Bike Skills with Ridgeback Bikes

ridgeback bikes kids

Kids love to ride bikes don’t they? And for most children, it’s one of the first things we teach them as soon as they’re old enough! I remember with Teen, he was eager to learn to ride without his stablisers and so we ventured out to the park one weekend and he picked it up in no time!

But not all kids are this confident. My daughter, for example, had no interest at all in riding a bike. She had one at a young age and would have a go with the stabilisers on but she could take it or leave it! She certainly didn’t want to be bothered learning to ride it without the stabilisers. This may have been a mixture of  lack of interest and nerves. But we didn’t push it. She would learn in her own time. Which she did, but she’s never really taken to it and I wonder if that’s because we didn’t encourage her enough when she was little.

My twin boys are the same. Neither of them can ride without stabilisers and at 7 years old now, I really wanted them to learn and didn’t want to leave it any longer! So when I received an invitation from Ridgeback Bikes to experience one of their Ridgeback Bikes Kids Club events, we were all overjoyed!

The event was being held at the wonderful Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London and it was a lovely sunny day, perfect for having fun on bikes! I must admit I was concerned that my boys’ might be considered ‘old’ for being non riders but the Ridgeback Bike team made them feel at ease immediately! They even had a kids cycling coach , Rob, on hand from The Bicycle Society who specialises in teaching bike skills to children of any age!

First though, we had the compulsory helmet and bike fitting which took place at Independent Bicycle retailers Pave Velo, who have just opened a brand new store opposite the Olympic Park.

ridgeback bikes kids cycling

A Ridgeback Bikes member advised us that my boys would need a 16″ bike according to their height, but for a non rider, he said it was much easier to learn to ride on a smaller bike where both feel are flat on the ground. Taking the pedals off too was a great tip… this turns the bike into a makeshift balance bike. Balancing is, after all, THE most important skill to master when learning to ride a bike! Once the balancing has been mastered, the pedals can go back on then it should be relatively easy!

Bike and helmet in place, we all headed across the road into the park!

ridgeback bikes bike riding learning kids

Rob from the Bicycle Society had organised some fun activities for the kids to do. There were different sets for different abilities. This was a great way to get the kids’ excited as well as familiarising them with their bikes!

kids bike riding cycling

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For me, it was wonderful to see my little H joining in. Both boys are incredibly shy but H rose to the challenge like a pro! The staff on hand were all so encouraging and supportive and Rob spent a little one to one time with him, determined to have him riding on his own by the end of the session!

And he did!

The secret to learning and learning fast, is all in the balancing and looking straight ahead, not at the ground! Once the peddles had been put back on his bike, H set off using his feet first… ESSENTIAL… then once the speed was up, on the peddles went his feet! Then he was off…

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I can’t tell you how amazing it was to see him riding on his own… I went to the event just hoping that the boys would have fun, never imagining that one of them would actually learn to ride in such a short amount of time. O had a little go on his own a bit later but his shyness overcame him. He did watch intently though, picking up all the hints and tips, so once we got home and he felt more relaxed, he could put them into practice!

Ridgeback Kids Club is the perfect place for kids to pick up those all important cycling life skills! Making it safe and enjoyable. Plus Ridgeback Bikes has been building bikes since 1983 for UK riders and has an unmatched reputation for innovation and quality. From high-performance flat bar and touring bikes to comfortable commuters and children’s bikes.

Why not join the Kids Club now to receive the latest news on Ridgeback products along with exclusive offers. And for those who have purchased a new Ridgeback bike, sign up and receive your FREE goodie bag worth over £25!

ridegeback bikes kids club

We had a great time at the event. I would recommend everyone joining up and taking part in the events because they are so much fun and it really does help build confidence and skill for kids! Sometimes when we try and teach our children to ride ourselves, there can be lots of frustrations and upset when they don’t get it, so having a third party involved can make that process easier!

Thank you Ridgeback Bikes for a great day!

You can check out the social hashtag #RidgebackKidsClub and follow on Twitter and Instagram using @ridgebackbikes

Regional swimming qualifier once again!

swimming competition

I have mentioned once or twice here on the blog about Teen’s swimming achievements.

How he became a National Swimmer and was a member of the England Talent Squad.

That was when he was 13 though.

At 14 he was forced to quit due to an elbow injury causing him a lot of pain. He took up running then rugby, both of which he excelled in but due to two broken wrists in one year of playing rugby (he never does anything by halves) I pulled him off the team. I didn’t want to see something worse happen to him. Running fell by the wayside and last year he had a bit of a sporting break, to concentrate on his GCSE’s but decided to go back to his beloved swimming when they finished last Summer.

He joined a different club. Smaller than his previous one and a club which allowed him to practically come and go as he pleased. He wasn’t planning to make any sort of come back, he just wanted to swim again for fun, fitness and to maybe do the odd competition.

A few months after going back, the club were doing a league gala and they asked him to take part. This is where the kids compete against other clubs, as a team. He’s done many of these in the past and they ARE lots of fun.. so he agreed. But when the day of the gala came around he wasn’t so sure. He said he didn’t feel ‘fit’ enough.

I believe he was worried about not living up to expectations.

Not that anyone expected anything at all. His club knew he hardly trained these days so they were in no way expecting him to pull out an Olympic qualifying time! They just wanted him to be part of the gala for his own enjoyment, but also because they needed him. They didn’t have many swimmers in his age group. He would be swimming in the ‘open’ age group category for the first time, because he was 16 now. This would be tough.

Of course, he didn’t want to let the team down, so off we went to the Gala.

It felt strange in a way for ME, because when he gave up swimming, I didn’t expect him to go back. I hoped he would. He did miss it. I missed it. But as time passed, I didn’t for one minute expect to be taking him to a competition again. It felt surreal to be poolside… the hot, bustling, manic atmosphere of a league event. It was like I’d never been away! It felt almost… comforting in a weird way.

Teen was down to do the relays of course but the main event for him was the 100m Breaststroke. This was HIS race. But he was nervous. Excited, but worried too.

Teen stepped up on the blocks and looked around at his competitors. So did I. They looked huge. Like MEN. Like proper adult swimmers! Here was Teen, although tall, just a BOY in this category. I was worried. I didn’t care what the outcome was in the race, but I had my fingers crossed that he didn’t finish last. That would really knock Teen’s confidence.

But then something unbelievable happened.

Teen dived in and swam brilliantly. We needn’t have worried because he won – by miles! It was almost funny the way he looked around in disbelief that he was the only one at the finish!

Everyone from our club was going crazy and one Mum turned around to me and summed it up with her comment…. “He’s still got it!”

Yes!

Yes he has!

Bless him! How on earth did he just do that? I guess it’s just the skill of the stroke… something that’s always going to be with him now.

He pulled out a great time too… considering he hardly trains. It really was a special moment and I was so pleased for him!

It was the spark that reignited his passion.

Since that night (last October) Teen has astounded everyone by managing to not only compete at Counties, but to qualify for the Regional Championships next month in TWO races! Because even though his love for the sport has returned…. he still only trains now and then which makes it even more incredible. Imagine what he could achieve if he DID train fully?!

I’m ever so proud of him. He still only wants to swim for ‘fun’ and doesn’t want to put any pressure on himself, but it’s amazing that he’s managed to achieve these two qualifying times and it’s reignited his passion for the sport.

It reminded him how much he still loves it and proved to him that he’s actually still very good at it!

(The photo above is from a recent gala, not the one I mention in this post!)

Happiness is….

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It’s Valentines day. Hope you’re having a ‘love’ly day :)

‘The Prompt’ for this week is: Happiness is………

There is only one place where I feel truly happy so for me -

Happiness is….. being with my children.

That’s is.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Being around my children, and more specifically, snuggling up and cuddling my children, smelling them, breathing them in, is where I feel completely happy and I honestly don’t need anything else.

In fact, the whole world could crumble all around me and I wouldn’t care, not as long as I have them near me. That feeling I get from being close to all my babies is next to none. It gives me such a warm content glow.

They are my everything.

Linking up with ‘The Prompt’ over at mumturnedmom.

mumturnedmom

Proud Mummy Moments #1

My teen came home from school today and announced he had broken the all time school record for the 100m sprint race! Wahoo!!! So proud, so proud!!

I knew he was pretty fast at running. He’s recently been picked for the athletics team at school – something he’s over the moon about as it’s giving him a chance to really focus on a sport he has begun to fall in love with.

But it’s not his first love. His first love is Swimming. [Read more…]

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