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Last year, a huge cycling boom during lockdown was reported, with families taking up the sport as a result of basically not being able to do much else! But the offshoot of that was we saw millions of families spending more time together, getting exercise in the great outdoors – which is obviously a fabulous thing. This year, the Sudocrem Cycle More campaign, in partnership with Ickle Pickles, Cycle UK, Dame Sarah Storey and Laura Tobin, would like to encourage this trend to continue and, if you’ll forgive the pun, take it into fifth gear!!
Sudocrem 90km challenge
The plan is to get as many families on their bikes as possible to take part in the Sudocrem 90km challenge in order to fundraise for premature baby charity Ickle Pickles. This nationwide sponsored cycle ride is a great way to raise awareness for the charity and a great way to get everyone outside when let’s face it, there are still limited options for family activities until June.
The way to take part is to set up a Just Giving page and start fundraising for Ickle Pickles for the Sudocrem 90km Challenge. Then as a family, the aim is to cycle 90km. Now, we agree that this is a bit of a tall order for families with young children, or even just for the average casual cyclist. But no worries! As long as you and your family complete 90km, it doesn’t matter how you go about it!
You can cycle 10km each day as an individual, you can divide it up between you and do 5km per day, or if you’re feeling brave, you can do it all in one go… all you have to do is add together your family mileage until you hit 90km.
Family cycling tips
In support of the Cycle More campaign, charity Cycling UK have provided some family cycling tips to get everyone on their bikes…
Make sure you have the right bike
Children grow fast so before going out riding for the first time check the bike is still the right size for them and adjust the saddle height if needed to allow them to extend their legs fully. If the bike is still too small for them, it may be time to buy a new bike.
Most bike shops will be able to advise on the right size bike frames for children and if you worried that a new bike would cost a fortune, you can often pick up a good quality second-hand bike from a bike recycling centre or from trusted online forums like the one run by Cycling UK. You can find out more here Buying the right bike for your child | Cycling UK
Watch how to do it
There are lots of resources online encouraging children to cycle. Cycling UK has produced this video How to cycle with your family during the coronavirus crisis | Cycling UK on how to teach your family the skills to go out on a family bike ride packed with lots of tips covering everything from the best position for an adult to ride with children and where to go.
Practice in the garden or a local park
Don’t be too ambitious and start small. Set a target and get your child used to feeling comfortable mounting and dismounting the bike and then build up to cycling from one tree to another and work on getting them used to stopping and turning around.
Short and simple
When your child is first learning to ride a bike, it is better to practice little and often rather than spending a long time trying to teach them so they end up becoming bored, frustrated or tired. Around half an hour is probably enough for a little one, but children are different, so you’ll probably pick up the signals when its time to take a break from the bike
Plan your route
Before setting off on a ride, spend a bit of time planning your route. Stick to quiet local roads, cycle paths or traffic-free routes. Cycling UK has a journey planner tool on its website which allows you to find a route Journey Planner | Cycling UK that will suit everyone in the family.
Wear the right clothing
Your kids should wear whatever they feel comfortable in, although overly baggy or long clothing is probably not ideal. For the same reason, make sure your child’s shoelaces are tied up tight before going on a ride so they don’t get tangled up in the chain or the wheels.
Bring a snack
If you are going for a longer ride than your child is used to, remember to bring some liquids to stay hydrated and a few small, easy-to-carry snacks to keep their energy levels up during the trip.
Remind children to keep their head up and looking at what’s in front of them when they are moving. There’s no need to look down at your feet peddling, they’ll take care of themselves.
If you are riding with more than one child, put the oldest or most confident child at the front and younger ones in the middle. As the adult ride slightly behind your children so you can keep an eye on them and point out any potential hazards. Encourage them to be aware of their surroundings.
Don’t forget, riding as a family should be about fun. Take your time and let your youngsters discover a love of cycling for themselves. This is a family activity that can give years of pleasure and quality time together doing something that keeps you all healthy, so with spring coming up now is a great time to get out riding.
For more information about family cycling see www.cyclinguk.org/family
Win 1 of 5 Sudocrem Panda Cycling kits
To help you enjoy more time as a family as well as getting outdoors to support a wonderful cause, we lucky enough to have five Sudocrem Panda Cycling kits to giveaway.
PRIZE: Sudocrem Panda Cycling kits (5 winners)
To enter simply complete the Gleam widget below, all entries are optional and each one completed will gain you more entries into the random draw.Sudocrem Panda Cycling kits