Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Outside with Charlie: Bike basics 101

From page A11 | January 13, 2012 |


Did you or your child get a new bike for Christmas? How about the helmet that needs to go with it?

If it’s one for your child, especially the first one, there’s some things that you can do to help your little one enjoy the bike riding experience for a long time.

Safety is the first issue that should be stressed. The helmet is the one thing between your head and the pavement, designed to lessen any impact that might happen to your head.

If your child, or you for that matter, take a trip off the bike and land on your head, it’s time for a new helmet. It’s not a bad deal. Your head is intact, and you get a spiffy new helmet.

Your child’s first bike probably has training wheels on it. Make sure they are at the appropriate height and securely attached because your child absolutely depends on them to stay upright.

As your little one gains the ability and confidence to stay balanced, move the wheels up on the trainers. On some magical day, you’ll both agree to take them off.

Teach your child that cars are bigger than their bike and that they need to stay aware of what’s around them. Until they have sound control and attention span on the bike, the paved bike trails and playgrounds around Placerville are the best place to ride.

Now, if the bike was for you and you haven’t ridden for a while, there are things you too need to realize.

First, still, is safety and that means putting your helmet on.

If you are just getting back into the business of riding a bike, start slowly. It’s best to ride on a relatively flat surface at first. One never forgets how to ride a bike but it may take a few turns of the wheels to remember everything.

Go for time instead of distance. Ride 10 or 15 minutes out, turn around and ride back to your starting place. Next time, add a couple of minutes to your ride.

Attempting to ride up too steep of an incline will damage not only your legs, but your ego as well. Going down the other side of the steep climb too fast too soon could turn into a disaster.

Take your time. The idea is to enjoy your ride. Look around at the scenery, relax. Listen to your bike, your breathing, the birds, and the calls of other cyclists who may be about to overtake you.

As time goes on, you and your child will gain confidence and skills. You’ll ride further, and the hills won’t be quite so hilly. Well, most of them won’t be. Some will always be in the mountain climb category.

If you need assistance, go to your local bike shop, which is, hopefully, where you bought your new bikes anyway. Placerville Bikes and Golden Spoke offer quality bikes and gear, along with great mechanics, knowledge, expertise, and support for all levels of riders.

Stay safe, put your helmet on, adjust the training wheels, and ride on!



Charlie Ferris



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