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Thread: Questions about children and bikes

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by americancyclo View Post
    I think it's a little unfair to pin the family biking challenges on the local shops. From what I know, they operate on pretty slim margins and it's not going to fall to the bike shop owners to lead the family biking movement. They of course play a role, but I would think that there needs to be the demand from their customers before your local shop that stocks road and mountain bikes is going to start carrying $5,000 e-assist box bikes.

    What do local shops like Bikenetic, Daily Rider, and Proteus have to say about how they've served their customers that need gear that is beyond the standard QBP stock?
    I didn't read it as a blame thing, it's just a fact. It is almost impossible to compare a variety of bicycles because every dealer stocks only particular brands, a selection of models within those brands, and a subset of sizes for those models. That's for regular bikes--it's even harder for bikes that aren't volume leaders. I don't see that as a solvable problem at the dealer level because there's not enough margin. It's something that is somewhat addressed by events at which people bring their bikes and other people look at them, but that isn't a very scalable or comprehensive approach. Bike shows are a possible approach, but getting people to them is hard.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subby View Post
    I regret not getting them out earlier (beyond the basic "teach them how to ride without training wheels"), but the hidden advantage is that they could immediately go on longer, more challenging rides with me, which in turn meant going cooler places.
    My twins were 5 last summer, and upgraded from 16" bikes that weighed a ton to nice Al framed 20" bikes. After some local riding to build confidence we hit the MUPs. After a couple of tries it was clear that the combination of fast traffic and occasionally chaotic pedestrian behaviour undermined their confidence. We then tried the C & O towpath, which they loved. After a couple of 5 - 7 mile rides they wanted to go for a BIG ride. We set out from Carderrock and rode west on a hot summers day with plenty of water, lunch, and good trail snacks. We rode 19.1 miles out and return, and the twins flat out loved the adventure. Don't underestimate what younger kids can do. I did, but that ride proved me wrong. Of course they also wanted the Strava page to show and tell at school, and always check that I have my Garmin when we ride (!!).
    They are dying to do some bigger rides this summer summer now that they they are six.
    We were out on the C & O a few weeks back but it was way too soft in parts for a a long ride. They loved the mud though

    Last edited by APKhaos; 04-07-2015 at 02:10 PM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathankrall View Post
    Thanks for replies so far. The way my article is shaping up, one of the themes is the idea that available gear (in shops) and facilities (on roads) is barely adequate for adults, much less families.
    I am intrigued, and skeptical. Especially on the gear front. Sure, I love my longtail that I had to cross the river to buy (thanks, Daily Rider). But most families do fine tooling around with old-school gear like rack-mounted child seats and cheap trailers. Just because $2000+ cargo bikes are better doesn't mean that your average LBS or Target can't get you an "adequate" rig to "get kids on bikes." Bike, helmet, lock, lights, and maybe some basic rain gear (not cycling--specific!) if you want to ride more frequently, that's all you need. There's a parent at my elementary school who carts his 1st grader to school on a basic aluminum rear rack. Often I wonder if I should chastise him for not using something "proper". You know, like a $600 Xtracycle "family" kit that the LBS doesn't keep in stock. But my aluminum rack is rated for 50 kg, and his kid's not half that heavy. What he's doing meets the standards of many other parts of the world. So why am I anxious about his behavior on well-patched NoVA roads?

    Facilities: the other day some local tweep ragged on an official of some national DOT organization for daring to say that the pavement was fine and that accidents involving, and let me use today's orthodox wording, collisions involving people driving autos and people walking or riding bicycles are caused by human behavior. I love a protected bike lane as much as anyone else, and detest the local tendency to create door-zone bike lanes. But that official is every bit as right as he is wrong. Cars, guns, and chainsaws don't kill people -- people using those devices do. I hope you won't go out there and reinforce the SUV parents' fears that we need to spend hundreds of millions of $ developing better "facilities" before the helicopter kids of the 21st century can have even a hint of the free range childhood that many of us enjoyed Way Back When, pre-sharrows, pre-bike-lanes, pre-blinkies.

    Sending the kid off on a bike is no different than sending the teenager off in a car -- as the child's skills increase, the child's range of options will grow. Around here I've been generally pretty pleased with behavior of people driving autos. Whether I have my 4yo on the back of the longtail or my 7yo riding solo in my wake, people driving cars around my part of NoVA seem supportive and cautiously deferential to us. Neighbor and public safety behavior is something else. Subby's 12yos can bike to the comic store, but can my 7yo bike 3 blocks of quiet neighborhood streets to the playground without somebody calling CPS on us?

    Gear and facilities are "barely adequate for adults"? I'm having trouble imagining what your definition of "adequate" is. I suspect the problem is your phrase "get kids on bikes" -- to me it sounds more like you're judging the current gear & facilities with regard to going car-free. That's when you might need the gear that some of us on this thread have invested in, and when you desire better facilities (IMO mainly better parking, though I'd also like to see Duke St completely redesigned).

    Nah, it's not a question of gear and facilities -- behavior, and more precisely, fear of behavior, is the biggest impediment to getting more kids on bikes. You seem to fear that without a wall of jersey barriers my kids are gonna get plowed down like Tom Palermo. I fear that nosy worry-wart neighbors will sic the cops on us if they see the kids venture off our block. Your fears can largely be addressed if you throw enough money at engineering more margin of error (and, more importantly, thereby decrease fear of behavior). But that doesn't mean that physical gear & facilities "improvements" are required to get kids on bikes.

  4. #14
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    Default Fairfax County input

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathankrall View Post
    This month I'm writing about children, bikes, Kidical Mass, and bike to school day. I'd like to hear stories from parents about these. We all know the logical reasons to get kids on bikes, but I'd like to know what gets people to actually do it?

    Jonathan Krall
    http://www.alexandrianews.org/catego...ortation-talk/
    Jonathan

    What do you need to know? Since 2009 I've been leading the charge in Fairfax County to get more kids to bike to school. I can share what FC schools have done and how it's been furthered in some communities. Far too much info to write an email. I have personally not tried to get a KidicalMass ride in my area as I tend not to do those kinds of rides -- for no real good reason......but hoped biking to school encourages others to simply ride their bike more.

    Our school has been on Nickelodeon, NPR, Salud America, Washington Post, Fairfax Times, Bicycling Magazine, Patch, Nike......

    Jeff Anderson

  5. #15
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    "What do you need to know?"

    First, great to hear about your proactive work in Fairfax. I have good info from this thread already, but would be happy to read more. The main thing I need to know is this: what do you want the public to know about family bicycling?

    Also, because I am writing for alexandrianews.org, I still need to hear from Alexandria folk. I am seeking them out through other channels.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathankrall View Post
    "What do you need to know?"

    First, great to hear about your proactive work in Fairfax. I have good info from this thread already, but would be happy to read more. The main thing I need to know is this: what do you want the public to know about family bicycling?

    Also, because I am writing for alexandrianews.org, I still need to hear from Alexandria folk. I am seeking them out through other channels.
    Oops! I just realized I already had some Alexandria input in this thread. Thanks!

  7. #17
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    Default follow up

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathankrall View Post
    "What do you need to know?"

    First, great to hear about your proactive work in Fairfax. I have good info from this thread already, but would be happy to read more. The main thing I need to know is this: what do you want the public to know about family bicycling?

    Also, because I am writing for alexandrianews.org, I still need to hear from Alexandria folk. I am seeking them out through other channels.
    Well.....if you want to chat you know how to reach me. Can't help as I live in Vienna.

    I suggest you reach out to Trails for Youth re: SRTS in ACPS and the work they did there for 3-4 years.

    Family biking: I think riding to school can be a catalyst .

  8. #18
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    Thanks to all for comments on this. I've got a draft written. If folks want to be quoted using their real names, please drop me a private message. Ill post a link when it comes out.

  9. #19
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    Default Here is the article

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathankrall View Post
    Thanks to all for comments on this. I've got a draft written. If folks want to be quoted using their real names, please drop me a private message. Ill post a link when it comes out.
    As advertised, I here is a URL to the article. Thanks to all for comments, stories and other input.
    http://www.alexandrianews.org/family...rents-less-so/
    Also here:
    http://www.thewashcycle.com/2015/04/...s-less-so.html

  10. #20
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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathankrall View Post
    As advertised, I here is a URL to the article. Thanks to all for comments, stories and other input.
    http://www.alexandrianews.org/family...rents-less-so/
    Also here:
    http://www.thewashcycle.com/2015/04/...s-less-so.html
    Thanks! This is great!!

  11. 04-22-2015, 11:42 PM

    5000+ Posts? The first step to beating addiction is admitting you have one.


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