Cycling for kids|types - benefits - best age to start - cost
Cycling for kids: Have you decided to involve your children in the game of cycling?
For kids plus will tell you all information about cycling for kids, starting from the history of this sport, benefits, drawbacks, medical contraindications, and the different types of biking.
In addition, you will know what is the best age to start cycling for your kids, the average cost of cycling lessons and equipment, and where to find national cycling organizations?.
A brief history of cycling sport
In 1817, the German Baron Karl von Drais invented a prototype bicycle, and it did not have pedals like the modern running bike.
Over the next 70 years, this prototype improved and approached the bikes we know today.
The first world competitions among cycling enthusiasts began in the late 19th century and it became an Olympic sport in 1896.
On 14 June 1900, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) was founded in Paris and replaced the International Cycling Association.
Different types of cycling sport
Today, there are several types of cycling, divided into racing and non-racing competitions.
Only five of these types are Olympic. So without further ado, let’s see:
a. Olympic racing
1. Road cycling
It is the classic form of cycling in which long-distance races take place on a hard road that does not run through rough terrain.
Usually, the average distance in this race ranges from 50 – 300 km, and it lasts from one to twenty-one days.
It involves both team and individual competition in the form of one stage, criterium, time trial, or multi-stage events.
Multi-stage events as the three major European professional cycling stage races: Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, collectively they are termed “the Grand Tours”.
2. Mountain Bike Cycling
Mountain bike cycling (MTB) is held on off-road terrain and contains several types of races, among them: a circular ride at a distance of up to 5 km, a marathon, per 100 km.
It became popular after the cyclists began to fit out their bicycles with rapid-shift gears, wider tires, and ground-breaking suspension components.
Cross-country mountain bike appeared in the Olympics for the first time at the Atlanta 1996 Games.
3. Track Cycling
In this type, cycling races take place indoor on banked tracks or velodromes (an arena for track cycling).
Cyclists use “track bicycles” which do not have brakes or freewheels.
BMX or bike motocross races run on an off-road tracks with natural and artificial barriers in the form of banked corners and flat springboards, holes or winding roads.
Usually, riders use single-gear BMX bicycles and launch themselves from an eight-meter-high.
BMX racing became an Olympic sport since the Beijing 2008 Games.
5. BMX Freestyle
It is one of the extreme sports which is derived from BMX racing.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) added this cycling discipline in 2015.
In 2017, the International Olympic Committee announced the inclusion of BMX Freestyle to the next Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
b. Non-Olympic racing
2. Cycle Speedway
3. Motor-paced racing
C. Non-racing competitions
1. Artistic cycling
2. Cycle polo
What is the best age to start Cycling for kids?
Acquaintance with the bike can be started in early childhood. At the very beginning of the journey, it can be a tricycle or four-wheeled bicycle.
Parents should teach the child how to use the brake properly and ensure that he does not use his lower leg.
It should be explained to the novice cyclist all the rules of the road.
The next stage is a two-wheeled bicycle.
In order to understand that the child is ready to move on, watch him riding his three-wheeled or four-wheeled bike.
If he mastered them so that he can accelerate easily, go around obstacles, then it’s the time for a two-wheeler.
Schools and clubs begin to accept children from 8 years. By this age, they become more disciplined and already thinking about their own safety.
Their motor skills are developed much better than that of preschool children.
When the kid joins the cycling academy, It is preferable that he had previous knowledge about how to ride a bicycle.
Boys & Girls
Cycling is a universal sport that suits both boys and girls. However, there is an opinion that cycling can harm women due to pressure on the pelvic bones, but there is no evidence.
The girl will benefit from cycling, as the risk of developing varicose veins will decrease, endurance will increase.
The body will be stretched and will always be in great shape due to the working of almost all the muscles.
By the way, women’s cycling was included in the program of the Olympic Games in 1984. Therefore, the girl will be able to achieve global success.
Benefits of cycling for kids
Cycling has its undoubted advantages as it is considered not only as a sport but also as a kind of fun activity:
1. Positive effects on the nervous system
Fresh air, movement, and improved blood circulation strengthen the child’s nerves and make him alert and more active.
2. Improves the work of the cardiovascular system
Due to aerobic exercise, the heart muscle becomes stronger and pumps more blood.
3. Improves the respiratory system
During cycling, the diaphragm is trained, which increases the respiratory capacity of the lungs.
4. Boosts the kid's immunity
The body of cyclists becomes more resistant to common cold. Also, it reduces the likelihood of diseases associated with the movement of blood.
Minuses of cycling
Cycling has disadvantages. Among them:
1. Frequent Injuries
If the athlete is distracted even for a second, there is a chance of falling on the rough road.
In order to minimize the consequences, use protective equipment.
In addition, because of the constant load on the joints, the child may suffer from pain and arthritis.
However, if you follow all the rules of safe biking and do a good workout, you can save them.
2. possibility of dehydration
Due to riding for long distances and with intense loads, the body quickly loses the water and dehydration may happen.
The young cyclist must take water with him and regularly drink as the consequences of dehydration is so dangerous.
3. The negative effect on the genital organs
Due to the fact that the female and male genitals are constantly in a squeezed state, their sensitivity is decreased.
Of course, in childhood, it does not matter, but if the child decides to link his adult life with cycling, then this minus should be put into consideration.
You can decrease the consequences if you use special equipment.
Medical contraindication of Cycling
Cycling has a positive effect on the growing child: it develops the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, the musculoskeletal system and speeds up the metabolism.
However, a positive effect can be minimized if the child has one of the following health problems:
- bronchial asthma;
- spinal disorders;
- orthopedic problems;
- diseases of the heart and blood vessels;
- cerebellar disease.
Therefore, before you let your child start riding bikes as a sport, consult with pediatricians and get a permissive certificate.
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The average cost of cycling lessons & equipment
a. Cycling equipment cost
You will need to buy the following equipment to your junior cyclist:
- Professional bike
Its value will depend on the type of cycling, which you choose.
Note that the bike must be chosen carefully. It must match the growth and physical characteristics of the child.
The foot should calmly reach the bottom pedal and fully straighten while moving. You should pay attention to the size of the wheels, the higher the child, the larger their diameter.
When a son or daughter is above 135 centimeters, you can switch to an adult bike.
- Protective gear
- Cycling clothes
It is best if the child has several cycling kits costumes for different weather conditions.
For example, for warm weather, you can buy a bike jersey and bike shorts.
For cool weather, a long sleeve jersey and bike pants, and for classes in the cold season, buy a cycling sweatshirt and jacket.
- Cycling shoes
b. Cycling classes cost
The cost of cycling for children depends on which section you choose.
- Private biking academies
The cost of cycling for children depends on which section you choose.
Training in private clubs can cost from $30 – $70/hour.
For example, one to one BMX training in “Ride the factory academy” costs $65/hour for non-members with $30 discount for club members.
- Free biking academies & organizations
Many national non-profit organizations provide free cycling lessons for kids and families and here is a list of these organizations:
National Youth Cycling Organizations
NICA – “NATIONAL INTERSCHOLASTIC CYCLING ASSOCIATION “- U.S. High school mountain bike league
Bike east bay – Free riding classes & tips for new riders and how to avoid Bike theft
Kidical Mass — Group family bike rides organized in cities across the U.S.
IMBA – “The International Mountain Bicycling Association” – Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day
Little Bellas — A mentoring organization for girls in mountain biking
USA Junior Cycling — USA Cycling program for youth
CycleKids – Non-profit organization working to get kids on bicycles
Trips for Kids – Nationwide organization that takes kids out on trail rides.
Bend endurance academy after school cycling programs
See the complete List of Youth Cycling Clubs, Development Programs, & Family Bike Rides in USA & Canada on rascalrides.
c. competition fees
Spending will depend on the distance of the trip and the cost of living.
Cycling for children is quite an expensive sport. Therefore, parents should be prepared for large financial expenses at least once every two years.
Since children already start cycling at a conscious age, it is not difficult for you to find out the existence of their own desire to engage in this sport.
His desire should be your main standard. If available, do not forget about contraindications for health reasons. Get ready for big financial expenses.
Do not be afraid to give the girl to this sport. With the right approach, it will not harm her. On the contrary, she would grow slim and fit.
Be sure to support the child, and success will not wait.