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Cycling is one of the best low-impact exercises available for cardio conditioning, and it’s also a social sport that families can enjoy together. One silver lining of the 2020 pandemic is that many more people have taken upcycling.
Luckily, Utah is home to a fantastic biking community with a large selection of clubs, races, and non-profit organizations that all want to share their enthusiasm for biking.
But as parents, we know kids can be fickle creatures, so how can you get your kids into biking, and further, (gasp!) get them to like it?
If your kids don’t already have a bike, do a bit of research and get them the right bike. Utah is also home to the Bicycle Collective, a non-profit that helps refurbish bikes for lower-income families.
This YouTube Video covers basic bike maintenance for children’s bikes:
Each summer Sundance and Solider Hollow resorts put on the Weekly Race Series (1), which includes a kids’ race for ages 12 and under. The series helps kids to:
The kids’ races are free and designed for all levels of biking ability.
If you have a special needs child in your family, it may come as news to you that there are organizations that want to get them into biking!
The Elevate Program (4) is a Utah non-profit for teens with disabilities. They are a bike league that helps 7th through 12th graders enjoy the character-building benefits of mountain bike racing in a team environment.
Utah County has several great rides away from the dangers of parked and moving cars. These are three of our favorites:
Check out this index of many more family-friendly bike rides in Utah.
Check into organized group rides in your area or arrange your own ride right in your neighborhood.
Enlist some other parents and map out a quiet route for an early morning group ride. Wrap up your ride back where you started and enjoy a treat together. It could become a neighborhood tradition!
Most families have at least one child too young to keep up the pace. But don’t let smaller riders stop you from getting out and enjoying a family spin. Bike trailers, strider bikes, trail-a-bikes, and even Dutch-style “bakfiets” can make biking fun for all.
Before you ride, make sure your brakes work and your tires are inflated. Make sure your wheels, handlebars, and seat are tightened properly. And don’t forget to check and oil your chain on a regular basis.
All of these steps can be taught to older children but don’t forget to let younger kids help. Watching and helping you go through a safety check models the behavior you want them to learn.
Children under 10 should always ride on the sidewalk. Don’t let children ride by themselves until you are sure they are mature enough to go on their own.
As kids get older, they will start riding on the streets. It is important to go over the rules of the road. Reading through Utah Cycling Laws together is a great place to start.