Cycling – Post Pandemic
Staying healthy is a very important part of life, it always has been. Living a balanced life with moderate exercise and great nutrition, with a ton of fun thrown in is a sure fire way to create a healthy individual.
It has been shown that kids who exercise a lot during childhood, and play outside more often, usually grow up to be healthy active adults. It is however, important to find the right balance of activity, so that children are not pushed too hard in sport that they stop finding it fun and therefore quit too early on; relegating them to a life of unhealthy and sedentary habits.
My role here at Next Level Riding is to find that balance and to provide children with a fun and supportive learning environment.
Kids are exceptionally good at learning on their own through active play. The only real reason an adult needs to be there, is to make sure they remain safe. It’s also a good idea, depending on their age and ability levels, for the adult to offer some tips and guidance so that they may develop not only their riding; but their personal skills too. Offering a safe place for kids to experiment with all facets of life.
2020 is a different kind of year
As we move thorough 2020, we must try to understand the incredible trauma that everyone, especially children, are going through.
Being exposed to the level of intensity, emotions and anxiety that has befallen society during the year so far; is going to take it’s toll on our fragile psychology. It’s going to take a lot of tender, compassionate, supportive work to regain trust in our environment.
Unfortunately the world of sport has been affected dramatically. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up on it. The social aspect of sport is crucial to the development of human beings. The sport itself, can be very rewarding to the individual on differing levels. Either it’s simply good for the soul; being outside in nature, or good to develop a sense of direction through goal oriented development and learning. It is also, as I said above, a whole lot of fun.
Post Pandemic Sport
Team sports offer a camaraderie and sense of belonging, but if the anxiety surrounding being in close proximity to others outweighs the positives then we might see a decrease in participation of certain team sports.
This is where cycling can help pick up the slack.
Cycling, while often a very individual sport, is also a great team experience. The world of mountain biking is especially supportive and whilst people that race mountain bikes are certainly interested in bettering themselves, they are also exceptionally supportive of their peers.
Here at Next Level Riding, we maintain a ratio of 1 instructor to 5 Participants. During these small group activities, I witness 9 year old kids stepping up voluntarily to show their peers how to perform a certain skill. It’s so amazing to see this enthusiasm and support. I also see older 13 or 14 year olds wanting to show other kids what speed to go in order to clear a certain feature or jump and offer to “tow them in”, without any prompting. It’s a great forum in which to witness enthusiastic kids developing kindness and mentorship.
With the talk of Physical Distancing constantly in our news media and the possibilities of future re-introductions of these kinds of social actions, the landscape of sport could be very much disrupted.
I hold an optimistic view of cycling however.
Whilst riding bikes and following the lesson plan of the PMBIA, recommending a distance of 5 seconds between riders has always been the norm. A five second gap offers a way bigger distance than 2 meters. If you’re within 2 meters of the rider in front of you, then you’re in an unsafe place, regardless of any possible contagion.
The challenge comes when re-grouping at the end of a section of trail.
The recommendation in the operations of Next Level Riding, will be to remain at least two full bike lengths behind the person in front and no overtaking. If there are any riders coming in the opposite direction, then as per the normal guidelines, moving off the trail will be the protocol.
This is not really something all that new to mountain biking anyway and I’m confident that these rules can be easily implemented without any anxiety inducing effects.
I would be upset to see young adults and children being denied the chance to exercise this summer and as such, I hope that cycling can be a consideration by parents the World over.
I will be closely monitoring the advice from our health authorities and can’t wait to get back out on the trails with these awesome kids.
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In the meantime stay safe and stay healthy. Do whatever you can to change the World for the better and make good choices for our environment, honouring nature and listening to your own body.