Sir Chris Hoy MBE shares his advice for getting your kids to fly on two wheels
AS A KID, WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO CYCLING?
I first learned to ride a bike at six years old. I remember going to visit my friends, one was the same age as me and the other was four years old. Both of them could ride and I couldn’t, and I was thinking: “I’m not having that!” So we went to this little courtyard area and I learned to ride my bike there and then. That is why I named the Evans balance bike Napier after Napier College as that’s where I learned.
WHY IS CYCLING IMPORTANT FOR KIDS?
Learning to ride a bike gives you that sense of freedom and opportunity that is so important for little ones. It offers them the chance to learn a skill that can be practised outdoors in the fresh air.
WHAT’S THE SECRET TO GETTING KIDS UP ON TWO WHEELS?
In my opinion, the best bike to start on is a balance bike. Balance bikes are great as they teach children the important aspects of cycling first, such as learning to effectively control the bike before worrying about pedalling. With balance bikes, you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to get a high-quality one either. If your child has a phobia of riding a bike then I would recommend finding a safe, open space to learn – somewhere they don’t need to worry about other people or traffic. If your child isn’t taking too easily to riding a bike then start slowly. They should learn to walk with the bike, push themselves while they’re riding and eventually lift their feet off the ground.
WHAT SHOULD YOU CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A KID’S BIKE?
The weight of the bike is the most important aspect. Make sure it’s light enough for your child. You don’t need to have suspension on kids’ bikes. Keep it simple. Make sure the components are designed for small kids’ hands and it can be better to invest in a higher-quality bike because the prices on the second-hand market tend to hold really well even if the bike is three or four years old. Finally, avoid stabilisers as they really don’t help kids learn as once you take off the stabilisers, you have to relearn how to cycle.
Chris Hoy has a range of kids’ bikes exclusively at Evans, evanscycles.com/hoy