that’s fairly lightweight, solid, is easy to
maintain and has pedal brakes; it need
not be expensive.
Make it affordable. Alberta Bike Swap
( albertabikeswap.ca) is a great way
for families in Edmonton, Calgary,
Lethbridge, Red Deer and Medicine
Hat to avoid the high cost of new bikes.
Many other communities across the
province also have annual bike and
sports equipment exchanges.
Put the learner in control. Start in an
area without traffic and where your child
will be able to take control. A grassy field
will cushion inevitable falls. Resist the
urge to control your child’s bike; Pearcy
often puts her hand gently on a learner’s
back to steady wobbles, while giving
the child full control of handlebars and
Celebrate the small steps. Riding
a bike takes three central skills: good
balance, strong pedalling and the ability
to stop. Your child may learn those skills
at a different rate or in a different order
than other children, and each success is
Be a good role model. Your child learns
by watching you. So always wear a
helmet (see sidebar) and follow the rules
of the road, even on deserted streets.
At intersections, look left-right-left and
make eye contact with oncoming drivers.
In short, ride your own bike the way you
want your kids to ride.
Make it fun. Pearcy teaches her own
kids in short bursts, calling a halt when
they begin to get frustrated. She often
cycles with them to parks and other
destinations of their choosing, rolling
through puddles or crunchy leaves on
the way. As she says, “Make the journey
itself part of the fun.”|a
BE HELMET WISE
In Alberta, every bicycle rider under
age 18 (passengers included) must
wear a properly fitted, safety-certified
helmet. Here’s how to choose and fit a
helmet, borrowing from Pedalheads’ 4S
• Sticker: Ensure the helmet has
a CPSC, CSA, Snell or ANSI
sticker certifying approval
specifically for biking.
•;Straight: Position the helmet level
front to back, with its front edge
one to two finger-widths above the
•;Snug: With straps unbuckled,
adjust the helmet until it stays on
even during a vigorous head
shake. (Pedalheads recommends
helmets with adjustable inner
rims rather than removable pads.)
•;Straps: Adjust the side straps to
form a ‘V’ around the ears, with
side clips just below the earlobes.
Then adjust the chinstrap so that,
when buckled, one finger can slide
between the strap and the chin.
For more on fitting a helmet, take the
Helmet Yes Test at MyHealth.Alberta.
For more tips, visit facebook.com/apple