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The benefits of learning to ride a bike in preschool

Blog The benefits of learning to ride a bike in preschool
Riding a bicycle at school could already be beneficial for children starting as young as three years old.
Riding a bicycle is always a great idea! Especially for children as young as three years old, riding a bike can be a rewarding experience and a great opportunity to exercise, socialise, and explore their surroundings. The earlier children start riding a bike the better. 

The Portuguese newspaper, PÚBLICO, recently reported in an article that riding a bicycle can be beneficial from the early age of 3. Indeed, studies results demonstrate that youngsters who regularly ride their bikes, especially balance bikes (two wheels pedal-less bikes), improve their motor skills and dexterity. 

These results were presented in a draft resolution to the Portuguese parliament, which recommends the Portuguese Government to extend the national program that promotes bicycle use in preschool education and to allocate the necessary resources in a timely manner. According to this resolution project, riding a bike in school environments not only develops civic awareness, but also contributes to the decarbonization and sustainable mobility goals of Portugal’s national strategy for active cycling mobility. Indeed, including cycling in preschool education would contribute to create a cycling culture, inside and outside of schools.

With the nation-wide roll out of this program, it is expected that children aged 5/6 who regularly ride their bikes will move on to elementary school with a positive perception of the shared use of bicycles, as compared to the ones who did not receive such trainings. This could change mentalities about cycling.

PÚBLICO also highlights other benefits of the draft resolution. “The use of bicycle from an early age on is also important for anticipating [the detection of] motor issues and for working with young children with special needs, among whom we find an acceptance rate of almost 99%, as well as surprising results in terms of relations with their peers".

The article further points out that riding a bike should be encouraged already from the age of 3, as it helps to prevent childhood obesity. To do so, the resolution project calls for more support of soft mobility inside the classroom, suggesting to provide balance bikes, scooters and other type of material to support these activities. 

It is finally advocated for this national program to define clear goals in cooperation with schools and municipalities, which should eventually encourage young people to cycle outside of school and to school with an adult.