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Old 06-04-14, 01:03 PM   #1
tjspiel
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MYTs: A side benefit of bike commuting friendly cities

MYTs: "Mobile Young Teens".

When our kids were younger they seemed perfectly content to hang around the neighborhood all summer. Since about 12 my son usually only wants to be around his friends from school, - or he'd play video games all day if we let him. Keeping kids this age occupied can be a challenge during summer vacation. They're too young to have regular jobs and also too young to drive.

But having friends more than a few blocks away hasn't been a problem so far this summer (he's been off a week). He's gotten together with groups of 3 or 4 on their bikes and sometimes up to seven. They'll get ice cream, swim in the creek, ride to the Falls, to the lake, or to somebody's house.

Do I worry a little bit? Yeah, sometimes. And he's going to have to figure out how to earn more money than mowing the neighbor's lawn pays if he wants to be buying lunch and snacks on the go all the time. But it's nice to see the budding independence that biking has given he and his friends.

It's also nice to see some dust gathering on the X-box.
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Old 06-04-14, 01:09 PM   #2
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Great post. My kids are grown up and moved out, but that's what their lives were like - bicycle, hiking, skateboard adventures with their respective "herd" of friends. I miss watching them learn independence. (However, we have 4 grandkids to watch now . . . )
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Old 06-04-14, 01:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
Great post. My kids are grown up and moved out, but that's what their lives were like - bicycle, hiking, skateboard adventures with their respective "herd" of friends. I miss watching them learn independence. (However, we have 4 grandkids to watch now . . . )
I really haven't spent much energy actively advocating for more and better cycling infrastructure but I can really see this being a selling point even for people who don't (or can't) bicycle commute themselves.

So many people complain about having to drive their kids all over the place. What if they didn't? What if the older kids at least could get where they wanted to be without mom or dad having to drive them, and do so safely?
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Old 06-04-14, 02:14 PM   #4
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Nice! I wasn't allowed to bike over to the commercial area as a kid (busy street). Then we moved, and well you couldn't bike anywhere. But we did bike over to our friends house (that was already a mile) and over to the pool!

Sounds like an awesome summer to me. That unaccompanied time is really critical to kids growth and development!
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Old 06-04-14, 08:36 PM   #5
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Great post. Kids in The Netherlands begin riding to school by themselves when they're about 7 or 8 and by 9 are independently mobile around town. This is about 100% of kids everywhere except Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague where it's a bit lower. And slightly lower in Utrecht. Not surprisingly there are no school buses in The Netherlands. All field trips are done by bike as well.

You should check out Free Range Kids
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