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Riding with kids



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 3rd 03, 12:24 PM
Horace
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Default Riding with kids

I'm getting back into recreational cycling after a long hiatus, and my
oldest son (12) wants to ride with me almost all the time. I enjoy his
company when we ride in our immediate neighborhood, but he's bugging me
about riding on some heavily trafficked streets outside the neighborhood.

He has fairly good bike handling skills for his experience level, though he
often has trouble keeping up. I'm most concerned about him riding safely in
traffic. A tandem would solve the problem, but the cost is prohibitive at
present. I've considered buying a beater MTB (like his) and taking him to
some area trails, but I suspect he's attracted to the "adventure" of really
going somewhere on his bike.

Anyone have experience in this area? If so, was there a particular age when
you encouraged your kid to ride along? Any tips would be greatly
appreciated.


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  #2  
Old September 3rd 03, 12:58 PM
David Kerber
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Default Riding with kids

In article k.net,
says...
I'm getting back into recreational cycling after a long hiatus, and my
oldest son (12) wants to ride with me almost all the time. I enjoy his
company when we ride in our immediate neighborhood, but he's bugging me
about riding on some heavily trafficked streets outside the neighborhood.

He has fairly good bike handling skills for his experience level, though he
often has trouble keeping up. I'm most concerned about him riding safely in
traffic. A tandem would solve the problem, but the cost is prohibitive at
present. I've considered buying a beater MTB (like his) and taking him to
some area trails, but I suspect he's attracted to the "adventure" of really
going somewhere on his bike.

Anyone have experience in this area? If so, was there a particular age when
you encouraged your kid to ride along? Any tips would be greatly
appreciated.


By the time I was in 7th grade, I was riding a couple of miles to school
and everywhere else in town everyday year 'round, and I've been taking my
12yo daughter on the main road this summer. My 14yo son has been riding
on the main road for over a year when he wants to go to Brooks to get a
snack. It's only about a mile on the road, though, and the road has a
wide shoulder with lots of runners and cyclists, so the drivers are used
to seeing them.


--

"Where was the ka-boom? There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering ka-
boom!"
- Marvin The Martian
  #3  
Old September 3rd 03, 02:21 PM
Alexander Gilchrist
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Default Riding with kids

Age 7. She had put in 2 good years before that on a trailer bike with a
shifter. She was big for her age and was then riding a 24" 7-speed,
which I traded up to a 26" with a 13" frame at age 9. At 11 she got a
49cm Fuji Tourer and a 50 cm Cannondale R500. She's now 13, completed
the 361 mile Cycle South Carolina in June 2002 and her first century in
November of that year.

Choose fairly quiet backroads at first, working up gradually to more
heavily traveled roads. Match your speed to his, and gradually work
up. A tandem will only postpone his learning to ride with and cope with
traffic.

Alexander Gilchrist
  #4  
Old September 3rd 03, 02:58 PM
Mark Weaver
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Default Riding with kids

When you're out in traffic, make sure that your kid rides in front of you.
That way you can keep an eye on what he's doing and how he's managing the
bike, he won't fall behind, and you'll be a more visible 'target' for
overtaking cars to see.

Mark

"Horace" wrote in message
hlink.net...
I'm getting back into recreational cycling after a long hiatus, and my
oldest son (12) wants to ride with me almost all the time. I enjoy his
company when we ride in our immediate neighborhood, but he's bugging me
about riding on some heavily trafficked streets outside the neighborhood.

He has fairly good bike handling skills for his experience level, though

he
often has trouble keeping up. I'm most concerned about him riding safely

in
traffic. A tandem would solve the problem, but the cost is prohibitive at
present. I've considered buying a beater MTB (like his) and taking him to
some area trails, but I suspect he's attracted to the "adventure" of

really
going somewhere on his bike.

Anyone have experience in this area? If so, was there a particular age

when
you encouraged your kid to ride along? Any tips would be greatly
appreciated.




  #5  
Old September 3rd 03, 03:02 PM
Matthew
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Posts: n/a
Default Riding with kids


"Horace" wrote in message
hlink.net...
I'm getting back into recreational cycling after a long hiatus, and my
oldest son (12) wants to ride with me almost all the time. I enjoy his
company when we ride in our immediate neighborhood, but he's bugging me
about riding on some heavily trafficked streets outside the neighborhood.

He has fairly good bike handling skills for his experience level, though

he
often has trouble keeping up. I'm most concerned about him riding safely

in
traffic. A tandem would solve the problem, but the cost is prohibitive at
present. I've considered buying a beater MTB (like his) and taking him to
some area trails, but I suspect he's attracted to the "adventure" of

really
going somewhere on his bike.

Anyone have experience in this area? If so, was there a particular age

when
you encouraged your kid to ride along? Any tips would be greatly
appreciated.


I would recommend while you are driving with him to point out dangers or
potential dangers in the road. Do this for a week or so, and then let him
start pointing out the dangers and what he would do to avoid them on his
bike. I think you will soon know if he is ready to ride in traffic.

Matthew



  #6  
Old September 3rd 03, 03:24 PM
[email protected]
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Default Riding with kids

Horace wrote:
: I'm getting back into recreational cycling after a long hiatus, and my
: oldest son (12) wants to ride with me almost all the time. I enjoy his

Maybe it's a good idea to take a look at some of the
how-to-ride-in-traffic sites together.

--
Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/hpv/hpv.html
varis at no spam please iki fi
  #7  
Old September 3rd 03, 03:47 PM
Spider1977
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Default Riding with kids

Horace wrote:
I'm getting back into recreational cycling after a long hiatus, and my
oldest son (12) wants to ride with me almost all the time. I enjoy his
company when we ride in our immediate neighborhood, but he's bugging me
about riding on some heavily trafficked streets outside the
neighborhood.
He has fairly good bike handling skills for his experience level, though
he often has trouble keeping up. I'm most concerned about him riding
safely in traffic. A tandem would solve the problem, but the cost is
prohibitive at present. I've considered buying a beater MTB (like his)
and taking him to some area trails, but I suspect he's attracted to the
"adventure" of really going somewhere on his bike.
Anyone have experience in this area? If so, was there a particular age
when you encouraged your kid to ride along? Any tips would be greatly
appreciated.




Your 12 yo is probably a lot smarter than you give him credit for. When
I was 12 I rode everywhere in a major capital city (3 million people). I
rode at least 3 miles to school on a dual carriage highway in peak hour
traffic. I used to ride to the other side of the city to visit my
sister. Never had any trouble. If my parents worried they never said
anything. That was 30 years ago and I'm still here to tell the story.

Kids can handle bikes pretty well and they only get better with
experience. They don't have a fear of traffic - it's only when you get
to adulthood and start driving cars that you realise how vulnerable
you were as a cyclist. As long as he learns not to make erratic moves
when riding in traffic he'll be fine. My 11 year-old has strted to
ride to school this year. I'm encouraging him. Kids need the
encouragement to exercise these days - there are too many sedantry
interests (computers, TV etc.).

If the kid wants to ride with you then you should encourage it. Pretty
soon he'll be grown up and gone. Get him a good bike with decent gears
so he can keep up with you. What are you going to say in a few years
time when he starts moaning that you can't keep up with him?

I can see the post already. I have an old man who wants to ride with me,
but he's too slow and panics whenever we go out in heavy traffic. should
I buy him a wheelchair or a walking stick?



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  #8  
Old September 3rd 03, 04:06 PM
Brunswick_kate
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Default Riding with kids

Horace wrote:
I'm getting back into recreational cycling after a long hiatus, and my
oldest son (12) wants to ride with me almost all the time. I enjoy his
company when we ride in our immediate neighborhood, but he's bugging me
about riding on some heavily trafficked streets outside the
neighborhood.
He has fairly good bike handling skills for his experience level, though
he often has trouble keeping up. I'm most concerned about him riding
safely in traffic. A tandem would solve the problem, but the cost is
prohibitive at present. I've considered buying a beater MTB (like his)
and taking him to some area trails, but I suspect he's attracted to the
"adventure" of really going somewhere on his bike.
Anyone have experience in this area? If so, was there a particular age
when you encouraged your kid to ride along? Any tips would be greatly
appreciated.


A tandem (or tandem attachment) is a great idea for long distance hauls
where the distances done by an adult are just beyond a child's stamina
levels, particularly day after day touring. But for general riding, I
think supervised soloing is the way to go for long term results.

Our 7 year old just learned to bike this summer. She's doing remarkably
well for her age but she's not safe to roll unsupervised in traffic
because she's unpredictable and doesn't have good traffic judgement
skills. Most of our family riding is done with her riding between her
two parents - usually Mamma in front, her and Poppa following.

Two things we're working on with her is to "be responsible" for her own
street crossings. What I'm trying to discourage is having her play
"follow the leader", seeing me cross a street and assuming because I
went across without a problem, she can follow without looking. She did
have an incident this summer because she saw her father cross a
residential street. Just as he went across, a car turned onto the street
and she scooted across. Fortunately, the driver was alert and braked
with plenty of time and distance to spare. When I talked to her about
it, it was very clear that she can't comprehend stopping distances for a
vehicle or judge their speed. Your child, being older, probably has
better judgement in this area.

The other thing we're doing is having her tell us what to do next.
"We're going to stop at the stop sign and turn right after we check for
cars".... etc. We also stop before starting off on a "tricky bit" to
make sure she understands how we plan to cross the bridge, or navigate
the upcoming intersection. It gives her a chance to see our otherwise
invisible thought processes.

Other than that, it's been a lot of practice sessions. She'll go out
with her dad to practise making left hand turns or work on some other
skill set. The practice sessions seem to coincidentally end at a local
ice-cream shop but I'm sure that's just happenstance grin

I did find information at
http://www.johnforester.com/Articles/education.htm that was very useful
in helping us teach cycling safety to our daughter. It gave me a good
insight into what she was capable of dealing with in terms of perception
and reaction.

As far as keeping up, a couple of comments. One, we've both had to cut
our speed when we're with her because she's not capable of travelling as
fast as we do and we've had to experiment a lot with gears etc to keep
our pace down to her level. Second, both of us now use a rear view
mirror on our bikes, not to watch traffic but so the leading parent can
keep an eye on the back of the pack. Finally, because she's growing so
fast, we've had to raise her bike seat twice this summer so she's
getting good extension on her legs. Everytime we've done this, her
average speed has gone up about 1 kph, so she's getting closer to our
normal speeds.

I know this sounds like a lot of effort but it isn't really. We enjoy
biking as a family and I know I'll feel a lot calmer when she makes her
first solo trip to friend's house because I have a very good idea of
what her skills are.

We've also encouraged her to define her own goals to give her a sense of
accomplishment. One was "biking to the downtown", another was "biking on
a downtown street", the next one is "biking to school". We've done a bit
of "stage management" like doing the "downtown street" on a Sunday
morning but I think it's important for kids to attain their own goals to
build their confidence.




--
Insanity has its price -- Please have exact change.

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  #9  
Old September 3rd 03, 06:05 PM
wafflyDIRTYcatLITTERhcsBOX
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Default Riding with kids

Take my two with me, they are 10 and 9, luckily we live on the outskirts
of a city (Balerno village on the outskirts of Edinburgh;Scotland)so we do
not have very heavy traffic.Started them off with little jaunts around the
streets now we travel two miles away and two miles back


Just how I started with my son, but not on the outskirts of Edinburgh - down in
Norfolk, England on mostly rural roads :-)

Little rides out - some little circular ones, and some in & outs so to speak.
The in & out was often to the nearest ice cream shop & back. If my husband came
too, we'd ride so that we had an adult in the lead, child in the middle, adult
at rear. I'd also do a running commentary of what I was doing & why on stuff
like signalling to turn, do a roundabout, change lane, etc..

The little rides became longer ones, plus we started rides to school and from
school. Once he became confident and *I* became confident of his abilities and
road sense, I let him venture out alone. I remeber the first time I let him
cycle to and from school unaccompanied... I must have lost half-a-stone that
day (fret, fret, fret...) and chewed my fingernails to the bone. But, he was
fine :-)

Now, at 14, he's started competitive cycling (round here that means time trials
effectively during the season) and is loving it. He cycles to his friends'
homes and he's developed a good sense of road awareness. I still worry about
him, though - it's part of the job description of being a parent - worry, give
them the skills so you don't have to wrap them ion cotton wool... more worry
;-)

I found in the early days, incentives such as a ride to the ice cream shop
worked well for motivation. Then a ride to the next ice cream shop... the next
cafe... all worked as good incentives to keep the interest up.

Cheers, helen s


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  #10  
Old September 3rd 03, 08:06 PM
bobqzzi
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Default Riding with kids

On Wed, 03 Sep 2003 11:24:17 GMT, "Horace"
wrote:

I'm getting back into recreational cycling after a long hiatus, and my
oldest son (12) wants to ride with me almost all the time. I enjoy his
company when we ride in our immediate neighborhood, but he's bugging me
about riding on some heavily trafficked streets outside the neighborhood.

He has fairly good bike handling skills for his experience level, though he
often has trouble keeping up. I'm most concerned about him riding safely in
traffic. A tandem would solve the problem, but the cost is prohibitive at
present. I've considered buying a beater MTB (like his) and taking him to
some area trails, but I suspect he's attracted to the "adventure" of really
going somewhere on his bike.

Anyone have experience in this area? If so, was there a particular age when
you encouraged your kid to ride along? Any tips would be greatly
appreciated.

Depends on the kid. I often take my 11 year old nephew with me on
rides that go , at least partially, through heavily trafficed areas.
It has never been a problem as he is very serious and conscientious
about how he rides (at least when he is with me). He has gone on
several short bike tours with no problem. His older sister (13) rode
over 1000 miles with me last year, and also accopnaied us on a bike
tour to Hawaii- again no problems.

I think most kids would be fine if the tenets of vehicular cycling are
explained, and they are accomapnied and corrected by an adult.


Bob
 




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