Dusting off the bicycles and teaching the rules of the road

With the weather slowly getting milder and the evenings lighter, it was decided that now was the time to rescue the bikes from the garage and start putting them to good use again after their winter hibernation.

Gary and Deaghlan decided that Mothers Day would be the ideal time to look over the bikes and check all was in order, pump up the tyres and take the bikes for a spin. So we headed out into Highwoods Country Park which we live right next door to and then onto Colchester town centre for lunch. Other than the uphill journey home, we had a very lovely morning.

Deaghlan then spent the rest of the day asking if we could cycle to school this week. I had mapped out the journey previously and it’s 2 miles from home to Deaghlan’s school and then a further 3 miles for me to get to work.

Entirely do-able you would think…… hmmmm

Not with a 7 year old boy who currently has the attention span of a goldfish whenever he is required to concentrate!

Hooning around on his bike in Highwoods Country Park – not a problem.

Using cycle paths and being aware of traffic and pedestrians – a whole other ball game.

The cycle route is relatively safe but the majority of it is shared with either vehicles or pedestrians. It is also on a bus route and a housing estate with plenty of driveways as well as people going about their daily lives.

So plenty of obstacles and potential hazards ahead, I spent a lot of time directing Deaghlan to be aware of his surroundings and making him stop. Trying to do this without putting him off getting on his bike again was very difficult. It took us 30 minutes to get to school but he went in happy. My 3 mile ride onto work took 15 minutes in comparison!

I stumbled across this blog post later in the day by BikeHub, which I found very interesting and would urge you to have a read. I’m quite happy for Deaghlan to speed off on his bike avoiding trees, low branches and tearing up and down hills. He has had his fair share of falls, scrapes and bruises but has always jumped back on his bike again. In his mind, cycling is all about having fun.

But learning to cycle the school run requires attention and discipline from him and a whole heap of patience from me. I know that I really have to educate him on the rules of the road, but the trick is trying to do that whilst keeping it entertaining and making sure we make it to school on time and in one piece!

I am beginning to think that teaching him to ride his bike was the easy part of learning this life-skill……

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