Cycling & Children

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

When it comes down to cycling it is something that kids just love. It is being said time and again that if you get you child a bicycle you give him the best toy he could ever get.

I remember when I got my first bike and the distances we cycled. My mother – God bless her – would have a fit if she would have ever known.

My first bicycle was a hand-me-down, much as my clothes were, from an army brat. It was a cruise much like on ET – minus the basket and the alien, as the basket was not boyish enough and aliens were difficult to get hold of in those days – and I covered miles on it.

Twenty to thirty miles a day was nothing for us and our parents would have gone mad, I am sure, had they known what we were doing “playing on our bikes”.

Too many children today are being molly-coddled and, aside from the fact that they often are not even allowed to play outside – parents fearing all manner of evil things happening – bicycles seem to be seen as dangerous by parents, much like knives.

Their little darlings could hurt themselves should they fall off.

So they kids sit indoors in a virtual reality world growing fatter by the day with heart attacks happening at age eight.

While spending quite a bit of time – too much actually – in front of a computer I have never outgrown the bicycle nor found driving in any way pleasurable. Cycling, on the other had, is most o the time a pleasure to be even when having to go some distances.

To make cycling safer for children and adults alike in Britain the transport infrastructure must change and be made (more) bicycle centered. And I am sure this is the same in many other countries, though I also know that it is different in other European countries where the bicycle is much more considered than in Britain or the USA.

As far as children are concerned having and riding a bicycle gives them a sense of freedom and independence and this they will value and with it the bike. Give you child a bike and see him or her bloom.

© 2010