Introducing Happy Cycling with Active Families
Active Devon’s Lorraine Harris writes about the Active Families Cycling project and how you can join in and feel the health and wellbeing benefits, whilst spending quality time with your family.
If Active Families had been available when I moved to Devon from Warwick nearly seven years ago, I would have jumped at the prospect of joining in.
I had two young children and moved away from family to an area which was unfamiliar and with no support network. I experienced highs and lows and socially, felt quite isolated. I’ve always enjoyed being active, but with a new job and no close friends or family nearby to help with childcare, fitting activity into an already busy life was a struggle.
Any family time was spent playing with my children and doing all those mummy things. Whilst most of the time this was (and still is) lovely, it can also be mentally tiring.
Understanding what that feels like and knowing how Active Families could have helped, is why I’m so keen to spread the word of this fantastic project.
So What Is Active Families?
Active Families is a project Active Devon now offer. The concept has been born and developed from what was called Active Mums. In September 2015. Active Devon was commissioned by Devon County Council (Public Health & Sustainable Travel) to deliver an Active Mums cycling project.
The aim was to encourage and support more mums to cycle regularly for both health and active travel benefits.
The project was immensely popular and over the past three years Active Devon has supported over 300 mums and their young children.
The Active Families project will offer the same opportunities but now it’s open to mums, dads and grandparents, along with children. We’re keen for families to enjoy quality time together outdoors and feeling happier and healthier for it.
Cycling is a great way to do this. To read more about how you can benefit from cycling, see here.
Free Adult Cycle Confidence Sessions
We held some free Cycle Confidence Sessions in August and they proved to be really successful, so we plan to hold some more session in Autumn.
If you haven’t ridden a bike for a while or at all and want to boost your confidence or learn how to use a trailer, then these sessions will be ideal for you.
Keep checking our website for new dates, times, locations and booking information.
Family Cycling Rides
We plan to relaunch Family Cycle Rides in the Autumn too. These rides provide a perfect opportunity for you to be active with your children, ride with other families and enjoy the outdoors together. You get to make new friendships and picnics are a big part of the rides too. It’s all very social and fun.
There’s a small charge of £3 which includes hire of the bikes and trailers, and rides are led by qualified instructors that go at the pace of the group.
The rides are open to children up to five years old and they must be accompanied by an adult and ride in the trailers provided.
Take a look at our poster: Family Ride Sessions
Family Cycling Rides
If you’re a qualified Ride Leader, or interested in becoming one, we’re keen to hear from you
One of the highlights of the project, for me, has been watching the journey of those involved. Going from never riding a bike in 10 years to competing in a local group cycling race, along with kids in trailers, I’ve also experienced that journey.
This is often one of the reasons Ride Leaders really enjoy doing what they do. You can be active outdoors with others, feeling happier and healthier, whilst giving families in your community, the same opportunity.
Take a look at our poster: Ride Leader
If you’re keen to get involved with our Active Families project or you’re interested in finding our more about becoming a Ride Leader, we’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch by emailing us or calling 01392 925150. Happy cycling!
Here’s How the Cycle Confidence Sessions Can Make a Difference
This is what one parent has to say about her Cycle Confidence Session:
“My son and I had a great time on our cycle with Will from Ride On. I was a little apprehensive at first with using the trailer, but all the safety features were explained and I felt comfortable having my questions answered and being guided by an experienced cyclist. I’ve been desperate to return to exercise and I found this a great way, which also included my son, where he could enjoy the view too. I was concerned it may be a bit bumpy for him but it was very smooth and he sat happily strapped in. Within our group, there were cyclists with a range of experience, but were all supported. I feel very lucky to have these opportunities and support for parents .” Rachel