More Than Pedaling

We had our first all-family ride of 2013 this weekend. With the big kids riding their own bikes now, it's an all new setup. I'm still riding the Xtra with a three-year-old on back while pulling a trailer with the baby in it. But the big ones are powering their own wheels.

It's an interesting thing to ride with children on their own bikes. We've got a lot to teach them. They get easily distracted and weave in and out of the group quite a bit. It was a lot of drama trying to get them to focus and stay straight the whole time. I remembered similar issues when we've done larger Bike Lexington events where they close down the streets. Kids ride bikes erratically, with nothing in mind but fun (which I love). But in a group, they can become a little dangerous. Angie and I had to really keep an eye on them and our hands on our own brakes for every minute.
Our child-hauling cargo options still work for ventures outside the neighborhood. We'll just put two kids on the Xtracycle, one in the trailer and one on a trail-a-bike with Angie. But I'd love to teach them some rules of the road while cruising around on safer streets.

Anyone got any tips for teaching kids bike riding etiquette? There's about a half mile stretch of road that we have to ride to get anywhere outside of our neighborhood. The speed limit is 35mph with plenty of shoulder, but I wouldn't risk it... not after this weekend's demonstration. They'd be all over the place.

Some rules we talked about:

  • stay behind dad but in front of mom
  • stay as far right as possible
  • watch the person in front of you and be ready to brake if they stop
  • don't stop for no reason
  • drive straight, no swerving for fun (even though it is fun)
  • if you have to stop, pull off to the right
All of that stuff kept coming up... which is a lot for a six year old boy's brain to think about (especially when you're distracted by the awesomeness of riding a bike. I'd also not that the girl did way better than the boy! He was too interested on the fun side of things).

We'll keep working at it until things get a little better. But they may be bike passengers instead of pilots for another season or two if we're leaving the neighborhood.

Get out there.


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  2. My only suggestion is to make sure they know there is a time and place for structured riding, as well as a time and place for free-form riding. In other words, it doesn't always need to be about rules.

    1. Amen! That's why I'm struggling to get the point across!

    2. I've had my kids on the road to the park. They know not to weave because it's already scary enough to bike on the surface streets of San Francisco.

    3. Maybe they just need a good scare :)