Bike Michiana

resources, news, observations and ideas about bicycling in the Michiana area

Blegged: Best Practices for Family Cycling?

Posted by Adam Bee on June 23, 2009

A couple of moms have asked on the Bike Michiana Google Group about riding with kids.  It struck me really hard that I don’t know anything about that!

So I join them in asking you: what are some recommendations you’ve found useful for riding with kids?

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4 Responses to “Blegged: Best Practices for Family Cycling?”

  1. Adam Bee said

    I will, however, offer the one non-obvious thing I have learned about kids and bikes:
    Teaching a kiddo to ride can be dicey. The usual method is to run alongside and eventually let go. If the teacher not a track star and you let go too early, though, a subsequent crash can lead to devastating losses of trust and goodwill.

    Instead, drop the seat until the spud can easily touch the ground flat-footed on both sides at once. Then TAKE THE PEDALS OFF. (That’s the key step.) Let the tyke scoot around for a while, maybe working up to rolling down gentle slopes. Once she’s got a solid handle on that, add the pedals back on. (Take care not to cross-thread them!)

    It really works great, and it requires hardly any “help” from parents!

    As far as hardcore vehicular utility cycling, I know it can be done because I’ve seen little ones drafting their dads in Chicago traffic. It’s a deeply impressive and uplifting sight, but I have no idea how many dozens of hours were spent learning those skills.

  2. dabel said

    If you’re curious about the best way to teach kids to ride without training wheels, Albrights Cycling has a good technique on their web site (http://albrightscycling.com/page.cfm?pageID=127). It suggests starting on a gently sloped grass hill and having the child concentrate on and learn one skill at a time. I tried this with both of my kids this summer with pretty good success. You may have to adjust this method for your child depending on his interest, patience, sense of balance, fearfulness, etc.

  3. Dave said

    I would suggest a trailer for those smaller than riding age. I’ve been toying around with the idea of a trail-a-bike for my 5-year-old, but he already rides well!

    I can second Adam’s comment; I pulled the training wheels and pedals off my son’s bike, and 2 days later, he’s riding up and down the street. We now regularly take a trip to the local DQ (about a mile away). He pedals his little 12″ for all its worth.

  4. Paul Taylor said

    MomsMichiana just published a nice feature article called “The ABCs of bicycle riding with kids”. Check it out at http://www.momsmichiana.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090623/PARENTING/906239971/-1/parenting

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