This last Thursday, March 3rd, we delivered 29 bicycles to Tollgate Elementary to help them start a bike club for 3rd graders. Getting bikes into the hands of these children is one of the most rewarding aspects of Bikes Together. The bicycle can open up an entire new world for kids that can’t be replicated elsewhere. Getting someone to be a dedicated cyclist as an adult can start with planting that seed as a child because the bicycle can be an important tool in development.
How Bicycles Can Positively Affect Children
- Strength and Coordination – Riding a bike helps kids develop a sense of balance, working the legs and the core, making strong muscles for future growth.
- Heart and Lungs – Kids who exercise regularly stay healthy, avoid childhood obesity and set themselves up for health success as an adult.
- Freedom and Independence – Without a doubt, magic happens when you push your pedals and go forward on a bicycle. Children can develop a strong sense of independence – a hugely important thing to learn – on a bicycle. For the first time they can power themselves to where they want to go. They can make plans to meet friends, bike to parks, explore their neighborhood and gain confidence to face the world.
- Focus – Bicycles help children focus on the task at hand. By emphasizing the importance of safety while riding, children develop vital cognitive skills. As they ride they are watching out for obstacles on sidewalks, cars and pedestrians while obeying stop signs and traffic lights. This helps them understand the importance of safety for themselves and others they encounter in their travels.
- Responsibility – Children riding and owning a bicycle come to understand the importance of maintaining their bicycle. This includes locking it up if they ride it to school, putting air in the tires if they are low and not leaving the bike out in places where it’s susceptible to weather or theft. Bicycles can be a great way for a parent to teach a child the importance of responsibility; a lesson that can sometimes be tough but essential as children navigate into the adult world.
- Self Reliance – Bicycles impress upon children the importance of self leadership. Children can come to understand that if they want to get to where they need to go then it’s up to them to get there. Bikes are a good, basic way to start that idea.
- Communication – Communication between parents and children while riding on bicycles is a great way to instill that value. The bicycle creates a natural situation that encourages verbal cues which emphasis safety and responsibility. This also strengthens the bond between parents and children through shared experience.