On Saturdays I teach small children music and I love it. I teach with my beloved moomin and recently we've started going by bike some of the time. And the children love it.
There are dozens of teachers at the music school but only around four of us come in by bike. I forego the lycra and wear black leggings with a long top but we often are still wearing our helmets and yellow vests when children start arriving and saying hello.
When I do night rides I tell them and they're often open-mouthed with awe, they love to hear about them and a few are bikers themselves already. At least one girl is desperate for a stunt bike for her birthday.
Too many parents are frightened of letting their children ride a bike. They don't have to go on a road, although one family locally goes to school every morning by road with the children carefully marshalled in the bus lane. It's a source of great joy to me to see the many tinies on bikes in the park near my house on the weekends. Increasingly I see whole families and the bike path near me often has a red-faced father towing children up the steep bit in a tow-along buggy or clip-on extension.
The best thing we can do to encourage children is to set an example. If they ask whey I wear my helmet and high-vis vest I tell them but it's all personal choice. Harder is fighting the temptation to swear at rubbish drivers when I'm near the music school. A range rover came so close to moomin and me on Saturday that I thought he was going to clip my ankle. You never know which parent drives which car and seeing their music teacher calling their dear mummy a c*** could undo all the good bicycle work even if dear mummy can't drive.
Until cycling is seen as a normal way of getting about children and young people won't see it as an option, so let's set an example.