Thanks to parenthood, my car now doubles
THERE can’t be many people who know more about riding bikes than 11-time world champion and six-time Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy.
The 43-year-old is passing some of his invaluable knowledge on to his own kids. Five-year-old son Callum recently learned to ride a bike, and daughter Chloe, aged two, is just starting to learn – at a much younger age than her dad did.
“I was six when I learned to ride a bike, which was relatively late compared to most of my friends,” he says. “It wasn’t until I watched the film E.T. and saw a BMX bike for the first time that I knew I wanted to give it a go...once I started riding I was hooked!
“I was so excited when we got Callum his first balance bike, but he didn’t immediately share that excitement. Initially he took no interest in it so, fighting every urge I had, we left it in the corner of the room. Before long, he had a go and it wasn’t long before I was struggling to keep up with him.”
He says children will learn in their own time. “The important thing to remember is it needs to be fun, they need to feel safe and comfortable and allow their confidence to grow,” he adds.
“There’s no stopping Callum now – he got his first pedal bike at four, and has been flying ever since! It’s great fun being able to ride with him and see how much pleasure he gets from the freedom it brings.
“Chloe has started on her balance bike, and she loved it straight away – I think watching Callum on his bike whetted her appetite.
“Hopefully it won’t be long before we can all go out together as a family – that will be a special moment. I love seeing how much pleasure it brings them scooting around on two wheels.”
In fact, Sir Chris loved the pleasure bikes can bring so much that he created his own range, called HOY Bikes (evanscycles.com/ hoy-kids-bikes).
“I always felt there were so few decent bikes for children, most were way too heavy with poorly thoughtout geometry and equipped with brakes and gears that were almost impossible for little hands to operate,” he says.
“We put a lot of work into the HOY kids’ bikes range, and it makes me so happy to see other kids out having fun on bikes that I helped design and create.”
Here, Sir Chris gives tips on how to help children learn to ride a bike.
THE problem with stabilisers is as soon as you take them off the child has to re-learn how to balance and their confidence can take a hit.
Without doubt the best option is a balance bike, it allows your little one to have complete control with their feet acting as the stabilisers.
They start by simply walking, then striding, then eventually scooting.
It’s a natural process, and they do it at their own pace. It’s important to keep it fun and let them lead you.
You can always create a balance bike with a regular pedal bike by simply taking off the pedals and lowering the saddle to a height that the child’s feet can reach the ground from. Once they’ve mastered scooting around, just pop the pedals back on and they’re off!
FIT is always the most important aspect when it comes to any bike.
THE lack of space, time and money are the obvious changes in life, when you’ve got young children. Although there have been other surprising trends to emerge over the last two years.
One is the transformation of my car into a multifunctional space. It may be just a 2007 Volkswagen Golf, but it serves as so much more than I’d imagined.
For example, it was Sunday and I wanted some croissants, as a treat for us all, so I drove to the pâtissier/bread shop. I parked outside, took a glance
in the interior mirror and decided I looked unkempt, so I got the electric shaver out of the glovebox.
Freshly shorn, I walked confidently into the shop for my bounty. There was an uneasy silence, then an assistant asked me if I was shaving in my car.
‘Yes’, I replied, possibly not acknowledging the fact I wasn’t looking my best and the sneaking suspicion she thought I was homeless.
Although, if I was living in my
With kids’ bikes, fit is even more crucial because if a child’s bike doesn’t fit well, the experience could potentially put them off cycling.
Lightweight bikes with child-friendly components will make learning an easier process for children.
Set the saddle at a height where they can rest the balls of their feet on the ground.
Making the transition from having their feet flat on the ground to the balls of their feet may feel daunting to them to begin with but will provide an optimum position for them once they begin pedalling and steering with more confidence.
RATHER than holding your child’s saddle or handlebars, hold them underneath their armpits so you can gently lean them from one side to the other to show how steering and balance are related.
This will give you more control over any potential crashes, while letting your child understand how the bike naturally moves underneath them.
LET your kids get to grips with where the brakes are and get used to squeezing them while you’re guiding them. car, I wouldn’t be spending a fiver on some croissants and a pain au chocolat. Anyway, I decided to explain that I have twin children, and this was the only moment of solitude I’d had to beautify myself. Explanation delivered, I climbed back into my mobile beauty salon, equipped with my ridiculously priced croissants and drove off with my
Would a homeless man waste money on fancy pastries?
Sir Chris Hoy with his gold for the Men’s Keirin at London 2012