Road Riding Skills for Kids

RidingA few days ago we mentioned that the kids are getting heavy enough that carrying both long distances can be a chore. While the Stokemonkey, is an obvious (though unobtainium) solution, we think we might be on to something else —kid power!

The seven-year-old is getting interested in riding on her own. By this summer, when we don’t have school and more time to get places, I’ll probably experiment with having her ride on her own and just haul the five-year-old on the Xtracycle. She needs to get some miles in before then. She’s pretty timid and not very comfortable with speed just yet.

I’d love any advice anyone can give about teaching kids to ride on the road. For now, she’s on the sidewalk and just getting comfortable with braking, cornering and going a little faster. Does anyone have some tips? Determination is her strong suit and now that she really wants to ride, I think more practice is all she really needs. But I welcome any advice anyone wants to offer.  

 – Anne

5 responses to “Road Riding Skills for Kids

  1. The spokespeople rides are geared toward helping kids and adults get experience riding on the road.

  2. Michael – Thanks for the information about spokespeople – just what we need to get our daughter on the road.

  3. I was never allowed to ride on the sidewalk. There weren’t any except in town (over 1 mile away and down a 15% grade hill). And sidewalks in town had *people* on them. So by the time I was old enough to make it to town under my own steam, I knew that you *walk* your bike on a sidewalk.

    So I got taught VC style on *quiet* residential streets starting at about 8. I probably could have started earlier, but prior to that the only roads nearby were inappropriate. 55mph 2 lane highways with passing zones and no shoulders aren’t going to be easy even for an experienced adult. A 25 or 35 mph street with very little traffic is easy for a kid, especially if it’s a dead end.

  4. Great blog… We are car free in St Louis… My son Owen (8 years old) commutes via bike and rapid transit with his mom each day to school and back.. He puts in about 35-50 miles a week of riding on his own.

    The kids will adapt fast… they just need a good bike. The best 20″ kids bike ever made is a Marin Hidden Canyon. Owen’s is outfitted with full fenders for wet spring commutes.

    keep on riding.


  5. Great post! I have lots of these questions as well. Both our kids (7 and 4) ride on their own, and we’re lucky that they’re really comfortable and capable riders by now. Problem is – they’re short!! Not to mention young. I just don’t feel comfortable with them on busy or narrow roads.
    Our current compromise is they ride on the sidewalk in those situations – if the road is just narrow I ride alongside on the street, and if it’s busy I ride with them on the sidewalk. I know that’s not recommended, but we all ride with a strict pedestrian right-of-way rule, so we pull over and stop as necessary.
    It’s a tricky situation, though, until they’re mature/big enough to ride on roads. I’ll have to look for a ‘spokespeople’ type option here in the SF area.
    Thanks for your terrific site!

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