Bicycles at School
Many of our children ride to school, particularly in the warmer weather. Please ensure that your child is dressed appropriately and that all bikes and scooters are safe and fit for use.
Finding the Right Size Helmet
Parents should make their children wear helmets while cycling, but one that doesn't properly fit offers much less protection.
Getting the right size helmet
Helmets that are too big or small will be uncomfortable to wear and, more importantly, won't protect the head from bumps properly. It might be tempting to buy a larger one for your child to grow into, but it's really important to have a helmet that's the right size.
How to measure for a helmet
Helmets normally come with a size recommendation in centimetres, covering a range of sizes. This is a measurement of the circumference of the head.
To measure your child's head, just follow these steps:
- Take a cloth measuring tape and wrap it around the head about an inch above the eyebrow.
- Measure from here, making sure the tape is level all the way round.
Don't have a measuring tape? Use some string instead! Mark or cut the string and then straighten it out next to a tape measure or ruler to get the circumference.
How to tell if it fits properly
After measuring you should have a rough starting point for helmet sizes. Get your child to try one on and look at how it sits on the head. It should be level, with a gap of about an inch (two fingers) between the eyebrow and the helmet. Make sure that all the straps and adjustments are firm but not too tight.
- Too big
If the helmet can move around a lot, it's probably too big! Double check that the straps and adjusters are tight, but it's probably a good idea to try a smaller size.
- Too small
If the helmet sits on top of the head or leaves a visible line on the skin, it's probably too small. Your child should be able to put on glasses with the helmet
Straps and adjusters
Kids' helmets come with all sorts of different ways of adjusting the fit, but the most common use either different sized foam pads or a clicky dial to adjust the size of the helmet. This means that they can fit a range of different sizes and can grow a little bit with your child. The chin strap should not hang loose, but also should allow your child to open their mouth easily, before going comfortably around the ears. Straps can normally be adjusted in these places, so this is an easy area to fit!
Different kinds of melon!
While measuring can give you a good starting point for what size helmet you might need, and helmets are adjustable, there's no getting away from the fact that heads come in a lot of different shapes! There's no substitute for trying a helmet on.
Whether you ride a BMX, a mountain bike or a sweet chopper, it's important to keep your bicycle in decent shape, especially if it's your main mode of transportation. By doing regular maintenance, your two-wheeled machine will last longer and be a smoother ride. Check out these tips for bicycle repair and maintenance.
Bike Maintenace - The Chain
- Always try to keep your bike chain as clean as possible. If you don't clean and oil your chain regularly, you'll find pedalling is much harder and you'll mess up other components on your bike.
- Lubricate and clean your chain at least once a month - more often if the weather is wet or you're riding your bike a lot.
- If your chain is packed with mud, hose it clean first, then wipe it down with a wet rag.
- Use the edge of a cloth to scrape out dirt between the sprockets and to wipe the teeth of your chain.
- Lubricate your chain using chain oil from a bike shop or WD-40.
Bike Maintenace - Brakes and Gears
- There are many different kinds of braking systems for a bike - but they all do the same thing; they stop your bike (so you don't end up crashing into cars, other cyclists, old ladies or anything else that crosses your path).
- Test your brakes frequently, as brake pads wear down over time.
- If you have to pull the brake levers quite tightly in order to stop, your brake pads and cables likely need replacing.
- To keep your gears changing smoothly, be sure to oil your gear mechanisms whenever you oil your chain.
Bike Maintenace - Cleaning
- Your bike will stay in better shape if you give it a good wash every couple of months.
- Hose the bike down first, then wipe down the frame, handle bars, seat and all other parts with soap and water.
- Use an old toothbrush to clean out dirt from the chain, cogs and gear mechanisms.
- Go for a ride after washing your bike to blow the water off.