Peta Todd says autumn is the perfect time of year to teach your kids how to ride a bike

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WE are firmly in the grip of autumn – and the urge to snuggle under the blankets with your brood begins to take hold.

But this time of year is perfect for getting your little ones out and about, kicking up the leaves and teaching them to ride a bike.

 Peta Todd urges parents to teach their little ones to ride a bike

Stewart Williams – The Sun
Peta Todd urges parents to teach their little ones to ride a bike

We all remember that feeling of cycling on our own for the first time.

It’s a rite of passage, one we want to pass on to our offspring.

Whizzing down the street gives a feeling of freedom and a little smidge of independence.

In a time when our lives are full of apps and downloads, let’s not forget what it feels like to learn a skill.

 Peta is married to professional cyclist Mark Cavendish

Stewart Williams – The Sun
Peta is married to professional cyclist Mark Cavendish

Honing the techniques and practising until perfect.

I remember the promise of a new “big girl’s bike” for my birthday when I had fully mastered my little wobbly number.

My gran stood at the top of her road cheering me on, letting go when she said she had me – to keep my confidence up.

You would imagine that being married to a world-class cyclist means teaching our children to ride bikes is a breeze. Wrong.

 Peta Todd says its important to strip ourselves away from technology

Stewart Williams – The Sun
Peta Todd says its important to strip ourselves away from technology

My husband does not have the highest patience levels at the best of times.

During one particularly intense “learning to ride” Sunday afternoon, my eldest son, who was five at the time, seemed to be on the verge of leaving home.

 Peta with kids Finnbar who she had at 19, Delilah who she gave birth to aged 25 and Frey at age 29

Stewart Williams – The Sun
Peta with kids Finnbar who she had at 19, Delilah who she gave birth to aged 25 and Frey at age 29

It’s almost like having your parents teach you to drive. Critique is better when it comes from a stranger.

But there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing their little faces light up when they know they have nailed it.

Balance bikes are an easy path to riding, and start at around £20.

I have it on good cycling authority that stabilisers can make it harder to learn as it builds false confidence.

 Peta Todd says stabilisers on bikes give children a false sense of security

Stewart Williams – The Sun
Peta Todd says stabilisers on bikes give children a false sense of security

We have sworn by balance bikes – a training bicycle with no pedals so that the little whippersnappers find their own balance straight away and practise steering.

And make sure you get a helmet. Teach them that helmet hair is cool, a big bump is not.

How you learn isn’t important. Every family will bicker and laugh through the bike-riding journey in their own way. That’s half the fun.

And it’s so reassuring to know that getting outside with the wind making your eyes water still has the same effect it always did.

 Peta Todd believes cycling is great for the family because its fun and important exercise

Brad Wakefield – The Sun
Peta Todd believes cycling is great for the family because its fun and important exercise

It’s fun, it’s fab exercise, amazing for building confidence and, for the parents, patience is a virtue.

Apparently.

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