Over the Christmas period my partner and I took some time to drive our motorhome to Denmark and spend a few days relaxing, not doing much, and getting ready to tackle the new year. We stayed at the Denmark Ocean Beach Holiday Park and I was gobsmacked - and heartened! - by the sheer number of bicycles I saw there! All day, the hordes of children of all ages would ride in circles around the park, forming gangs, practising tricks, learning to ride, borrowing each other's bicycles. It was so lovely to see whole families of a dozen or more with clusters of bicycles piled up around their camps.
I think it's really important to allow for some distinction between "riding bikes" and "cycling". Cycling is, in the main, a sporting endeavour; it has its champions, its elite events and teams, big dollar sponsorship deals and, like motor racing, the drive to excel in the sport pushes the technology of bicycles further every year, from which all bike riders eventually benefit. However, "cycling" can seem like a really unapproachable, even hostile, environment to newcomers. It has a fairly high barrier to entry.
Now, "riding bikes" does not have that same barrier to entry. A bicycle that's vaguely the right size and whose bits and pieces all meet up and turn in vaguely the right way, and a helmet, and you're golden. Riding bikes can be a relaxing solitary pursuit or an excellent way to get outside with your family. It's an ideal way to commute if you work less than 10km away from your home. Taking back your own power of transport from the car, and giving yourself the gift of riding places under your own steam is the best thing you'll do for yourself this year. Give it a red-hot go and see if it doesn't have all kinds of positive influences on your life.
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