Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pedalheads Bike Camps - From Training Wheels to Trails

It was 8:00pm a couple of nights ago and my son was crying because he wanted to go ride his bike.  Again.  For the FOURTH time that day.  And his other three rides weren't exactly little excursions either.  He had spent the day with Grandma and she had taken him out on his balance bike all over Bowmont Park and then all around Edworthy Park later in the afternoon for what was probably 5km+ of riding in total.  Then in the evening, Daddy took him out again on his pedal bike (Dad is the only one that can run fast enough to keep up) and they did another 3-5km loop.  How could Noah still need a fourth ride?!

This is my unstoppable child in  LOVE with biking.  I  have nobody but myself to "blame" really because I've pushed hard to get him out riding every day and you'll likely hear me screaming at him to go faster, to fly, and to pick his feet up so that he can really pick up some speed on the hills when on his balance bike.  I take him mountain biking with his Strider bike and he's already doing trails that I know I couldn't do on my own bike.  I am raising a machine.  And it's going to be scary when he gets older.  I'm a little bit worried.  (read, a LOT worried.)

Noah on his new Spawn Cycles Bike

 In the last couple of weeks we've started making the transition from balance bike to pedal bike and I'm astonished at the progress we're seeing.  We are running alongside Noah's pedal bike and able to let go for long stretches of time, he has learned to pedal (on flat ground), his steering is improving (most of the time), and he is learning to even steer around some pretty sharp corners.  He is slowly starting to learn how to brake on small hills and his balance is awesome!  No training wheels for this kid.  He went straight from his balance bike to his new Spawn Cycles pedal bike in a week.

Despite the fantastic growth we're seeing, there's still tons of room for improvement though and we've decided to get Noah some instruction that will hopefully help him go further, excel faster, and build increased confidence.  We want help with the whole pedalling thing because we're getting tired of screaming, "Pedal!  Come on Push!!!" and we want help teaching him how to start and stop.  After all,  it's kind of tricky getting going on a  bike and building up the balance to do so.  (heck, I still struggle on my bike!)  Most of all, we want help with the braking and steering, and are hoping  that there are some fun innovative ways to build these skills - without screaming at your kid the whole time you're out riding.

Bike ride with Dad in Confederation Park

Enter Atlantis Programs and Pedalheads Bike Camps.  Noah is registered for a week of  bike camp in July and will be getting lessons for 2.5 hours per day over the course of a 5 day period.  That's 12.5  hours of coaching through fun, games, and positive peer pressure as he watches the other kids in his class also build on their skills.  We've registered him in the newbees class because he still needs so much work with pedalling but in reality, I suspect he could be in the advanced newbees class since he's already off training wheels and has his balance established.  The basic goal of the newbees class is to get the kids off of their training wheels. One hurtle down already.  Yay!

Do you have a bike enthusiast in your family?  Or do you have a child who perhaps needs a bit of encouragement to get on their bike?  Pedalheads offers summer camps at many levels for kids as young as 2 years old.  Obviously they aren't trying to get 2 year olds off of training wheels but they have some pretty cool parented classes for the little tykes where they get to come out with their ride-on toys, run bikes, and trikes to have fun in a group setting through games and songs. To check out the different classes offered in the Pedalheads program from the Riding Rookies all the way up to the Crankheads, follow this link to the Alberta Levels page.  There's something for every child from the toddler that barely clears the bar on his balance bike all the way up to the older child who is learning to jump curbs and transition between gears smoothly.  (I actually think I need to take the Gearheads class!)

Daddy giving a bit of a push up a hill in Edgemont

For information on costs, schedule, classes, and availability for summer 2013, visit the Pedalheads website directly. 

For us, our goals, and what we hope to get out of Pedalheads are below:
  • We want help with teaching Noah to brake, steer, pedal, start and stop.  The basics really.
  • We want Noah to gain confidence in his biking so that he can join his friends on our outdoor playgroup rides, using his pedal bike.
  • We want to be able to ride together as a family with all three of us on a bike by the end of the summer.
  • We want to bike on the paved pathways in Calgary together this summer and we want Noah to understand the rules associated with sharing a path, yielding to pedestrians, and avoiding collisions.

I've heard nothing but wonderful things about the Pedalheads classes and we are so excited to be partnering with Atlantis Pedalheads as a family to take our outdoor adventures to a new level this summer.

Do you have a Pedalheads bike camp experience that you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear how your child found success through their classes.

Disclaimer:  Atlantis Pedalheads has donated a week of camp to our family in exchange for telling all of you about Noah's progress through the classes.  As always, I will be writing nothing but the truth and will be sharing from our own personal experiences.

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