I’ve always believed that we need to expose our children to outdoor activities that develop their gross motor skills and confidence to master new sports. It’s important to start young when their physiques are smaller and their CG (Center of Gravity) lower. Their mindsets are also much more malleable, making them more receptive to learning new skills.
As soon as my daughter became physically independent at 3 yrs old – being able to walk, run and jump confidently, we have started introducing her to various outdoor sports. One of our favorites is cycling.
Benefits of Cycling:
- Develops child’s balancing and spatial skills
- Creates opportunities for parents to coach their children
- Creates awareness towards a healthy, sporty and car-free lifestyle
- Develops resilience through falling, picking themselves up and moving on.
- Develops a mindset to expect and mitigate risks
Like most things in life, we ‘work’ towards a goal. The annual OCBC cycling event is a key event where our family has participated in since she was cycling her trike. It’s like a ‘finishing line’ of sorts for the year. It’s also a great way to meet fellow parents to find support in our parenting journey.
Teaching Kids to Cycle – Part 2: Where to Buy A Bike
In an earlier post, I’ve shared about how we started our daughter Dana on cycling – from balancing bikes to trikes and to her first proper bike. Read about it here.
2017 marks another defining moment for me as a parent. Being taller and stronger, we felt Dana is ready to ride solo in the OCBC Cycle 2017. But like most things, we need to support and acclimatize her to handle this transition. In many ways while doing so, it’s like preparing her for, bigger and tougher challenges in life itself. Preparing her for a bigger world where she needs to stride alone.
Here’s how we prepared our daughter for a bigger, bolder experience in cycling.
1. Parents’ Mindset – Children look up to parents as role models. When mastering a new skill, the message we parents send, especially subconscious ones, are key. Kids are very perceptive and they pick up these signals easily. If you want your child to develop resilience and be bold, guess what? You need to demonstrate it and lead by example. Don’t fuss over small details, let the kids try and fall, scrape their knees then pick themselves up and try again.
2. Dependable Advice – Which bike(s) is suitable for my child? Any other accessories needed? Which bikes are safer and able to grow with the kids (which they can ride at least for the next 2-3 years)?
These are questions many parents ask when it comes to buying a bike. For us it’s no different. Since Dana’s first bike, we have been supporting this bike shop that has given us consistently good service every visit. It was there we bought Dana her first helmet, her first 4-wheeler and it was also there that Buddy got his first helmet and recently his first scooter too!
Buying a Bike at Bike Haus:
Rain or shine: No matter if we were buying a bike or just a simple accessory like a bike light or safety pads, the good folks at Bike Haus are always ready to assist! In fact, on a stormy evening few weeks ago, two of their staff waited past the opening hours, to help us repair Dana’s old bike. All we did was one phone call to inform them we were stuck in the heavy traffic and they waited till we arrived. No grouses, no conditions. We were touched! This level of service is something we’ve never received from any other bike shops here in Singapore.
When Bike Haus first started selling bicycles at Balmoral Plaza, they believed that selling a bicycle was the first step towards building a lasting relationship with their customers. 18 years on, they still hold on to that belief. In fact, we were told they have customers who have grown, migrated away then return to tell them that everything’s changed in Singapore but Bike Haus is the only constant round-the-corner friendly bike shop at the same location with the familiar faces and friendly service. What a great testimonial!
After registering Dana for her first solo ride in the OCBC Cycle 2017, I realised she might have outgrown her 20-inch bike. The helmet which she has worn since aged 3 is also clearly too small now. We needed reliable advice on the next bike to upgrade, so off we went to Bike Haus.
As expected, we got the advice we needed. Patiently, they fitted a helmet for Dana and when the time came for her to choose a bike, they consulted our budget, shortlisted a few bikes and encouraged her to test-ride a few rounds in front of the shop. We were initially afraid she would fall, hurt herself and worse, damage their bikes but the Bike Haus staff was very professional, accommodating and understanding as always.
The collection at Bike Haus is very comprehensive. From BMX to hybrids, kids bicycles to the latest Tour de France masterpieces, whatever your needs are, you can be sure that you can find it there. In the end, Dana went for a 24 inch Felt Bike – recommended for teens because although it looked big and tall, her seat is at the lowest point which allowed her to control the bike better. In addition, their brakes and parts are very firm and very well-constructed. In short, it’s a very safe and sturdy bike – perfect for a growing teen.
Dana decided on a Prowell Helmet that is stylish and accredited with world-class safety standards to protect her head in the event of a fall or crash. Safety is something parents cannot afford to be penny-wise, pound foolish about.
The little brother wanted to join in the action so we got him Zycom 3-wheeler Scooter from Bike Haus as an early Christmas gift. He has started riding a balancing bike two months ago and we thought a scooter will help acclimatize him to speed and navigate turns.
The award-winning Zycom scooter is not very well-known in Singapore yet but definitely very well-made, kid-safe and kid-friendly. It folds totally flat, so it’s portable enough to bring around on public transport or stashed into the car boot. The height adjustment mechanisms are done with a simple twist and push – no awkward joints or clamps. The scooter is sleek yet stable, with a one-piece bottom panel and a brake to reduce vibration and increase stability. With the Zycom scooter, we feel safe enough for Buddy to scoot around independently in the neighbourhood parks.
For me, participating in the OCBC Cycle has become a family tradition of sorts – one that defines the developmental milestones for my children and I. Cycling is a sport I personally enjoy so to see my children grow in confidence and take new strides in cycling give me immense satisfaction. I look forward to the day both my children (and my wife!) can join me in the 23km OCBC challenge!
- 553 Bukit Timah Road: Mountain, Folding, Hybrid, City, Youth and Kids.
- 785 Bukit Timah Road: Triathlon, Road, Track, Cyclocross, Electric, Bike fitting.
Opening Hours: 10am to 7pm
Contact Number: +65 6468 3887
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