The New Screen-time
During lockdown we were worried we would have to find a way to negate the pull of the small screen. But screentime became cycletime.
Teagan, our 12-year old daughter, like many others loves her iPhone, enjoys time on the iPad and also likes spending time playing with her brother on the PS4. She’s also not averse to the odd Netflix series on TV in the evening.
During lockdown you would have expected this to get worse, with restricted opening hours for many leisure facilities, others still closed completely and disrupted travel. Not for Teagan and her pals though, and the reason is the humble bicycle.
Teagan has had her current bike for about 2 years now. We bought mountain bikes for her and her brother so that we could go on family bike rides. Our weekends (and weekdays for that matter) are fairly hectic, but typically we go out for a ride in the countryside every other week. That was until lockdown.
When lockdown hit... that went up to 2 or 3 times a week! And like many others, we familiarised ourselves with every inch of rideable track within a 5 to 10-mile radius.
Since then though something great has happened! She’s regularly relinquishing 2 to 3 hours of potential screen time every single day, because every afternoon she grabs her bike, goes to meet the girls and they all head out. Not shopping, not to MacDonalds and not even to each other’s houses, but out to the surrounding parks, fields and woods. In fact, being out on their bikes means that rather than us worrying about too much screen time, our concerns are far more traditional parental concerns. Teagan now regularly comes home with bruised knees from scraping them on the trees been she’s climbing, cuts on her elbows from attempting jumps on her bike and loads of bites from midges as she spends so much time outdoors.
The girls have gained huge confidence from being out together like this on bikes and the extra responsibility and freedom they’ve been given has had positive results. Teagan will always notify us if she wants to go somewhere other than agreed destination or if she’s going to be late (although she seems to have cultivated an unofficial 10-minute buffer zone from somewhere)!
When it comes to bike mastery, they’ve also got fairly proficient at low level tricks which they practice daily at a great nearby natural spot in the woods that features lots of little paths, ramps and jumps. That said, Danny MacAskill can rest easy for the time being, but he may be looking over his shoulder in a few years time!
For us, I think this experience has been one of the silver linings of lockdown and it we are certainly going to do our best to make sure this becomes the "New Normal" - even when the weather deteriorates and the nights close in. Long may cycletime continue.
Written by Jugro Scarlett