Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

So with spring time quickly approaching I am now in the process of planning some weekend getaways with my girlfriend and son. I want to plan it out so we can get some cycling in during the weekend trips to where ever. My son is 4 years old and...well... has the attention span of a 4 year old. I would plan something that has rail trails or similar near by as to not expose him to roads just yet. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep him focused on a ride and not want to turn around after 1/2 miles? He loves riding his bike but like I said he is 4. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
697 Posts
At that age kids get tired very fast. I would not take a kid out on a ride that young unless the child is in a second seat on your bike. I see abandoned child bikes on bike trails and it is often due to a very young child running out of gas and the parents have to return later to pick up their bikes. The rail trails are great, anything that has no vehicles around. Put the kid in a seat if you must take a child.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
When my son was that young, I used something called a "trail a bike" and connected it to my mtb. These can usually be found on craig's list pretty cheap come spring. We have a tow path along a canal around here that I used to take him too. He loved it and because you are basically doing the pedaling for both of you, he never gets tired. I would go for an hour or 2 and never had a problem because he just loved it. I would think that it probably would depend on the child though, but mine is/was very active and loved activities like this. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
My youngest son is about 5 1/2. Last summer when he just turned 5 he was very comfortable without training wheels on a 16 inch bike and we were able to regularly ride about 12 miles on the roads along with my older son. Of course we would ride in residential areas through a course I'd planned out leading to a preserve lake and back. I don't think distance is an issue if you work up to it. I would start with short rides until your son becomes more and more comfortable. Also everyone is different, my son loves the challenge and wants to go further, he would stand in the hills and headwind and take it as a challenge. There were times when a hill would tire him out and I'd have to ride parallel to him and pull him along up hill by the handle bar but we never had to abandon a ride. It's all about their state of mind, if they become scared or cranky, or too tired without you being able to help, you may have a problem getting them back. I just bought my son a new specialized hot rocks 20 6 speed because he loves riding so much. His first ride he took to the gears and hand breaks pretty quick. The best advise I can give you is to work him up to it slowly allowing him to build up his confidence and enjoyment of riding before going out on your trip rides. Then once you go on your trip rides riding a decent distance will be second nature and enjoyable for him. But if you just take him on a trip ride without a some prep, there's no amount of talking with him during your ride that will make him feel comfortable enough to ride a longer distance if he doesn't want to.

BTW, we don't hit the trails that much because I think at that age there's too much risk of getting hit by some yahoo flying through. This summer we may try to find some less populated trails and see how that works out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,424 Posts
Mega emphasis to those who warn you to NEVER over tire a kid on any activity whether it be skiing, walking/hiking, biking etc. It can take forever to get them over associating the activity with being unhappy or feeling poor physically. Your one and only goal is to be smart enough to make it pure fun for your kid. Nothing else, ever. It's much, much better to quit before the kid is ready to quit than to quit even 5 minutes too late.

I also agree totally that you should get a trail-a-bike type thing. My kids loved it. They actually ride, but can coast and just gawk and talk to you. My kids actually liked it when I would call out "ok buddy kick it in.... help dad up the hill" and they would have fun "helping" me get up the hill (and later, would actually be of help!). Other than that I never encouraged them to pedal, left it completely up to them. (Just fwiw, used the same strategies - easy, fun, etc.) getting them into XC skiing and hiking)

But again, be sure to think ahead and keep it fun and don't over do it. I have so many really fond memories of summer evening rides to the playground and/or to the ice cream shop and back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,100 Posts
I also agree totally that you should get a trail-a-bike type thing.
I didn't like any of the trailers or trail-a-bikes that we tried simply because my kids were behind me. That's where a bakfiets works well (or a seat on the top tube) since it puts them where you can more easily carry on a conversation without ever taking your eyes off where you're going. Not an inexpensive option though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone on the replies. I have thought of the trail a bike simply because my girlfriend can ride a little bit behind and talk to him and so on. I will definitely look into the bakfiets as well. I am trying to get him into the "healthy" way of life before he gets turned on to games and whatnot. He has already been asking about some childrens game called Skylanders for the xbox which I dont mind him playing but I would definitely rather see him outside cycling or other activities. I grew up being overweight and all about gaming and would rather not see him like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,100 Posts
I am trying to get him into the "healthy" way of life before he gets turned on to games and whatnot.
Very Cool! A few quick thoughts; Make outside stuff enjoyable - as soon as it's a chore or not fun they'll write it off. Set game/computer/tv expectations early - Total for all of them for our kids was 8 hrs per week (yes, they had to learn to manage time distribution themselves). Exception for purely study time on computer. They buy their own videos, games, music, etc.

Listen to what they enjoy and do with them - every kid is different. I know twins; one a huge football and other sports guy and the other is fishing and violin. DON'T SPOIL THEM - it's a never ending cycle otherwise. Get with other parents and agree on some similar values - this is all a lot easier when they can't scream that Bobby's parents let him play video games 8 hours each day (though they also will need to learn that every family is different and some are simply better parents and don't let their kids play video games all day :)

As they grow, treat them like the young adults they are, not as pre-adolescents, adolescents, or post adolescents.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,812 Posts
I enjoyed gaming when I was young too. The games back then were different though...like Atari, ColecoVision, and eventually Nintendo and Sega. But, I was also very active - more active than playing video games. My little dude is 5 and from my life I've learned that the name of the game is who his friends are. If they are an active bunch, he'll be too. So Ms. BostonG and I restrict TV and video games to reasonable amounts of time (mostly a movie or somethig on weekends). And although he loves anythign having to do with a screen, he's also very naturally an outdoor kid so it doesn't take much to get him outside. Enroll your kid in a team sport he likes.

Anywhoo, I have a trail a bike (got it on Cragislist) and it's been great. I used it a few times with the boy last year - all on MUP's and plan to use it more when it warms up. He never really much liked riding his own bike but the trail a bike is a blast for him. My local MUP has a bunch of stuff on it though (park's with sprinklers, regualr parks, ice cream place, boating, etc.) so we ride for a few miles and stop somewhere to have a snack or rest or play. A 10 mile ride can take the whole day. It's a totally worthwhile day. Taking most kids that age out on their own bike will just be frustrating, it'll suck big time.

I see my boy developing and sadly, he's never been into bike's (yet). He loves his scooter like I love my bike and he likes to run, and he absolutely loves swimming (and is very good at it for his age). So I am over grieving and moved on to support for him and joy at seeing him do what he really enjoys. I give him a choice but am not pushing him to ride his bike (he'll choose the scooter every time) but he does enjoy a ride with his papa on the trail a bike so all hope is not lost! To be honest though, I like to watch him swim a lot more than watching him ride his bike. The only reason I want him to ride is a selfish one - because I want to ride and want to ride with him as he gets older. But, I am shifting my mind and deciding that I can and will take up whatever sport he enjoys so I can participate in it with him as he trains/practices - for as long as he'll let me anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
My daughter just turned 5. When she became old/big enough to get out of the trailer we picked up one of these: Weehoo iGo Pro Trailer Bike at REI.com it's got a 5 point harness and velcro straps for their feet. This allows them to fall completely asleep without you having to worry about them falling off. Side benefit is that it's heavy as hell which means you're going to get a great workout. We've now moved on to the trail a bike but this was a nice transition between the trailer and trail a bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,815 Posts
We never really liked or had good luck with the trail-a-bike, but the trailer was great when they were really small. By 5 or 6, you should be able to do some longer casual rides--5-10 miles. My youngest did her first 40 when she was 7. She's 12 now, put in 1000 miles last year and races juniors in cyclocross and road. She's our biggest cycling fan and didn't get burned out by going on longer rides.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,812 Posts
We never really liked or had good luck with the trail-a-bike, but the trailer was great when they were really small. By 5 or 6, you should be able to do some longer casual rides--5-10 miles. My youngest did her first 40 when she was 7. She's 12 now, put in 1000 miles last year and races juniors in cyclocross and road. She's our biggest cycling fan and didn't get burned out by going on longer rides.
Come on dude, are you for reelz? 40 miles (or even 40k) at 7yrs?! On her own bike? I can't get over that. There are plenty of very grown men and women who can't go 10 miles (albeit out of shape men and women but still).

I must say, I think it unrealistic to expect the vast majority (and I do mean vast) of 5 yr olds to be able to ride 10 miles. Many of them haven't even taken off their training wheels. I must be living on a different planet. But hey, I have no reason to doubt I guess - it's just that your daughters cycling abilities seem super high compared to regular kids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
A 5 year old that has never been on a bike or rides very rarely, yes will have a hard time with 10 miles. But if he rides pretty regularly especially with siblings, 10 miles is nothing. Like I said my 5 year old was doing 12 last summer no problems.


Come on dude, are you for reelz? 40 miles (or even 40k) at 7yrs?! On her own bike? I can't get over that. There are plenty of very grown men and women who can't go 10 miles (albeit out of shape men and women but still).

I must say, I think it unrealistic to expect the vast majority (and I do mean vast) of 5 yr olds to be able to ride 10 miles. Many of them haven't even taken off their training wheels. I must be living on a different planet. But hey, I have no reason to doubt I guess - it's just that your daughters cycling abilities seem super high compared to regular kids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey guys thatnks for all the responses. I ended up going for a trail a bike. Got it on craigslist for $60 as a surprise for my son. Unfortunately we are supposed to be getting another foot of snow here in Massachusetts so it will be in the garage for a little bit longer but I cant wait to get him on it.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,815 Posts
Kids are crazy tough and energetic. I agree, you wouldn't want to start with a 40 (or even 10) mile ride, but if they ride a lot they will have no issue with the distance. My daughter didn't inherit any superhuman racing genes (good thing... or I would be pretty suspicious where those came from).

Here's a pic from that first long ride several years ago, vs the Rapha Northwest junior race last summer:
View attachment 277510 View attachment 277511
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,812 Posts
Marvin and Robert, that's really awesome your kids can ride that far. Mine would rather do something other than ride so yeah, he hardly gets out on his bike at all.

Marvin, you have a beautiful little girl, you should be proud. She looks so happy (and cool) on her road bike.

Chudson, another guy on this site and I are planning to get together with our kids and do a kids ride this season. I'll PM you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
I've done a few 20 mile rides with my youngest son last year. He was 5 last year. You have to take you time and make sure you have plenty of snax and water for them. But they do it and have a good time. My other kids are 8 and 10, with the older one faster 30 mile rides are possible. We have done the Sparta-Elroy trail with them a couple of years ago on trail-bikes. Hope to do the whole trail with them on their own bikes this year.

View attachment 277525
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top