Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cycling with Kids

Should I share my love of cycling with my son?

This is a question that I have given a lot of serious thought over the past year; and there's no easy answer.
The reason for my trepidation is safety - Cycling on the roads of Taiwan is dangerous.
Of all the sports that I could introduce to my child, it's hard to think of anything that has as high a potential for serious injury or death as riding a bicycle.  Is it worth the risk?

In the end, I decided to bring him riding with me, but to also make sure he has a chance to try a range of other sports like swimming, tennis, hiking, basketball, etc... He can make his own choices about what he likes and I'll just secretly hope it's not cycling. In the meantime, he can learn how to ride safely with me and be better prepared for when he rides on his own.

 The trail-a-bike setup with my 91 Kona Explosif.

 Cycling near Henchun in Kenting National Park during Chinese New Year.

It's been about 6 months since we started going on rides together, and I've learned a few things that help things go smoother.

*I always include him in the planning of our trips. We look at the maps together and talk about what we can do at the different places we could go. It's always important to him that there is a destination and that there is something fun to do there.

*We each have our responsibilities for getting the bikes ready to ride; checking there's air in the tires, filling the water bottles, etc...

 *We stop for drinks and snacks a lot more often than when I'm riding by myself; every 10 minutes or so.

*The ride is broken up into 20 minute riding chunks. We stop at playgrounds, at 7-11, for ice-cream or if he sees anything interesting.

Stopping for treats on the road after some swimming at White Sand Beach.

*We always bring some games to play during rest stops or at our destination.

*Build up the total riding distance slowly. After 6 months of riding a couple of times a week, we can now do a round trip of 30km.

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