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Family mountain biking on a forest road

Now the nights are drawing in, the mornings are chillier and the kids are about to be off school again; it's likely you're slightly panicked about how you are going to entertain them.

Luckily the weather is yet to get brutal enough to prevent at least a few hours of daylight hours in which we can get outside on our bikes without the need for top of the range lights and reflective gear. But we know it won't stay this way for much longer and as Christmas is the next break the kids will have off from school, October half term could well be the last family cycling-filled week of the year.

To help you make the most of it, here's a few hints and tips of outdoorsy ways to entertain your kids this half term (all involving cycling - of course).

[part title="Plan a family-friendly bike ride"]

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We know it's the obvious choice, but it's also one of the most fun too. So many of our favourite childhood memories lay in bike rides gone wrong with Mum and Dad bickering over who took the wrong turn back there and whose responsibility it was to pack the the spare inner tube when one of us got a puncture (no one ever remembered the inner tube, of course). But it's these sorts of days out that tie families together and that kids look back on with a sense of nostalgia once they leave home.

6 Ways To Stop Your Kids From Killing Each Other On Family Bike Rides

Where you go for your family bike ride entirely depends on how much time you can spare. If you've got the week off with your kids, why not plan a cycling holiday abroad in France or Spain? Or if it's just a weekend, you could head to one of the UK's best forests for cycling and spend your days pedalling and your evenings eating in country pubs and playing scrabble in front of the fire.

The Best Family Cycling Holidays

Of course, there's no reason why you couldn't keep it simple and plan just a day-long or half-day cycling. If your children are proficient enough cyclists you could stick to your local area and cycle between towns stopping off for lunch along the way. Or if road cycling makes you a bit weary, then run a search for children-friendly cycling routes near you on Sustran's website.

Another great option for mum's who would like to take the kids on a bike ride while dad's at work but aren't completely comfortable taking them out on their own, is to tag along on an organised Sky Ride. Your children will have lots of fun zipping back and forth with the other kids and you'll get to relax in your saddle side by side with likeminded mums, not having to worry whether you're going in the right direction or if there's a tricky intersection ahead because it has all been organised for you.

[part title="Sign the kids up to a safety cycling course"]

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The school holidays are by far the perfect time to sign your children up to a bike safety course. No one wants to be that overprotective parent who doesn't let their kids cycle to school with their friends or over to the park even when all the other kids are allowed to because they're worried about that tricky intersection up the road. Of course everyone fears for their kid when they're out and about but a short cycling proficiency course will provide them with the skills they need to keep them as safe as possible.

How to Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike

Many schools offer Bikeability or Bike It! courses during the holidays which your child can sign up for. If your school doesn't, ask them to run one this October half term or search to see if there are any other ones taking place in your local area.

[part title="Spend a day at a local bike park"]

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Most kids are fearless on their bicycles and scooters which can, quite naturally, worry parents. But rather than worrying about what tricks they are attempting on the local half pipe, why not take them to an official bike park for a day and let them show you just how good they are?

If your kids are into BMX-ing specifically, you could even sign them up to have lessons at Lee Valley VeloPark.

Kids BMX: Everything You Need to Know

If you and your children share a passion for mountain biking then there's even more options for days-out this half term. The CTC Mountain Bike Park Network has four great sites across the south east of the country with plenty of awesome trails to get both adults' and kids' adrenaline levels pumping.

Throughout the rest of the country there are lots of other bike parks to choose from too including Revolution Bike Park in Wales, UKBP in Dorset and Whinlatter in the Lake District.

[part title="Make cycling part of the daily routine"]

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Your kid may not tend to jump at the chance to help you do the grocery shopping, accompany you to a meeting with the bank manager or walk to the post box to post a letter; but if you swapped the car for a bicycle and some panniers, then you may not have as much of a fight on your hands to get them away from the TV.

There's also a double benefit here - if you get your kids to cycle everywhere instead of lounging around doing nothing, they may just be too tired to argue about going to bed and letting you have some peace. Win win.

[part title="Organise a sponsored bike ride"]

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If you're lucky enough to have the week off with your kids, you could choose to organise a sponsored bike ride in your local village or town together.

Sponsored bike rides take a fair bit of organising but nothing that would be too difficult or tiresome to complete and there will be plenty that your kids could do themselves. From making banners and posters to handing out leaflets, collecting sponsorships and recruiting cyclists to participate, you could easily keep the kids occupied for the whole of the half term break.

Then of course you will all get to compete in the sponsored bike race at the end of the week together as a family and as you hand the cheque over to your chosen charity you'll share a sense of pride over what you have achieved together in such a short time. And hopefully you will have had a lot of fun doing it too!

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