Re: Bicycle at what age?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Claire Petersky, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. Jeanne Clelland <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > What's a good age to get a real bike (with training wheels)? My son is
    > almost 4, and I'm thinking of getting him a bike for his birthday. My
    > main concern is that we live on a hill with a fair bit of traffic, so we
    > don't have a great place for him to practice riding without going
    > somewhere else.


    Another possibility is to get a trail-a-bike or similar contraption
    (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/trailrcy.html) and go riding
    together. Using a trailercycle gives a kid a shorter set of list of
    things to deal with -- s/he only has to hang on, and optionally pedal.
    Other things, like balancing, and negotiating traffic are then largely
    up to the adult captain. This is an excellent intermediate step
    between tricycling in the driveway, and riding a bike on the street.
    You are also modeling for the kid how to handle yourself sensibly on
    the road.

    If you weren't in Colorado but around here, I'd sell you our old
    Trail-a-bike. Both of my kids have now graduated to tandems. We're
    looking at doing Pedal the Pinchot (http://www.pedalthepinchot.com/)
    as a family -- that's going to be lots of fun.

    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky

    Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm
    See the books I've set free at:
    http://bookcrossing.com/referral/Cpetersky
     
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  2. Jeanne Clelland writes:

    > What's a good age to get a real bike (with training wheels)? My son
    > is almost 4, and I'm thinking of getting him a bike for his
    > birthday. My main concern is that we live on a hill with a fair bit
    > of traffic, so we don't have a great place for him to practice
    > riding without going somewhere else.


    Let him ride a tricycle until he's 5 and then get a bicycle that fits.
    Children learn rapidly without training wheels if you take the time
    and do not offer any doubt that they can do it. Training wheels make
    an unstable tricycle of any bicycle and leave the child riding on a
    tilt to one side. It does not teach bicycling. The same people who
    find conventional tricycles dangerous because they can fall over in a
    turn also believe training wheels are useful.

    Jobst Brandt
    [email protected]
     
  3. Piggybacking - apologies...

    >Jeanne Clelland writes:
    >
    >> What's a good age to get a real bike (with training wheels)? My son
    >> is almost 4, and I'm thinking of getting him a bike for his
    >> birthday. My main concern is that we live on a hill with a fair bit
    >> of traffic, so we don't have a great place for him to practice
    >> riding without going somewhere else.


    How about one of these?

    http://kinetics.org.uk/html/like-a-bike.shtml

    Cheers, helen s


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  4. Pete

    Pete Guest

  5. [email protected]omcom wrote:

    > Piggybacking - apologies...
    >
    >> Jeanne Clelland writes:
    >>
    >>> What's a good age to get a real bike (with training wheels)? My son
    >>> is almost 4, and I'm thinking of getting him a bike for his
    >>> birthday. My main concern is that we live on a hill with a fair bit
    >>> of traffic, so we don't have a great place for him to practice
    >>> riding without going somewhere else.

    >
    > How about one of these?
    >
    > http://kinetics.org.uk/html/like-a-bike.shtml


    Why not just remove the pedals from a regular bike, and lower the saddle
    enough that the child can scoot on the ground? Then you don't need to buy
    a whole new bicycle when they're ready for it -- which may be the same day!

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    Seeing is deceiving. It's eating that's believing.
    -- James Thurber
     
  6. Benjamin Lewis writes:

    > Why not just remove the pedals from a regular bike, and lower the
    > saddle enough that the child can scoot on the ground? Then you
    > don't need to buy a whole new bicycle when they're ready for it --
    > which may be the same day!


    What's with the removing pedals. Dumbing down your child is not a
    good parenting technique. Unless the first years have been extremely
    sheltered, children naturally aspire to what others, children and
    adults do. By taking off pedals, the condescension begins and is a
    symptom of something deeper that I would not want my children to grow
    up under. I suspect some parents don't see the benefits of stubbed
    toes early in life that teach us what hurts and what not to do.
    Discovering that later in life is a pain, both for the individual and
    associates, literally.

    Jobst Brandt
    jobst.bran[email protected]
     
  7. Badger_South

    Badger_South Guest

    On Fri, 25 Jun 2004 20:32:31 GMT, [email protected] wrote:

    >Benjamin Lewis writes:
    >
    >> Why not just remove the pedals from a regular bike, and lower the
    >> saddle enough that the child can scoot on the ground? Then you
    >> don't need to buy a whole new bicycle when they're ready for it --
    >> which may be the same day!

    >
    >What's with the removing pedals. Dumbing down your child is not a
    >good parenting technique. Unless the first years have been extremely
    >sheltered, children naturally aspire to what others, children and
    >adults do. By taking off pedals, the condescension begins and is a
    >symptom of something deeper that I would not want my children to grow
    >up under. I suspect some parents don't see the benefits of stubbed
    >toes early in life that teach us what hurts and what not to do.
    >Discovering that later in life is a pain, both for the individual and
    >associates, literally.
    >
    >Jobst Brandt
    >[email protected]


    One of my fondest memories as a child was the struggle and challenge and my
    persistence in learning to ride my bike on my own without the training
    wheels. I still remember it like it was yesterday. ;-)

    Having said that, like many parents I try to remove struggle and obstacle
    from my child's experience, and it's probably not a good thing.

    We are who we are because of our struggles and triumphs, so the best a
    parent can to is help to channel the frustration and brief anger into a
    positive result, or better yet, stand back and let it happen naturally.

    2 cents...

    -B
     
  8. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Jobst Brandt wrote:

    > Benjamin Lewis writes:
    >
    > > Why not just remove the pedals from a regular bike, and lower the
    > > saddle enough that the child can scoot on the ground? Then you
    > > don't need to buy a whole new bicycle when they're ready for it --
    > > which may be the same day!

    >
    > What's with the removing pedals.


    It's an excellent way for a young child to learn how to balance a
    bicycle. There's nothing dumb about it.

    <rambling rant snipped>
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://bike.terrymorse.com/
     
  9. jobst brandt wrote:

    > Benjamin Lewis writes:
    >
    >> Why not just remove the pedals from a regular bike, and lower the
    >> saddle enough that the child can scoot on the ground? Then you
    >> don't need to buy a whole new bicycle when they're ready for it --
    >> which may be the same day!

    >
    > What's with the removing pedals. Dumbing down your child is not a
    > good parenting technique. Unless the first years have been extremely
    > sheltered, children naturally aspire to what others, children and
    > adults do. By taking off pedals, the condescension begins and is a
    > symptom of something deeper that I would not want my children to grow
    > up under. I suspect some parents don't see the benefits of stubbed
    > toes early in life that teach us what hurts and what not to do.
    > Discovering that later in life is a pain, both for the individual and
    > associates, literally.


    Maybe, but I'm not really convinced that this is a case of condescension,
    as "training wheels" undoubtedly are. I think it teaches a useful problem
    solving skill -- to break up daunting tasks into smaller components which
    may be tackled individually. I still do this when I'm learning new things,
    so I don't see why it's condescending to teach a child to do the same. I
    see no shame in learning to balance and steer before learning to pedal.
    There will still be plenty of opportunities for stubbed toes.

    --
    Benjamin Lewis

    Seeing is deceiving. It's eating that's believing.
    -- James Thurber
     
  10. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] writes:
    > Jeanne Clelland writes:
    >
    >> What's a good age to get a real bike (with training wheels)? My son
    >> is almost 4, and I'm thinking of getting him a bike for his
    >> birthday. My main concern is that we live on a hill with a fair bit
    >> of traffic, so we don't have a great place for him to practice
    >> riding without going somewhere else.

    >
    > Let him ride a tricycle until he's 5 and then get a bicycle that fits.


    Maybe it would be best to not even think about getting the kid
    a bicycle until he expresses an interest. He would likely
    become interested when he finds that several of his friends
    and associates ride. Kids' peer networks can be an invaluable
    source of cycling education for the youngsters, because they
    disseminate among themselves what they've learned from their
    older cycling mentors. And they also learn what's cool (and
    what isn't), which is part of the fun. That's how I remember
    it, anyway.

    Introducing children to cycling as a solitary experience sounds
    rather bleak and lonely. I think they'd derive much more value,
    satisfaction and fun when they electively join the ranks of
    their cycling friends.

    Rather than using a child's age as an indicator of when they
    should or could start riding a bicycle, I'd suggest a better
    indicator might be when the child is expanding his or her
    social horizons among the other neighbourhood kids. That also
    gives them places to ride to, as well as others to ride with.

    Of course, all this still leaves Jeanne Clelland's concerns
    about her local hill and traffic unaddressed. Off the top
    of my head, the only suggestion I can think of is moving to
    a more bicycle-friendly (and thereby, child-friendly) area.
    Or, just hope the kid doesn't want to ride.


    cheers,
    Tom

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  11. In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] (Claire Petersky) wrote:

    > Another possibility is to get a trail-a-bike or similar contraption
    > (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/trailrcy.html) and go riding
    > together. Using a trailercycle gives a kid a shorter set of list of
    > things to deal with -- s/he only has to hang on, and optionally pedal.
    > Other things, like balancing, and negotiating traffic are then largely
    > up to the adult captain. This is an excellent intermediate step
    > between tricycling in the driveway, and riding a bike on the street.
    > You are also modeling for the kid how to handle yourself sensibly on
    > the road.



    I thought about that - I've seen several around here, and they look
    really cool - but they're SOOO expensive! Maybe I could find a used
    one...


    Jeanne
     
  12. Terry Morse writes:

    >>> Why not just remove the pedals from a regular bike, and lower the
    >>> saddle enough that the child can scoot on the ground? Then you
    >>> don't need to buy a whole new bicycle when they're ready for it --
    >>> which may be the same day!


    >> What's with the removing pedals.


    > It's an excellent way for a young child to learn how to balance a
    > bicycle. There's nothing dumb about it.


    That sounds like the child is unable to chew gum and walk at the same
    time. How do you propose the child will propel such a bicycle? Don't
    tell me it is to inept to pedal. That's what tricycle are for if that
    is a problem. I can still recall when I and my brothers learned to
    ride along with the rest of the children in our neighborhood. It was
    a one day event and that was the end of it. The same was true for my
    children.

    Jobst Brandt
    [email protected]
     
  13. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Jeanne Clelland" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > [email protected] (Claire Petersky) wrote:
    >
    > > Another possibility is to get a trail-a-bike or similar contraption
    > > (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/trailrcy.html) and go riding
    > > together. Using a trailercycle gives a kid a shorter set of list of
    > > things to deal with -- s/he only has to hang on, and optionally pedal.
    > > Other things, like balancing, and negotiating traffic are then largely
    > > up to the adult captain. This is an excellent intermediate step
    > > between tricycling in the driveway, and riding a bike on the street.
    > > You are also modeling for the kid how to handle yourself sensibly on
    > > the road.

    >
    >
    > I thought about that - I've seen several around here, and they look
    > really cool - but they're SOOO expensive! Maybe I could find a used
    > one...


    I thought so too, but in retrospect, it was one of the best purchases I ever
    made. 4 1/2 is about the right starting age. If you do a lot of family riding,
    the trailer-bike (or tandem) is the only way I know of to let everyone ride
    together. My daughter loved ours, rode with me for 5 years, 1,000's of miles,
    and wouldn't let me sell it after she outgrew it last year. A child should
    have their own bike too (I know, more expense), they're really 2 separate
    issues. Used kids bikes are easy to come by, trailer-bikes are much harder, I
    had many people offer to buy mine while we were still riding it, so a lot of
    people seem to be looking to reduce the costs. Looking back at it now, it was
    a very worthwhile investment, if I resold it, it would only be more so.
     
  14. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Jobst Brandt wrote:

    > Terry Morse writes:
    >
    > >> What's with the removing pedals.

    >
    > > It's an excellent way for a young child to learn how to balance a
    > > bicycle. There's nothing dumb about it.

    >
    > That sounds like the child is unable to chew gum and walk at the same
    > time. How do you propose the child will propel such a bicycle?


    Gee, I dunno. His feet, maybe. That's the way bicycles were first
    propelled.

    > Don't
    > tell me it is to inept to pedal. That's what tricycle are for if that
    > is a problem. I can still recall when I and my brothers learned to
    > ride along with the rest of the children in our neighborhood. It was
    > a one day event and that was the end of it. The same was true for my
    > children.


    Well, bully for you and your children. That's the way I learned,
    too, for what it's worth. But I probably could have learned sooner
    with a true "push bike" (no pedals).
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://bike.terrymorse.com/
     
  15. Leo Lichtman

    Leo Lichtman Guest

    The discussion on teaching a child to ride has included some rather strong
    views on the value (or lack thereof) of training wheels. I must say, every
    time I see a little kid struggling with a training wheel setup, I feel sorry
    for him/her. It doesn't really handle like a bike, and I think the odd way
    the bike must feel really interferes with proper riding. This has led me to
    an idea that may solve the problem, and satisfy both sides of the argument,
    as well as the child.

    Suppose the training wheels, instead of being rigidly constructed, contained
    hinges, or pivots, and were supported by a spring/shock absorber type
    diagonal brace. As the kid rides, he/she gets training wheel type support.
    In the early stages of learning, the springs can be adjusted at a stiff
    setting, and this can be backed off gradually as the kid gains learns to
    balance and gains confidence, until, voila, the the wheels are doing
    nothing, and are no longer needed.

    I would build this if I had any small kids, or if I wanted to get rich in
    the bicycle accessory business :), but for now, I would like to know if the
    rest of you think the idea is any good. Maybe it's already been tried.
     
  16. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    "Leo Lichtman" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Suppose the training wheels, instead of being rigidly constructed, contained
    > hinges, or pivots, and were supported by a spring/shock absorber type
    > diagonal brace. As the kid rides, he/she gets training wheel type support.
    > In the early stages of learning, the springs can be adjusted at a stiff
    > setting, and this can be backed off gradually as the kid gains learns to
    > balance and gains confidence, until, voila, the the wheels are doing
    > nothing, and are no longer needed.


    I don't know. I'm wondering if this would just give the kid
    strange sensory inputs as he or she learns to counter-balance
    and steer as the bike leans one way or the other?

    The traditional method of incrementally raising conventional
    training wheels is a lot simpler, and I think a child would
    get more of a feel for /really/ balancing an unencumbered
    bicycle. Conventional training wheels are there to prevent
    the bike from leaning too far over anyway. And fewer moving
    parts means fewer things to break (simplicity means reliability.)

    It's an interesting idea, though. Maybe it could be
    adapted and applied in some other way, like perhaps
    suspension systems for tippier adult tricycle configs.


    cheers,
    Tom

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  17. mark

    mark Guest


    > Jeanne Clelland wrote
    > > What's a good age to get a real bike (with training wheels)? My son is
    > > almost 4, and I'm thinking of getting him a bike for his birthday. My
    > > main concern is that we live on a hill with a fair bit of traffic, so we
    > > don't have a great place for him to practice riding without going
    > > somewhere else.

    I dimly remember being on a bike without training wheels at about age 4, I
    may have had some kind of scooter before that.

    Friends of mine have a 3 yr old who is having an absolute ball on a bike
    with 16" wheels and training wheels- the parents and I agree that the
    training wheels are somewhat of a crutch, but they haven't gotten around to
    taking them off. I've described to them the method suggested on this NG and
    others (pedals off, seat fully lowered, let the kid push off with his feet
    until he learns to balance on two wheels), and I may bring a pedal wrench
    the next time I see them, just to see what happens. If I do, I'll post a
    report on this NG.

    Helen's link to a wooden bicycle is interesting, the bikes look really well
    made and nicely thought out, but GBP125 / US$225 is an awful lot of money
    for a 3 or 4 year old's bike.
    --
    mark
     
  18. Bruce Frech

    Bruce Frech Guest

    Training wheels are for the parents - they need them to feel safe. Kids
    don't need them. If they have the balance to walk & run then they have the
    balance to ride a bike.

    The real question is do they have the perception, comprehension and
    reasoning to understand braking and when to use it. I hear coaster brakes
    (or any brakes controled by the feet) are easier to use by the youngest.
    Anyone have info on this?

    Bruce
     
  19. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Claire Petersky) wrote:
    >Jeanne Clelland <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    >> What's a good age to get a real bike (with training wheels)? My son is
    >> almost 4, and I'm thinking of getting him a bike for his birthday. My
    >> main concern is that we live on a hill with a fair bit of traffic, so we
    >> don't have a great place for him to practice riding without going
    >> somewhere else.


    Depend. My daughter got a bike when she was 5 year. And no training wheels. I
    placed a long rod behind the seat and ran after her learning her how to ride
    the bike. After 1 hour I could let her ride on her own. Today, she is ride the
    bike with much better skill than other girls at the same age.

    So drop the training wheels and let your son learn how to ride the bike as it
    should be ridden. Training wheels are no-no...

    I'm doing the same with my son now, but he seem to need more time to learn how
    to ride the bike. There is so many other things that he want to do when we are
    training, so he need more time to learn how to ride a bike.

    --
    Jørn Dahl-Stamnes
     
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