Earlier this year my son Levi had his bike stolen from the school bike rack. It was disappointing for him to lose the independence of bike riding to school each day that he had grown accustomed to since moving to a larger city. When I was given the opportunity to work with Columbia Bike and supply him with a new bike, I was thrilled and grateful! The bike came when we had a week of cold and snow and hung out in our dining room for many days. It was so beautiful that I didn't mind at all! Levi didn't quite have the same level of patience :).
When it was finally time to take the bike out and give it a test and feel, there was a bit of fighting over that bike. It seems we will be getting a second of these Columbia comfort bikes for getting around this summer! Our family loves riding bikes for running errands, heading to the coffee shop, even getting to the farmer's market! It's a great way to get some exercise, sunshine, and fresh air. I adore that back in 1877, Columbia started selling bicycles before any other company in the USA. You all know how I love history, charm, and beauty wrapped up in one package!
Thanks to his new Columbia comfort bike, Levi is again able to bike back and forth to school with the usual rules, of course. If you have a child that is biking to school, or you are starting to prepare for future bike-riders here are the tips, tricks, and supplies you are going to want to have...
Many biking accidents that occur with children are the result of the children on the bikes riding in an unsafe or unobservant manner. Teaching your children the importance of good bike safety is the most important part of their safety while riding back and forth to school. Although "stranger danger" is a concern for many parents that allow their children to ride to school, the greater risk will be the biking behavior of your child. Staying observant, keeping to the rules of the roads, and respecting the responsibility of their independence.
- bike lock (necessary to lock a bike in the school bike rack!)
- bungee straps
Tips for bike riding to school:
- Find another neighbor or friend close by to bike with.
For young children, "bike-pool" within your neighborhood. Have parents take turn accompanying the children to school
- Teach children the basic rules of the road.
They should understand the way the road to their school operates. Things like four-way stop signs, pedestrian crosswalks, and even stop lights.
- Give them confidence in their biking skills.
Go biking for fun, bike around a park, practice weaving among cones, or even take a couple of bike trips. Find fun ways for them to gain skill and confidence in their biking ability.
- Plot a route.
Plan the route you want your child to take to school and stress the importance of not veering from it. (for some children biking alone, it may be wiser to have a rotation of routes to take so that they don't have the same daily routine). Having the same routine helps you better teach them the road rules of that particular route as well as give you a first place to look if you find they don't come home on time.
- See and be seen!
Teach your children that when they are biking that need to be observant and concentrating. They should not be listening to music, caught up in conversation, or zoning off. Pay attention! They also need to be sure that that are seen by cars and people that they are near. Tell them never to assume a car knows they are there...be sure! Use tools (mentioned above) to help improve the visibility of them and their bike.
- Be in control.
When biking to and from school, your child is responsible for being safe. Teach them that this is not the time to goof off, carry too many items, or try tricks. They should keep at least one hand on the handlebars and both wheels on the ground at all times. Avoid swerving and weaving, as much as possible.
- Watch out for hazards.
Hazards for bikers are very different than cars. Potholes, large rocks, squirrels, and even puddles can cause an accident for a biker. New hazards can appear daily, even if it hadn't been there the day prior, and require bikers to stay observant.
- Use sidewalks, if your city allows.
Not all cities allow bikers on sidewalks, but some do and some that don't will gladly overlook children on sidewalks...especially when it's obvious they are riding home from school. Call your city and ask!
Bicycles in many States are considered vehicles and cyclists must adhere to the same rights and the same responsibilities to follow the rules of the road as motorists. When riding, always:
- Go With the Traffic Flow.
Ride on the right in the same direction as other vehicles. Go with the flow – not against it.
- Obey All Traffic Laws.
A bicycle is a vehicle, and you’re a driver. When you ride in the street, obey all traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
- Yield to Traffic When Appropriate.
Almost always, drivers on a smaller road must yield (wait) for traffic on a major or larger road. If there is no stop sign or traffic signal and you are coming from a smaller roadway (out of a driveway, from a sidewalk, a bike path, etc.), you must slow down and look to see if the way is clear before proceeding. You must also be careful to yield to pedestrians who have already entered a crosswalk.
- Be Predictable.
Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Signal your moves to others.
- Stay Alert at All Times.
Use your eyes AND ears. Watch out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks, or anything that could make you lose control of your bike. You need your ears to hear traffic and avoid dangerous situations; don’t wear a headset when you ride.
- Look Before Turning.
When turning left or right, always look behind you for a break in traffic, then signal before making the turn. Watch for left- or right-turning traffic.
- Watch for Parked Cars.
Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars (like doors opening, or cars pulling out).
And, I leave you with the top tip Levi would give to all kid's biking to school...
Lock your bike!
For those of you interested in Levi's bike and why we love that particular model I've included some personal thoughts and details on where you can grab your own Columbia bike...
- 26” ARCHER DELUXE, men's is the model Levi has.
- This model looks vintage, charming, and gorgeous!
- Comfort design with upright riding geometry is perfect for riding back and forth to school. It's easy to ride, has a rack for securing his backpack, and isn't made for tricks and such. Which means more safety! Yay!
- 7 speed Shimano allows him to shift for varying speed without getting too crazy.
- Shimano Revo twist shift allows him to always have his hands on the handlebars (one of my safety rules!) while shifting.
- Front and rear alloy linear pull grip harder and give him more stopping power. This makes me more secure in his ability handle hazards.
- Alloy 36H rims, 26’ X 2.0 low rolling resistance comfort tires are lighter and stronger!
- Steel fenders, rear carrier, and kickstand. Fenders are great for staying clean in mud puddles, the rear carrier hauls a backpack, and that kickstand is necessary for parking his bike in the garage.
- This particular model is found at Toy's R Us.
- Toys R Us, Target, Amazon, Walmart and Dicks retailers are where Columbia Bicycles can be found!
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Columbia Bicycles, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #RideColumbia http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV Find our full disclosure here.