Tag Archives: trips for kids

Riding to school can be easy with these tips and tricks

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

All around the country, bike paths are being built as quickly as possible. Many of these paths are routed from neighborhoods to nearby schools in an effort to get more kids riding to school. To get your kids riding to school safely and comfortably look at our helpful tips below.

Riding to school safely starts with a helmet

First and foremost, a well-fitting helmet cuts down the risk of serious injury by half. As a result, helmets are the single most important piece of cycling gear for kids. Sadly, many bicyclists under the age of 14, are not riding with a helmet that fits properly. As an example, a well-fitting helmet will be snug on the rider’s head. When fitted properly, the strap toggles should be located about a ½ inch below the ear lobe with the chin strap tight enough to hold the helmet on your head, but not so tight it chokes you. Important to realize, is that helmets lose effectiveness over time, so review its production date. Therefore, be sure to consult the manufacturers recommendations for when to replace your existing helmet.

Why is riding to school good.

There are tons of organizations that encourage children to exercise. In the US, child obesity is a real issue, and any activity goes a long way to help. In studies, it is shown that activity before school increased attention span, boosted mood, improved fitness and BMI. And it only took one ride to start to see those results! In fact, based off these results, Specialized Bicycles have invested a substantial amount of resources to develop programs for kids suffering with ADHD to substitute exercise for medication with great results. Overall, the quick trips of riding to school help kids kickstart their metabolism, gain focus, and learn valuable skills.

Bike Maintenance and safely

Be sure that your child is comfortable on their bicycle and it is sized properly. Bikes that are too small or too large are difficult for children to control. If you have concerns about the fit, visit your local bike shop to have the bike adjusted.Verify that the brakes work, tires are inflated and controls are tight. Be sure that your child can squeeze the brake levers easily and stop the bike. Additionally, kids bikes are required to be sold with reflectors on the bars, seatpost, wheels, and pedals. Those reflectors should be considered the most basic level of visibility. Add to that visibility, by having your kids wear brightly colored clothes, installing lights and a flag on the bike. With young kids try to avoid riding at night or at twilight.

Riding skills

Teaching basic skills can be fun and easy. Find a flat section of low grass (like a high school football field) and have them practice riding with one hand off the bar. Use the Board Trick to learn how to handle riding over obstacles. When riding a bicycle on the road, you are required to follow posted traffic laws as well as signal your directions. Teach your kids the basics of signaling turns and navigating on roads.

Riding to the right is the most basic rule of riding on sidewalks and bikepaths. What is more important than that rule is the courtesy of riding around others. Being courteous is the best way to make sure everyone has fun. It’s tempting for kids to try and bring a phone or iPod on a ride with them. Those distractions are a detriment to your child’s safety. Keep your digital toys in a backpack or better yet at home.

 Figuring out the course

For your kids to be comfortable riding to school, it is very important that they are familiar and comfortable with the route. An easy way to practice the route is on the weekends. Weekends are free from school traffic and give plenty of time to explore alternate routes. Look for clear roads and intersections with lighted crosswalks. Even if the route is not the most direct, as long as it is safe and clear your child can feel comfortable. Additionally, try to avoid large hills (either up or down) as not to exhaust your kids.

Locking the bike during class

With the route, and skills covered, let’s talk about how to keep the bike safe during the school day. The easiest way to protect your bike is to lock it up properly. Locking a bike in the same place for extended periods of time makes it a target for theft. The best locks are also some of the heaviest and burdening your child with that weight as well as the weight of school books is not an option. For that reason, I recommend you lock your lock to the bike rack and leave it there rather than carrying it back and forth each day. Periodically lubricating the lock mechanism will keep your lock working well year-round.

Putting it all together

After teaching your kids how to ride, equipping them, and working to create a safe course, continue to reinforce all those things throughout the school year. Evaluate their equipment frequently to ensure its working properly. Additionally, ride with them to reinforce their signaling and riding safe. Finally, be cognizant of traffic patterns as the year progresses. Above all else, make riding to school fun, your kids will appreciate it.


Giving back to the trails, paths, roads and events you enjoy is a great way to stockpile some good karma and it’s fun! There are countless ways to give back.

Get Started Giving Back to Your Cycling Community

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Giving back to the trails, paths, roads and events you enjoy is a great way to stockpile some good karma and it’s fun! There are countless ways to give back. For example, you can volunteer to support rides, clean up a trail system, build a trail, support high school athletes, and get bikes for new riders. Read on for some more details.

Giving back by trail building and clean up

Giving back imba

There are thousands of trails throughout the U.S. and they all need help to stay ride-able. Specifically, repairing places where rain water creates ruts and removes soil. As a result, water damages trails even if riders, hikers, and horses aren’t using them. As a result of this damage, user groups meet to do regular trail work to combat the deterioration of local trails and paths. IMBA (The International Mountain Biking Association) has training programs that teach groups how to keep trails in pristine shape. However, If you are looking for something more immediate, track down a local group, pick up a shovel or rake, and help with the next trail day.

If you are looking for a few other great ways of giving back, IMBA has a concise list.

Volunteer to support others

giving back events

There is always a need for volunteers at bicycle events. Because of that need, many events offer exceptional perks to anyone donating their time. Examples are; being able to earn free entrance into the Bike New York ride, getting preferential registration position to enter into Ironman races that quickly fill up, and meeting professional cyclists at Gran Fondo events. Moreover, the largest perk in giving back is helping your fellow riders have a great time.

Volunteer to lead others

Join a local club and host a ride! Use your love of cycling to teach others a great new route, new trail, or where to stop for the world’s best doughnut. If you haven’t ever lead a group ride, learn the basics here.

Get kids into riding

There are amazing people out there who have dedicated limitless hours to getting new riders on bikes. Two groups that come to mind are Free Bikes 4 Kidz and Trips for Kids. Both have placed thousands of bicycles into the hands of underprivileged kids. Additionally, Trips for Kids also offers rides and training for young cyclists. Check out the overview of each below.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a non-profit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need. The public donates gently used bikes and thousands of volunteers clean them, refurbish them, and then then give them away to kids in need. To date, over 32,000 bikes have been given away.

Trips for Kids Started out as a California dream with a handful of volunteers. Trips for Kids has grown into a national movement with over 75 independent chapters running the Trail Rides program.

Keep kids riding

The fastest growing sport in high school athletics is mountain biking. The organization spearheading this movement is The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA for short). The NICA Volunteer Program is your opportunity to be a part of the high school cycling movement! NICA is always looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to help with a variety of tasks necessary to promote its programs. Tasks can include calling or mailing campaigns, research, data upkeep, event preparation and execution, and much more. Some volunteer opportunities can even be completed from home.