With all of the previous posts it may seem that cycling with children is a lot of work, requires a huge amount of ‘stuff’ and time and in general is a lot of work.
It is. I won’t lie. If you want to use cycling as a main mode of transportation for your family or as a serious recreational hobby cycling is a lot of work for any person.
It is also costly. Not as costly as owning a vehicle but it is not free. There are varying degrees of money commitment but it will likely cost more than you think. Mainly because if you are cycling a lot you will find that you will need to invest in some good quality equipment.
None of that has been considered a huge negative to my family. In fact every year we cycle more and we plan greater distances. Our long term goal (7 year plan) is to actually cycle across Canada with the children just before or after they graduate from high school!
Cycling has so many benefits. So many of them have been recorded. There are health benefits. There are environmental benefits. There are financial benefits.
But I am focusing on children here.
Cycling alongside children provides you with an amazing opportunity to connect with your children.
Cycling creates a situation in which you are all required to focus intently on what you are doing and on how you work together in this situation.
You will be functioning as a very tight unit in a very public forum.
You will be testing your understanding of each others abilities and developing good understanding of each others strengths, weaknesses and personalities.
As a family we’ve developed some very strong communication skills. I have seen times when my children support each other that could make me weep for joy!
I have listened to my children express confidence and pride as they talk about their achievements.
We have learned about the importance of humour as we cycle in a downpour singing, “I’m cycling in the rain. I’m cycling in the rain! What a glorious feeling, I’m soaking again!”
We’ve learned that we have limits and the need to express them.
At times of grief we learned how to turn that into helpful action by choosing to turn the physical action of cycling into fund-raising.
As a mother of a child with what is currently labelled ADHD, I’ve seen how cycling helps him find the calm and allows him to take that into his day. I love listening to him express how cycling is like taking a trip to the moon or a planet all of his own.
As a mother of a child who is a perfectionist and extremely cautious, I’ve seen how cycling has helped her stretch herself in ways that I wanted to but didn’t have the patience to teach. I take joy in her trill of letting herself go down a big hill at 10 kph instead of 5 or hopping off to walk down.
I watch my children fist pump as they crest a big hill. High-5 as we cross a distance milestone. Cheer each other as they reach fatigue.
I can step back and watch them learn to make adult choices. Accepting that even though they don’t ‘feel like it’ or that ‘it would be easier’ or ‘if only’ that in their hearts they know that just working past those thoughts will bring greater joy.
As a parent, I feel it is my job to walk beside them as they journey. At this point in their lives I direct and choose for them. Cycling allows me several easy ways to let my children develop the skills they need as an adult in an environment that I can monitor.
Those are some of the reasons why I cycle alongside my children.
Here is proof that I was there…
Note: I’m not a photographer by any definition. These pictures were taken on my Blackberry Curve. Currently I have a Blackberry Torch and use that for the current pictures on my blog.
I was using a Canon point and shoot but I let my kids use the camera and so now I don’t have a working camera!