The Lo Fidelity Bicycle Club

http://lofidelitybicycleclub.wordpress.com/

This is a blog about all aspects of cycling, cycle campaigning and being a doting dad. Oh, and saving the environment, changing society, improving health and yadda, yadda, yadda

Jim is a winner of Top 25 Biking Families

What do you like about the biking lifestyle?

It's something I've always done to get around the village where I grew up. However, when I was at High School, I was one of the larger kids in the class. I decided to use my mountain bike to ride the 7 miles to school and not only did the weight fall off me but I was able to spend time with friends after school instead of having to get the bus. It gave me masses of self confidence and belief to the point where i ended up taking part in the inaugual Grundig Mountain Bike World Challenge at the age of 15 and participating in distance rides for charity. I find it wierd that others feel that its something they've grown out of. It sounds corny but to me its a gift that just keeps giving! It's a beautifully simple way of getting about so that's one less thing to worry about. It's certainly more pleasant than the stress of being at the mercy of gridlock or problems with the rail network. I live by the sea and there is no better way to see it, especially with my 15 month old son on board!

How often does your family bike versus drive?

I commute 24 miles a day to work and back along the seafront between Worthing and Brighton in Sussex during the week. Whenever at home I try to get out with my son. I have a Dutch bike with a front child seat with little windshield to protect him from the sea breezes. He loves it and other people always stop and smile or enquire about the bike and child seat as although it's normal in the Netherlands it is quite a wierd set up for Britain. As my wife has a bad back due to a condition at the base of her spine it's incredibly difficult for her to ride a bicycle so usually we walk everywhere. It's a rare day that we use our car. It has a very low milage!

What’s a good safety tip for biking with children?

If there is training avaiable (in Britain, there is Bikeability) at school for example then try and get them on it. If in a town or city, always plan where you want to go in advance and try to find quieter routes if possible - there are iPhone apps avaialble now with varying degrees of detail and there may be maps available from a local cycle advocacy group or national organisation. There is no better way to engage your local community and you may spot stuff that you may not notice in a car like a tucked away cafe. If in the countryside be mindful that on rural lanes cars can move very quickly (especially when driven by the locals that think they know the roads blindfolded and often drive that way). Areas such as National Parks are great ways for children to get to know their bikes thoroughly and you can be a bit more ad hoc with your route. Above all enjoy yourselves! Your child is learning a new skill that will lead to greater independence, self confidence and enjoyment.