Bikes can be time machines

Let your kids discover the joy of two wheels. If you’re lucky you may plant the seed of a passion that will last them for life.

Read more: Best kids bikes, balance bikes and pedal bikes

How many of your most vivid childhood memories involve bikes? If you’re anything like me, it’ll be plenty. I’m going to show my age here, but what sticks out in my mind is cruising along the pavement outside my house imagining it was the Pacific Coast Highway and I was one of the patrolmen from CHiPs. Later it was Grifters and BMXs, dreaming about being one of the kids in BMX Bandits, and building my own version of Junior Kickstart in the back garden. As a kid, bikes offered speed, excitement, challenge, reward and, above all, freedom. As well as valuable lessons in getting back up again after a fall.

Looking at children on bikes now I can still see that glint in their eyes, as they correct a speed wobble down the bank in the local park, or pull a skid in front of their mates – it’s the same thrill I remember from all those years ago. But kids are a fickle bunch, and phones, tablets and games consoles present strong competition nowadays. My son was incredibly stubborn when it came to learning to pedal, even though he cracked the balancing bit long ago. I’m hoping he’ll get the bug in due course, but, as Dan Trent explains in the current issue of MBR, there are no guarantees when it comes to getting your kids into riding; even if there are some things you can do to improve your chances.

For my son, a fear of growing up seems to hold him back sometimes, but as my partner keeps reminding him: “don’t worry, look at Dad – he’s basically a big kid mucking around on bikes for a living”. I’m clinging onto that as long as I can.