I have a 4 year-old who is learning to ride a bike. Riding a bike is a skill (like swimming) that happens at all different ages. Right now she's on training wheels, but she has little friends who are already barreling around the roads sans training wheels. So I was more than a little excited when I was contacted by Pedalheads - a Canadian organization providing bike camp experiences to children - to come check out a mini-camp last Thursday. Traffic and densely populated urban areas make it difficult for parents to teach their kids to ride their bikes. Kids need the confidence to ride safely on the road, in parks and around the neighbourhood. The Pedalheads bike camps provide children with the right environment, trained instructors and small groups to prepare children for the road - some as young as three can learn to ride without training wheels upon completion of camp.
We showed up at the Alta Vista location (there will also be camps held in Nepean and Kanata), and my daughter's face lit up when she saw the obstacle course. She quickly hopped on her bike, and the instructors took her around the pylons and up over the balance boards. She asked to go again and again!
I also got a chance to speak with one of the instructors about the camps. The kids will spend the majority of the day on their bikes, but like most camps, there will be plans for extreme weather. They have use of a large church and indoor play equipment. The church is on quite a large property, with ample space for riding down grassy slopes. A slip 'n slide will come out on hot days for the kids to cool off.
I was really impressed with all of the friendly instructors, and they seemed really enthusiastic about their jobs. When I asked my daughter whether she'd enjoy a full week camp, she answered a loud "YES!"
Children can register in morning, afternoon, short 45-minute sessions or even private lessons. The earliest program starts with Riding Rookies, a child and caregiver program, then Trikes and Trainers, a program aimed at three year olds - to teach them to steer, stop and pedal. Once the child is four years old they can start the 10 level program starting with Newbees, who still ride with training wheels, and finishing with Crankheads, who can do both a front and rear lift with their mountain bikes. Pedalheads has something for every child to enjoy this summer.