On Your Bike
Cycling is a cost-effective, fun and adventurous way families can spend time together. As a parent it can be difficult to find healthy activities that everyone will enjoy. Cycling is a great family activity that everyone of all ages can participate in and have fun at the same time.
Scheduling a family outing where everyone can be involved - including planning a route, taking photos, choosing an ice-cream shop at the end - can provide treasured together time that won't be forgotten.
The smallest tyke can clamber into a bike seat or who knows, your cycling habit could sow the seeds for the next Sarah Ulmer. Studies have found that kids are influenced by their parents' exercise choices. Research emphasises the importance of dads, in particular, being good role models. Stay active and ride with your kids.
Cycling has also been proven to improve your mood and combat depression. And as an exercise the whole family can take part in, it helps make for happy families.
- University of Bonn neurologists visualised endorphins in the brains of 10 volunteers before and after a two hour cardio session using a technique called positive emission tomography (PET). Comparing the pre and post-run scans, they found evidence of more opiate binding of the happy hormone in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain - areas known to be involved in emotional processing and dealing with stress.
Getting ready to cycle
If your bikes have been sitting in the shed, or left out in the elements for some time, you'll want to give them a quick health and safety check before heading out on your first ride:
Tyres: should have some tread (unless they are slicks) and be well inflated
Wheels and frame: should be free from rust which can weaken the metal
Brakes: should be working smoothly and not dragging (constantly in contact with the wheel/brake disc)
Chain: should be clean, not sagging, and may need a bit of lubricant if it's been left a long time
Lights: (if you're planning an evening ride) - Should always have enough battery power to last
The rider: should always wear a helmet, be fed and well hydrated and be aware of their own abilities while planning the route for their first ride (no transcontinental journeys first up).
Great family bike ride tracks:
Woodhill Mountain Bike Park
Purpose built bike park with trails for all levels
Restall Road, Woodhill, Auckland
Red Rocks coastal track. Great family riding, 8km return.
Easy rides that allow the whole family to cycle without worrying about traffic.
Easy rides such as:
- Hagley Park
- Estuary ride
These allow the whole family to cycle without worrying about traffic. http://www.ccc.govt.nz/
Great tracks for cycling with kids include:
- Fulton Hogan Cycle Smart at Marlow Park, St Kilda - next to the Dinosaur Park (sealed surface)
- Forrester Park MTB Tracks, Norwood Street (gravel track)
- Jubilee Park MTB Tracks, Maori Road (gravel track)
Source: Bikewise www.bikewise.co.nz
Published: February 2012