So some of you may be wondering just why it is that young Bunnies hop around happy, joyous and free while young Humans are not allowed to go out unsupervised. And as Bunnies, we are truly sorry to say that this may just be a result of our differing contemporary cultures.
It is unfortunate that little Humans are no longer allowed the freedom to explore their outdoor environment independently as there is still so much for them to learn from the practice. However, we do understand the challenges you face. In many ways, it is regrettable.
That said, we think it just calls for you to be more creative in constructing safe environments and situations for them to explore. For, their natural curiosity should be encouraged as it is so critical to their success later in life!
And there’s no time like the present! So, what about bikes??? It’s summertime and the living is easy… or so it should be… at least for the little ones…
Do you remember in the “good old days” when a Human could just Hop on a bike and pedal down to a friend’s house for the afternoon? Or maybe even just ride around the neighborhood for a while with no particular goal in mind other than enjoying the moment, passing the time, living a dream… Remember how free and skillful and independent you felt!
Unfortunately, these things are harder to accomplish in your current shelter skelter world with traffic dashing every which way and people focused on getting to the next place. But, it’s not impossible and with awareness and a few sensible precautions you and your little Bunny can also be out and about feeling the wind in you faces as you propel yourself forward to see the world from a totally different perspective than inside a car.
Most of you facing these dilemmas are city dwellers as in more rural settings we don’t really see much of a problem with a little spin on the old dirt bike provided you have your helmet on of course.
Now, city riding is a bit different and is usually best done on a hybrid type of bike that can handle both pavement and off road terrains. Many cities have designated bike trails or bike lanes which greatly increase safety, especially for children and can provide great opportunities for riding adventures.
The good news is that for everyday recreational use an expensive fancy bike really isn’t necessary. A plain old bike bike is just fine for you and your little Bunny. Although Bunnies do enjoy bikes with baskets either on the front or back or both! It’s just nice to be able to bring along some water and a few carrots in case you need a snack. And baskets can be very convenient for any special found items like rocks or acorns or shiny bottle caps. But, no worries if you don’t have a basket! You can always use a backpack.
As far as attire is concerned, bicycle specific clothing is great but general exercise wear will do just fine as well. Exercise tights or shorts work nicely because the fabric and fit helps prevent chaffing on the inside of the thighs. The idea is for your bike ride to be pleasant not painful.
For the eyes, sunglasses are essential. They should be shatter proof of course and have UVA/UVB protection but these too don’t need to be fancy. The other reason for sunglasses while riding a bike is that you want the physical barrier sunglasses provide to protect your eyes from bugs or other debris that can come up off the ground and cause eye injury.
Scout’s selection of sunglasses here are probably not the best. Although they would provide UVA/UVB protection, they don’t fit properly and may cause him to become distracted while riding. They do sell glasses for children and infants. We will have to order Scout a special pair on line.
Finally and most important of all you need a HELMET.
Your head and your brain are really pretty critical for your wellbeing and you simply can’t afford not to protect them! We know that helmets can be cumbersome, but you truly don’t want to spend the evening in the ER or worse. So, here’s a story that might help.
There once was a neurosurgeon who was very, very busy. But, he was a doctor and he knew how important exercise was to his health and wellbeing! And so, on one very busy, over-scheduled day, he was only able to carve a few minutes out of his routine for a workout. Since he was only planning to ride around his safe suburban neighborhood, he decided to skip the helmet. Unfortunately, as he was approaching his driveway at the very end of his delightful ride, he struck some debris in the road, crashed his bike and died from a closed head injury.
[Incidentally, this happens with seatbelt as well. Humans tend to think that if they are only going a short distance from home, they don’t really need their seatbelt. This is completely illogical of course. And it turns out that as many as 70% of car accidents occur close to one’s home!]
Anyway, back to the helmet! You should have on your helmet every time you get on your bike. Most bike injuries happen close to home so NEVER allow your children to ride without a helmet securely fastened on their heads. Equally important, never ride without one yourself. We know from previous posts that it is the behaviors that you model that speak the most loudly to your children. So model good behavior by wearing your helmet!
Every year in the US, 6,000 cyclists sustain head injuries requiring emergency care. Moreover, head injuries account for the majority of cycling fatalities. Used properly, bike helmets can prevent 90% of brain injuries.
So here are some terrific tips on how to properly select and wear a bike helmet.
- Always look for a label certifying that the helmet meets the standards of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety commission. If it doesn’t have the label don’t buy it.
- Choose a high visibility color. The neon colors work well for this. You can also put reflective strips on the helmet. Most high quality helmets will already have reflective materials on them.
- Get the right fit. Your helmet should be comfortable and sit mid-forehead (not tilted back), coming with in a finger’s width or two of your eyebrows.
- Adjust the straps so the helmet fits snugly. The strap adjustors should sit right below the earlobes. Tighten the strap so that you can’t fit more than two fingers under it.
- The helmet shouldn’t move if you try to rotate it. If you can rotate the helmet forward, tighten the back (nape) strap. If you can rotate it backward, tighten the front (temple) straps.
- Don’t wear headphones, hair bands, or barrettes under the helmet, since these can cause injuries if you do fall or are in an accident.
- Replace your helmet if it has been involved in an accident, even if it doesn’t look damaged.
Scout’s helmet here is obviously not a good fit. It sits on the top of his head and would only protect his ears if he fell. Not only that, but it also doesn’t have straps to secure the helmet to his head. If he did fall, his helmet would most likely not even be on his head by the time he hit the ground providing no protection at all. We will have to try a little harder to get him a properly fitting helmet because he is very excited to try out his new bike!
These steps can ensure a safe, fun way to experience the great outdoors and get some exercise along the way. And the added benefit, Bunnies have know for ages that playing in nature improves mood, lowers stress and allows the body to heal faster. Maybe it is the increased blood circulation, maybe it is the way light reflects and refracts around you, maybe it is the sound of the breeze through the trees.
Whatever it is, we do know that exercise and sunlight are things everyBunny needs to be healthy and hoppy. And engaging the young in enjoyable forms of exercise will help insure that they grow up into strong, healthy and fit adults! So hop on that Bunny Bike and hit the road!
Here is a free printable coloring page with an illustration of the helmet we ended up getting for Scout! It’s a much better fit and now he’s ready to roll! We would love to hear comments back about what color your little Bunny decided to make the bike and where they ended up riding! #bunnylife #eatmorecarrots
Bunny Scout 1397 has a degree in Bunny Health Sciences with a specialty in Hoppiness. He has worked as a sports therapist for a number of years and he currently owns and operates his own Bunny Bike store. He is a Scout for Jackson and Louisa in Montana.