skills they’ve gained, the speed, fitness and strength they’ve built up, is mind-blowing. Ten years olds are out there racing for twenty minutes at an average of 32 km per hour. I wish I could do that!

My reason for starting this blog is to share with others my interest in cycling and to encourage others to get their kids into the sport. Cycling with your kids is a fabulous pastime, and keeps the entire family fit and healthy.

I have but one concern with cycling… the risk factor out on the road. I can cope with the fact they may crash at training or in competition. Broken bones heal. When they’re out on the road though, training with their coach and other parents, or with me, the risk of being hit by a motor vehicle is always at the back of my mind. There have just been too many cyclist deaths on our roads, and I implore all drivers out there to stay aware and be patient, to look out for all road users and leave a minimum passing distance of 1 metre. I instill in my kids the need to abide by the road rules, to look out for cars and ride passively, rather than aggressively, not to run red lights and simply be a responsible road user. It’s all about mutual respect – we’re all entitled to use the roads, and we need to stay safe. Last week, a 21 year old woman lost her life in Brisbane whilst out training for the same event my kids took part in on the weekend. It was a tragic and timely reminder for all to drive and ride safely. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends.

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Get rolling with a balance bike

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I’m not a believer in #TrainingWheels. My three children have all learned to ride their bikes at the age of three, without the use of trainers. The simple solution is the #BalanceBike.

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Before – on the balance bike

From the age of about two, or whenever your child can comfortably sit on the bike with his/her feet touching the ground, the balance bike is the ideal way to get your child rolling.

Designed without pedals, the children push themselves along, eventually running with the bike and developing such tremendous balance, that they can lift their legs and ride – just as they would if on a pedal bike.

Balance bikes should be lightweight – my preference is the traditional wooden type – and with adjustable seat heights.

Once they’ve got the hang of it, the kids won’t want to stop. They can ride quite long distances on these bikes, and they pick up some speed too. So you’ll need your sneakers on to keep up, or alternatively hop on your own bike and ride along with them.

Balance bikes make the transition to riding a pedal bike stress-free and smooth. They certainly eliminate the need for training wheels, and help make confident young riders.

Don’t forget your helmet!

After - never needed training wheels

After – never needed training wheels

it’s a two-way street

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Congratulations to the people of NSW for the ‘it’s a two-way street initiative launched today. Together with the #AmyGillettFoundation, the NSW Government, NSW Police Force, NRMA Motoring Services and Bicycle NSW have set about to deliver a highly visible advertising campaign to promote mutual respect on our roads between drivers and cyclists. Hopefully, this will lead to less cyclist injuries and fatalities, and less vitriol towards cyclists.

Find out more at the Amy Gillett Foundation.

People who cycle are somebody’s children, sister, brother, mother, father, wife, or husband… they are you and me, and they matter. Safe driving and safe riding practices can help save lives.