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Interview with ByK Dad - Bruce Arthur - About Fostering the Love of Bikes with His Kids

We recently had a chance to sit down and chat with Bruce Arthur, a ByK Dad, keen cyclist and runner, and a national Orienteering champion.

He talks to us about his own kids' bike riding journeys and how bikes allows his kids to join him during training runs, and the value of parents joining their kids in being active.

We know Bruce because he posted a great picture of his sons riding their ByK Road Bikes at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide this year which caught our attention for how they looked like they were part of the big race in their awesome kits!

What do you do?
Orienteering and running have been my passion for 25 years and they still play a huge part in my everyday life. I compete in the Elite category of the National Orienteering League and have been President of Orienteering Victoria for the past 5 years. I also work in the development of mobile and digital projects for a major bank.

How many children do you have?
Three. Mason, 12 years old, Torren, 10 years old and Sophie, 8 years old.

Mason has just recently made the Victorian Schools Orienteering Team for the first time this year which is really exciting. Torren and Sophie have both won National Orienteering competitions for their age.

So far, the kids are really enjoying Orienteering which is great to see.

What do you do in your spare time?
Orienteering plays a huge role in my non-work life, pre and post-kids still. I train, compete and am involved with Orienteering Victoria, so its a major focus for me and something I just love to do.

I ride to work 5 days a week so that clocks up about 100km in cycling, and I run 80km most weeks too.

How many bikes live at your house?
Eight in total. I have two - a road and a MTB, my wife, Anne, has one hybrid, and we have five kids bikes in total - all ByK!

Mason and Torren both currently ride a 620R kids road bike. We asked the guys at the shop to put the blue handlebars on Torren's (which are usually only on the smaller model - the 540R) so that we could differentiate the bikes! Sophie currently rides an E-450 - a hand-me-down from her brothers.

Kids riding the 540R ByK Kids Road Bike on the Yarra Trail

How do you and your kids use your bikes in daily life?
Kids ride on most weekends. Because I do a lot of running, they often come riding alongside me on the trails - like the Yarra Bend trail which is a favourite of ours. However, the kids are now getting faster than my running speed, for the first time ever, so I might need to rethink that family weekend activity time!

Do your kids ride to school?
No as we live quite close to school so its easier to walk most days. They might ride to school maybe once a week for fun.

Where's your favourite family ride?
Yarra Bend Park. We also have been getting into the Capital City Trail of late and just recently both boys rode the whole 32km with me. I didn't tell them at the outset exactly how long it was but they managed it well and enjoyed it!

Do you take your bikes when you go away with the kids?
A lot of family trips are for orienteering competitions, so no, the bikes don't usually come with us. However, in January this year we made a family driving holiday to Adelaide to be at the Tour Down Under.

We managed to squeeze 4 bikes into the boot of our car, along with family luggage squeezed in all the other available spaces in the car! I think we'll be looking at our other options for travelling with bikes on the car very soon...

Kids Bikes and Adult Bikes in Back of Car

How was the TDU and what did you get up to there, other than spectating?

I did the public 150km ride from Glenelg to Mt Barker.

And the kids participated in the Bupa Mini Tour for Kids where they got to ride along the start/finish straight of the Stage 6 street circuit just a few hours before the world's elite cyclists raced the final stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.

Girl racing the E-450 ByK Kids bike in the Tour Down Under Kids Race

We did a lot of spectating too, getting to see some well known cyclists and watching them beat it out on the the stages. The kids really enjoyed being there and seeing it all happen from the road-side.

Kids watching the TDU in Adelaide

What bike gear could you not live without?
Right now it has to be a winter, windproof, riding jacket and my gloves!
In summer I like to wear cycling kit and have a BMC Kit and Trek Kit.

What about your kids gear?
The boys both got Orica Green Edge kits at the Tour Down Under this year which they absolutely love. But other than that none of the kids use or have any particular bits of gear to help them enjoy their ride.

What's your most endearing memory of riding bikes as a kid?
After school - riding all afternoon - building jumps and cruising about the streets. Generally you got on your bike and stayed on it or it stayed with you until the end of the day!

These days play-dates seem to be a lot more structured. The kids might ride as an activity for 15 mins or so then they move on to something else.

What one piece of advice would you give to other parents who want to get their kids started in riding bikes?
Ride with them. Or run with them! Explore and see things the kids wouldn't normally see from a car, or from just not leaving the house. Use bikes to commute on weekends to and from kids activities - use them as part of the scheduling.

Sometimes people see commuting as Monday to Friday but using the bikes on the weekend is a great way to supplement your activities as a family riding together.

And what about kids who want to get into road bikes - track racing or just on the road like their Mum or Dad?
Bike paths and trails are the best way to get comfortable with road bike riding for us. Merri Creek Trail, Yarra Bend Trail, Capital City Trail, or even trails like the Yarra Boulevard.

Beware though, kids like a challenge but it has to be fun and that usually means no hills!

What teaching tips do you have for mums and dads helping teach their kids to ride?
We taught all our kids to ride on a balance bike (we had the first generation ByK balance bike for Mason and it got passed down to each kid).

When it came to learning to ride pedals, we took them to the local park where there was lots of grass and a soft landing, with slight inclines to get momentum. All kids learnt pretty quickly and easily in that setting.

So what's next on the family riding calendar?
During July, Anne and I will be watching the Tour de France each night, wishing we were enjoying the sunshine in Europe. It is too late for the kids, so they will watch some of the daily highlights.

And the whole family has entered the Family Friendly 20km ride in the Around the Bay in October this year. This is the first time we are doing an event all together and everyone is very excited about it!

Kids and their Road Bikes at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide

ByK Kids Road Bikes -
Tour Down Under:
Orienteering Victoria:
Around the Bay - Family Friendly Ride: