In most large towns and cities, there are designated cycle routes you can follow to stay away from the heavier traffic. Further out in the countryside, it’s easier to set off in one direction and find a circular route of two or three miles to start with … working up to longer trips perhaps, as your children’s enthusiasm (and the family’s stamina) grows.
Cycling routes – they’re closer than you think
Chris Boardman, Olympic Gold medal winner and Ambassador for the Aviva Tours, takes his family out regularly. We asked him what his favourite ride was, and what he’d recommend to help encourage youngsters onto their bikes.
“We’re very lucky, there’s a disused railway that’s about 500m from our house. So as a family, we often start our ride there – and then manage to do about 15 miles or so, along the cycle path. But we didn’t know the old line was there for years, and only discovered it was a great ride recently. It’s a good idea to get a map of the local area – or you could look up cycle rides on the internet – to see what you’re missing in your neighbourhood.”
For teenagers, the ‘let’s cycle there and back’ approach may be enough to get them out and about for a while. But if your aim is to keep the family fit and active on two wheels, then youngsters may need a little more incentive to join you regularly – particularly if the weather’s less than ideal.
hris takes his children geo-caching: “It’s easy, and it’s fun. Geo-caching involves getting out, and using clues to find something that’s been well hidden by previous cachers. It may be a small box, or a laminated card; there are any number of things that people hide up – it’s all a bit of fun. You can even leave caches for other people to find. It’s a great way to get your children excited about taking the bikes out, to see what they can find. Have a look online, you’ll find several geo-caching websites.”
- Check your council’s website for details of cycle paths, developed cycle routes and areas where you can explore the countryside – or the town – safely on two wheels.