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  1. #1
    Senior Member NE Tiger's Avatar
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    How Far Can Kids Ride?

    I know that's an awfully generic question, and it depends on the kid. I'd still like to hear opinions.

    We're going on a bike ride Saturday afternoon and taking along my two nephews. It's a rail trail, four miles each way, relatively flat. I'm not worried about the 12 year old he's old enough and a little piece of steel anyway, but the 7 year old hasn't ridden this far, and is still riding a BMX style bike with no gears.

    I originally intended to take just the older kid, but their mother feels like the younger kid can do it too, wouldn't want to be excluded, etc. But she's not exactly an expert cyclist and I don't know how she can gauge what the kid can do. Plus these kids rarely get off their own street on bikes.

    Am I asking for trouble agreeing to this? Will we be miles from our car with a little kid flipping out? Or is what is to me a short distance on a bike probably short enough for them too? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Back in 2007, one of my nephews age 10 rode with me and a cousin on a 50 mile round trip to the beach. He didn't have any trouble.

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    Knew a 9 year old who rode from Oregon to Virginia without any trouble, but there's obviously a lot of individual variation. I expect you'll be able to tell in the first mile or so if the distance is going to be a problem with the 7 year old. Of equal concern is how amenable the 12 year old will be to waiting for his brother. If he's ok with either going slow or going off ahead to the next designated spot and doubling back then I expect things will work out fine.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Speedskater's Avatar
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    The 3 year old rode 2 & 1/2 miles on his first day without training wheels. The 6 year old loses interest at about 7 miles.

  5. #5
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    My 6 year old has 10 flat miles on a single speed many times. The key is to take your time, stop often for water and snacks, and go somewhere fun.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    My 6 year old has 10 flat miles on a single speed many times. The key is to take your time, stop often for water and snacks, and go somewhere fun.
    That would be my take on it. We routinely did 12-20 mile family rides where we let the youngest rider (typically in the 6-8 year old range) set the pace. IIRC there was one youngster that only rode a single speed BMX, most of the others had multi speed bikes. My DD was riding a 5 speed BMX style bike at the time and had no problems, she was one of the 8 year olds.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  7. #7
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
    Back in 2007, one of my nephews age 10 rode with me and a cousin on a 50 mile round trip to the beach. He didn't have any trouble.
    Give him this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Hey-Ride-Bike-.../dp/0962570761
    and see where he stops.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

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    My 7-y-o nephew has done 2 20+ rides this year; one on a 20" bike, the other on his new 24" (measured by wheel, BBS bikes w/ upgrades). Handled them just fine, was a bit slow, that's all.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BigDaddyPete's Avatar
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    My 5 year old rode 11 miles yesterday on his BMX on the local rail trail. YMMV

  10. #10
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    My 9 year old has been going on 8 to 16 mile rides with us all summer.
    Last edited by MRT2; 08-05-10 at 09:00 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    Give him this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Hey-Ride-Bike-.../dp/0962570761
    and see where he stops.
    Not a bad idea. Now at 13 he's into mountain biking. In fact, he rides his Dads' 1990-something GT MTB. My brother passed back in 2002, so I'm helping raise my nephew. I take my other 5 nephews for bike rides too.

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    My 6yo daughter did a 9mi ride on her little bike a week ago. My 8yo son did 34 mi when he was 6 on a box store BMX bike. Granted, it was a flat ride. This Saturday, I'm taking the 8yo on a 34 mi ride. There's a hill in the middle with about 600 ft of gain. It'll be a good time, especially with breakfast in the middle.

    Make sure to bring snacks for the kids at the half way point. They run out pretty quickly and need to refuel.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  13. #13
    Senior Member NE Tiger's Avatar
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    Well, there is ice cream involved at the halfway point.

    Thanks for the replies, I'm not worried now.

  14. #14
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NE Tiger View Post
    Well, there is ice cream involved at the halfway point.

    Thanks for the replies, I'm not worried now.
    With kids, it helps to have a destination. On our longer rides, I usually plan to stop, sometimes for ice cream, sometimes for sandwiches, and last weekend, breakfast.

  15. #15
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    With kids, it helps to have a destination. On our longer rides, I usually plan to stop, sometimes for ice cream, sometimes for sandwiches, and last weekend, breakfast.
    It isn't just the kids that want a destination...throw in a brew pub and I will ride every time.

    Aaron
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    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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  16. #16
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    You'll need to be prepared to bail out and end the ride early. I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but that's how I see it. Seven-year-old kid. No track record. BMX bike. He might or might not make the distance. You just don't know, so you have to at least be prepared to turn back should he get tired and cranky.

    Watch him closely, because if you do turn back, you'll want to do so before he reaches the point of throwing his bike down and quitting on you. Trust me. That can happen.

    He'll certainly have trouble keeping up with the 12-year-old, so you could have trouble if the older kid wants to go fast and the younger kid gets frustrated over his inability to keep up the pace. You could end up with neither kid happy.

    IMHO, I would take the kids on separate rides at first. My experience with really young kids is that a mile or two is a HUGE ride in their eyes. Take the younger kid on a separate ride. One or two trips with him and you'll get a feel for what he's capable of, and what he's interested in doing.

  17. #17
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    Give him this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Hey-Ride-Bike-.../dp/0962570761
    and see where he stops.
    Cool! Just ordered a copy. I'm reminded of the book about the two kids who took off from northern Minnesota by canoe to Hudson Bay, Canada the summer after their high-school graduation. What a great adventure that was.

  18. #18
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NE Tiger View Post
    I know that's an awfully generic question, and it depends on the kid. I'd still like to hear opinions.
    Just me, but as a kid (7-9) I used to ride solo trips that were 10-14 miles round trip.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    Just me, but as a kid (7-9) I used to ride solo trips that were 10-14 miles round trip.
    Funny that you made me think about that...

    I went and checked on Gmaps Pedometer on some of the routes I used to ride at that age. Most were within a 5-6 mile range of home but I would go back and forth multiple times. I ran a typically day and most were in the 20 mile range. I did one that was 12 miles one way out to a friend's house more than once, he usually would meet us somewhere in between. Amazing how far we rode on those old single speed cruisers and didn't realize it.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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  20. #20
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    My youngest started MTB racing when he was 6 - not the kids races, the regular 10K in the WV MTB race circuit... so yeah, if the kid is generally in good shape, a rail trail should be no problem. BUT - take snacks & some G2 just in case... circus peanuts go over well with that age, and they have the same stuff that Goo has in it.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  21. #21
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Since my girls were 7 and 9 (they are now 10 and 12) they have been able to ride 20-25 miles at a good pace and they just get stronger and stronger... my youngest wants to ride across Canada with me in 5 years when she is 15.

  22. #22
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    My 6 year old has 10 flat miles on a single speed many times. The key is to take your time, stop often for water and snacks, and go somewhere fun.
    Sounds about right... make sure the 7-year old has his seat high enough. The BMX bikes tend to have them low and it can tire the youngster out.

    There is a time to resign oneself
    to old age and infirmity. You first.
    My Cycling Blogspot

  23. #23
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    @OP: Today's the day, right? Be sure to post back and tell us how the ride went.

  24. #24
    Senior Member NE Tiger's Avatar
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    Today is the day, and I was heading outside to load up bikes when I got a text from their mom. The 12 year old had a temper tantrum, didn't do any of his chores and can't go.

    Well, now little Joey can ride at his own pace without worrying about big brother. Post ride update to come.

  25. #25
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NE Tiger View Post
    Well, there is ice cream involved at the halfway point.

    Thanks for the replies, I'm not worried now.
    On a Tuesday my 7 year old grandson got off training wheels. That Thursday we rode a moderately hilly 13 miles - he on a single speed kids bike. Oh yes, it was to and from an ice cream shop.

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