Get Your Bikes Ready for Spring!
Biking is a great way to get active and enjoy the outdoors come spring. It’s something the whole family can enjoy, and can be planned ahead or done spur-of-the-moment. Maybe your spring weather has hit already, maybe it hasn’t, but there’s no denying that now is the time to be checking your bikes over and shopping for new ones if needed. Looking early means more choice and more selection.
But of course, there’s a better way than just heading off to the nearest store! Before you ever buy a brand new bike, have a look at your local Used.ca listings to see if you can find what you need there. Kids outgrow bikes, people upgrade to a new style – there can be many reasons why bikes hit the used listings, but they all benefit you! You can also find bike parts and accessories like locks, racks and mudguards. If you have very young children, watch for trailers that can be pulled behind a bike so you can bring your little ones along for a ride until they can pedal their own bike.
There are a few things you need to do before you hit the road this spring:
First, check sizing on everyone’s bikes at the beginning of each season. Make sure everyone has the proper bike for their size and ability. This will help you decide if you need to be looking for anything new. Check to be sure everyone has a helmet and other safety gear and try everything on to check for fit.
Cleaning and prep:
Give the bike a good cleaning, check for damage or loose parts, tighten the seat, add air to tires, test brakes and add lubricant as needed to hold off the rust all season. Here’s a great resource on tuning up your bike for spring and basic repairs.
When it comes to bicycle safety, make certain things non-negotiable. Kids need to learn that they wear helmets or they don’t ride, period. You can decide if you want them wearing elbow and knee pads, and when they are first learning it’s best they wear long pants and even long sleeves to help protect them in the event of a fall.
Bicycle safety training is so important – your kids can’t be safe if they don’t learn the rules of the road. This goes for adults too. Sign kids up for a neighbourhood safety camp or afternoon, be careful where you allow them to bike and let them earn their freedom through safe and careful biking.
Where to bike?
Start with your own street, nearby parks, green spaces in your city, and look for bike paths along rivers and other attractions. Do a search online to find routes in your city – you may find a list of popular paths. When I searched for “bike routes in Calgary” I found links leading me to our own city site, to bikecalgary.ca, to bikeyyc.ca, a family site with routes broken down by city area and a local cycling club. Try it in your own city and see what resources you find!
Do you cycle alone? Bike with your family? Any tips for families just starting out?