Risky Business

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15 Responses

  1. Sylvia Vultee says:

    How about a Tandem bike, maybe even a BikeFriday Family Tandem. They use smaller wheels so can accommodate smaller riders. At one time BikeFriday even made a Tandem that would take three riders, two adults and a child.



    • Diana says:

      I’m hoping to get a helios triplet at some point. It’s just frustrating not to feel like the roads are safe enough for children

      • Sylvia Vultee says:

        I understand. There are some roads near me that I wouldn’t even ride let alone let a child ride.

  2. Lizzie says:

    Well, I haven’t got an option C and I don’t know exactly what the roads around you are like, but it seems to me that you’ll have to be the judge of which roads are safe for him. Take him on the quieter roads and bike paths to get confidence in riding, and let him start to learn about cars and bikes. Maybe the sooner he gets out there and learns, the better.

    We live in the countryside, and your post reminded me of my youngest (now 26….) son’s first visit to school 2 miles away- on his little old bike that had been passed on to him. I didn’t let him ride down a local very steep hill (we walked it) and we only rode one way as I picked him up later, but it’s a very special memory to me, of that little boy cycling all the way to school at only just 5 years old.

  3. Chris M says:

    I think most drivers are a lot more forgiving of kids & give them more space &/or stop -assuming they see them. Try on a very quiet road first with parked car to teach them to look behind before they pull out. Having taught P6 kids how to cycle on roads that is the worst thing they do, pull out without looking. Also I’ve read that you should cycle in front so that if you feel it’s getting too dangerous you can stop & they will stop behind you although naturally you feel like you’re protecting them more from behind.

  4. David says:

    I have a son who is 5 and is very confident on a bike he took up pedalling when he was 3, we ride on the roads in our village. He always rides in front and is in high vis. I live in a rural area where quite a lots of the roads don’t have pavements and the roads are quiet, very quiet so I am comfortable with him riding. My experience of other road users is that when they see him as a small child they slow right down and pass at a crawl, this is usually across the board too either direction, but our roads are country lanes so no white line down the middle. If I am out on my own I have experienced all the usual cyclist / motorist problems that you mention above on the same roads. I cannot think of An option C but thought my experience may give some some insight.

  5. Paul Ebrey says:

    I have an option c – kind-of. I have been using it on the roads with my two since the youngest was 3 (she was riding a pedal bike at 2), and still use it now and she is 5. I’ve almost always had the two to supervise, but it works as well (if not better) with 1. Its just positioning yourself in the right place.
    First of all, if there is a pavement, let him ride on it. Sounds obvious I know, but… Then simply ride next to him on the road. Cars will have to go around you, and as long as you stick next to him (him on the pavement, you on the road), then it gives him a much bigger safe area (in which to crash, fall off etc without getting run over). With my two, I have then ride one in front of the other, with me along side, The strongest rider it the rear of the two, so the weakest sets the pace.
    Where there is no pavement, the same trick works, but generally I change the position a little. So I let them ride one in front of the other, whilst I hang a length back and further out into the road. Again, gives them a little more space.
    I should point out they are still briefed that they must not mess around etc, and they get sergeant major type shouts and commands if they set a pedal in the wrong place, but they understand – “no messing and best riding on the roads. You can try no hands when we get to the woods….”.

    It has worked really well for us over the years, and we have covered thousands of miles together (mostly off-road, but not having an issue when we need to be on them).

    I also agree with the earlier comments that most drivers are very polite and careful, especially with the kids. Just remember to be polite to them too. And if you are riding (technically 2 abreast – perfectly legal btw) on a road where its difficult for cars to pass – pull both of you to the side and let the car past. Takes seconds and prevents Mr angry trying to squeeze past where its not safe.

  6. M says:

    Here in Stockholm we use quiet roads at quiet times. For the smallest ones I suggest you ride behind and on the outside – you can keep an eye on the lil un and instruct them while passing drivers will need to go wide to pass you. If there’s drivers behind pull in and let tgem pass with a friendly smile.

    A little tale – once V had a bit of trouble ceossing a main road. A van behind started to toot. He came up along me to have a word. Then his colleagues in the van behind came up to him to tell him off for tooting at a child. There are a few idiots out there, but they are a few.

    Here in Sthlm we are seeing more kids riding to work leading to more driversbeing aware. It’s not perfect but option A is much better than option B.

  7. Vicky Myers says:

    Since he started school in September, our son (now 5yrs old) cycles there and back on his pedal bike most days. When there are no cycle paths, he cycles on the pavement and I cycle our cargo bike next to him (on the road – with his little brother on board). This seems to work pretty well for us now, however when we started it was quite nerve wracking. Sometimes I ‘run’ with the buggy, staying behind him which also works relatively well. We live in a semi-urban area, so our journey is not without hazards. As time has gone on we have adapted our route and road crossing points to minimise risk. Now we both enjoy the journey – most of the time… Best of all, working out the logistics has bought us closer together and, dare I say, it has been quite fun! Best of luck discovering an option C that works for you

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