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Old 03-17-10, 07:34 AM   #1
Chalupa102
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Riding w/ friend's son tomorrow; what to do?

It looks like i may have been an influence on my friend's son. Usually every Thursdays i help out and pick him up with my car from school because he has afterschool h/w help those days. Then i'll take him to his house and hang out till his mom gets home. Tomorrow he wants us to ride our bicycles back to his house, which i'm all for. His mom is gonna drop off his bike in the morning when she drops him off and i'm gonna meet him at the school when it's time to head to his house.

The only thing is, i'm not exactly sure of his biking capabilities. He is 10 years old and i'm sure he doesn't go much over 10mph, except maybe going downhills. I'm also pretty sure he will want to ride in the crosswalk. The only time i'm ever in the crosswalk is if i'm walking or running and i use the streets for biking.

What should i do? Should i try to encourage him to ride in the street with me instead of the crosswalk? Should i just ride in the road right next to him while he rides in the crosswalk? Or should i just give in and ride in the crosswalk with him? Btw, it's about 1.2 miles from the school to his house and most the crosswalks are on the left side of the road facing traffic on the way there.
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Old 03-17-10, 08:02 AM   #2
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Tough call, but I would ride in the street with him in front and you right behind. Take the least busiest roads possible, even if they are out of the way.

But really, it's up to you. Do whatever is safest.
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Old 03-17-10, 08:44 AM   #3
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Agree, do whatever is safest, it really doesn't matter.
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Old 03-17-10, 08:52 AM   #4
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Does he have a helmet?

If not, in spite of desire, I would stay on the sidewalk.
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Old 03-17-10, 09:05 AM   #5
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All ten-year-olds are different, but in general, I'd shy away from getting them out in traffic. Quiet residential streets, fine, but not on arterials. At least not until you know his capabilities, habits and situational awareness.

A friend's ten-year-old I won't ride with at all, even though I taught him how to ride in the first place. He must have been British in a past life because he always rides to the left. Sidewalk, MUP, street, you name it, the kid can't stay right. I tried and tried before reaching my decision. Until he stays right all the time on his one without being told, I just won't ride with him.
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Old 03-17-10, 09:26 AM   #6
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My son is twelve and when he rides with me I always shadow him. On busy (no cars paking on the road) he rides on the sidewalk and I ride in the streets. On the side streets I ride at about 8 o'clock, slightly behind and to the left. Often we even have a little overlap with my front and his rear wheel. I try to shy away from traffic if at all possible. In my opininon communication is very important, I tell him what to do and when as he is unsure at times. One of the most important things is teaching him about eye contact with drivers at cross streets...if you don't make eye contact assume they can't see you. We have been doing this kind of riding since he was about 10.
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Old 03-17-10, 09:47 AM   #7
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I'd think it also important to talk to his parents. While I agree with the ideas of shadowing and so on, they may have specific instructions for him that they want him to follow. Additionally, depending on their own cycling experience, you may have an opportunity to teach them about why it's proper, and safer to ride in the street. Regardless, I'd strongly encourage you to keep them in the loop. Lots of parents get finikey about their kids and safety.
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Old 03-17-10, 10:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalupa102 View Post
The only thing is, i'm not exactly sure of his biking capabilities. He is 10 years old and i'm sure he doesn't go much over 10mph, except maybe going downhills.
If you havn't ridden with him before, I wouldn't bet on anything.

Riding with my 9 year old grandson, I decided it would be better to follow him and let him set the pace. I told him to ride as fast as he wanted. He heard me as saying he should ride as fast as he could. I don't have a computer on the bike that I was riding that day but I'm certain we were traveling upward of 15 MPH when he veered to his left. I swerved to miss him and the next thing I remember is laying on the Katy Trail with 2 hurt arms.
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Old 03-17-10, 01:17 PM   #9
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Start safe, let him set the pace, and model good behavior. After you do it a couple times, talk about what both of you think worked.

It's not all that different from other n00bs, you just have a little higher level of assumed responsibility and a little lower level of assumed physical capacity.
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Old 03-17-10, 01:24 PM   #10
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Main thing is keep the lad safe. I have a neighbours son that I started riding with 3 years ago. I arranged a neighbourhood bike ride and got the kids and parents out for a 5 mile ride to a cafe up a MUP and then 5 mile back. This lad showed he was safe enough so I then took him out for a 20 miler. Since then he borrows my old bike- that is permanently set up for him- and he joins in on rides with my mates for up to 30 miles.

Main problem is finding out how safe- good- fit the lad is. Keep him on the sidewalk if you can till you are sure of him. Then take him on a MUP or cycle path at the weekend. In 6 months time start adjusting his brakes to bind and only 30 psi in his tyres. That way you will be able to stay with him.
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Old 03-17-10, 03:10 PM   #11
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So it's a first ride with the boy; street skills, especially in traffic, isn't exactly a noob activity, and until YOU KNOW his skill level, he's a noob. Stay off the main drags PERIOD, maybe shadow him on side streets IF he demonstrates some skill.

You're basically "babysitting" with this; hard to be too safe.
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Old 03-18-10, 08:09 AM   #12
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Thanks a lot for all the feedback guys. There's a few things that you guys pointed out that i didn't think of. I'm really hoping he will have a helmet, and would imagine he will especially since he sees me wearing mine all the time. I'll definitely give him a small debrief before we leave to be sure he knows about making eye contact with motorists and such. Like you guys said, i'm pretty much watching out for the safety of 2 riders now and i'll keep good communication with him the whole time.
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Old 03-18-10, 03:44 PM   #13
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Talk with the boy and his parents. I think it would be best to ride behind him, with you being further out from the sidewalk. You can yell advice and watch for traffic coming from behind. He should expect to hear you.
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Old 03-18-10, 05:18 PM   #14
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Lead him out til he can hardly breathe, give him 'the look' and drop him.
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Old 03-18-10, 06:13 PM   #15
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Talk with parent(s) about his riding experience,
Last year our 10 yo son rode 1500 km with us on everything from quiet country lanes to some pretty busy city streets,
including a +700 km trip. We were his shadow. I usually rode about 2 bike lengths behind him and slightly to the left. Always kept in close voice contact and let him know about traffic status. The year before he wiped out crossing a set of railroad tracks, so he was a little fearful of hitting something in the road - every now and then he would swerve to miss a road pock. We also had a couple of pre determined commands - ditch was one. If I yelled ditch, he was to ride immediately ride off the road into shoulder, ditch or what ever what out of the way of traffic. We used that once in Nova Scotia when a dump blew us off the road. Need to keep safe and make it fun. It is his commute - not yours.
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Old 03-19-10, 07:56 PM   #16
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Lead him out til he can hardly breathe, give him 'the look' and drop him.
Thats what i always done with my son.
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Old 03-20-10, 05:35 AM   #17
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The ride went a lot smoother than i expected. We did ride on the sidewalks because it was his mom's wishes. Like expected, we never went over 10mph, averaging about 7mph. He was actually pretty aware of his surroundings and the cars around us.
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Old 03-20-10, 11:36 AM   #18
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10yr olds are really with it, and a lot smarter than we give them credit for.
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Old 03-20-10, 01:19 PM   #19
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Thats what i always done with my son.
You forgot where you get him out of breath and then drop him.... right in front of the house with the mean Rottie? Gotta get his stamina up somehow, right? *ducks and runs*
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