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Computer games 'more important' than learning to cycle says Kellog's survey

Parents see no point investing in bikes

A survey released today by cereal makers Kellogg's claims that one in 10 British children can’t ride a bike – and that one in three homes don’t even have a trusty two-wheeler.

The research, unveiled to promote a cycling campaign on behalf of Kellogg's Bran Flakes, appears to show that the next generation are already couch potatoes, with nearly three quarters of those surveyed admitting that staying in and playing computer games has replaced learning to ride a bike.

According to the report almost half of UK parents admitted to never riding a bike while 48 per cent said learning to cycle is not as important for children today as it was during their childhood.

Kellogg's says that Liverpool leads the lazy league, it being the city with the fewest cyclists. More than half those surveyed in Liverpool said they didn't own a bike, while 74 per cent of Merseysiders thought computer games were more important. At 14 per cent, Glasgow is said to have the highest number of adults unable to ride a bike.

London doesn’t fare particularly well, with one in five parents saying they wouldn’t bother to teach their kids to ride.

More than half of those surveyed blamed a lack of local cycle routes, with 52 per cent describing their home town or city as unsuitable for cycling. Road safety concerns and time were also major barriers to cycling.

The report also claims that cycling would be more popular if VAT on bikes was to be removed whilst one in five Brits stated that improved government schemes would encourage them to get back on their bikes.

Kellogg’s, which has teamed up with Sir Chris Hoy to promote Bran Flakes, has now launched a new website, with the aid of Sustrans to promote cycling and help people plan safe cycling routes.

A spokesperson for Kellogg’s said: “As committed supporters of cycling in Britain we are keen to do something about this trend. It appears that the main barrier to cycling is a lack of local safe cycle routes so that’s where we’ve started.

“We’ve created a website with hundreds of safe cycle routes situated all over the UK. All you need to do is type in your postcode and you’ll be able to find all of your nearest cycle routes”.

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OldRidgeback | 14 years ago

PzychotropicMac- if and when you do have kids, make sure they bypass the stabiliser stage. I've seen a few kids having highsides using them and they're more trouble than they're worth. it's much better for the kids to start with a push along as then they'll be able to skip using stabilisers altogether. Our eldest had the push-along from when he was just under three and the youngest had it when he was two. They were both able to take a tour round the park near our house on that within a week or so of having it. When it came to riding a bike with pedals, having the balance skills already meant they learned to ride in just a few hundred metres and it took 10-15 minutes only before they were zooming around by themselves.

PzychotropicMac | 14 years ago

I remember havign a tiny red bike with stabilisers are racing around my grans garden when parents were at work. I would always get shouted at because she thought I was going to smash into her greenhouse...I didnt. I got bikes that were too big for me as I would 'grow into them'. All these memories are great.

My kids (when I have some!) are going to ride from a young age, its a very useful skill to know especially with the rapidly increasing cost of public transport and driving not to mention how cool it would be to have an elite rider child!

It is sad how many people cant ride, sitting in front of the playstation makes life easier for overweight, under enthused people who happen to have kids but cant really be called parents.

Ruthe | 14 years ago

 13 This is such a sad story.
My parents weren't avid cyclists (in fact I can't remember them having bikes when we were kids) but they taught us to ride bikes from a wee age. We lived on an estate in Manchester where roads were unsafe but they took us to the park or limited the places they thought safe for us to go. They even had a trike adapted to fit my disabled sister who was as keen to be playing out as the rest of us. When I was seven and my sister had learnt to walk properly they treated us to some raleigh shoppers and we spent years riding around the culdesac and heading off down the park. When dad lost his job and times got tough my brother took to making our bikes from bits and pieces of old ones we found or neighbours left lying about in the garden (with permission of course!).
My parents weren't health freaks or addicted cyclists but recognised the important right of passage to growing up. It gave us freedom to get out and about even in a busy, not always safe city. My brother (and his son) and I are now addicted cyclists! My sister less so but likes to head out for a pootle in the sunshine and uses her bike to get to the shop.
Didn't plan to write all that but am shocked that so few kids get the opportunity to cycle. There are safe places within everyones reach just lazy parents looking for excuses, every kid should have a bike!

OldRidgeback | 14 years ago

I taught my kids to ride a bike when they were four and three respectively. I also taught one of their friends when he was four. My kids never had stabilisers as they went straight from a push-along to a proper pedal bike, as did their friend.
We had a 7th birthday party for the elder son at the local BMX track last year. I was shocked at how poor his classmates were at riding bikes - only one kid in his class could complete the track without falling off. My eldest and his mate from the BMX club left all the others standing and my younger son was way ahead of all of the kids who were two years older in terms of riding ability.

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