Once your kid is confident on their bike, getting used to cycling on roads will help them to give them a sense of freedom, independence and improve their confidence and fitness.
Not to mention it is great for the environment, reducing emissions by a significant amount due to less traffic on the roads. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government have recently encouraged more people and kids to get on their bikes as a means of travel over public transport.
Muc-Off have put together a guide covering the essential skills your child will need to ride confidently and safely on the roads.
Bike Safety Awareness
Before your child sets off on their cycle to school, you will need to check a few things to make sure their bike is safe to be used on the road.
Push on the side wall of the tyre to check the pressure. It should feel solid and if it does not, you will need to pump it up to the recommended psi which is on the sidewall of the tyre. You will need to use the correct pump depending on which valves you have, a Schrader or Presta.
Both the front and rear brakes can be checked by rolling your child’s bike forwards and then backwards, pushing on the brake levers. If they are working properly, their bike should stop instantly.
3.Handlebars and Seat post
Check your child’s handlebars and seat post is secured tightly and if they are not, use an allen key or multitool to tighten them.
Always wear a helmet
When your child is riding to school, it is important to make sure they always wear a helmet that fits properly. This will protect them from getting any head injuries if they happen to fall off. To make sure their helmet is secured properly, it needs to fit tightly around the circumference of their head and the strap is secured properly under the chin with enough room to fit two fingers in between the strap and their chin.
Bell Helmets are a great place to start with a range that covers some of the world's best athletes all the way down to first-starters. For extra protection (and peace of mind), consider a helmet that features MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system).
Visibility on the road is particularly important, especially when the winter months are on the horizon. Before they set off for school, you must make sure your child’s bike has good lights and reflectors, so they are visible to traffic on the roads. The minimum regulations are a white light on the front, a red light on the back and their pedals should have two amber reflectors on the front and back for visibility in all conditions.
Don’t forget a bike lock!
Now your kid has got all of the safety gear required for riding their bike, the next stage is to ensure they protect their bike from being stolen at school. Taking a bike lock to school and locking it during the day will keep their bike safe from any theft.
Whether you're after something light and easy to carry, or the full monty of bike theft protection, you can't go wrong with Hiplok locks.
Positioning on the road
When your child rides to school on the road, it can be particularly daunting for them to know what position to take. They need to adopt the most suitable riding positions depending on how busy the roads are.
Here are 4 handy tips to bear in mind -
- If you’re on the road with children, take up a position behind them so you can keep them in your line of vision at all times.
- If there are two adults in your group, it’s a good idea to have one at the back and one at the front.
- Be sure to follow the Highway Code and teach it to your children before you set off.
- Get your child to signal clearly with you.