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  1. #1
    Live Beautifully Jewel's Avatar
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    Poll: Where do your kids bicycle?

    I am curious when you bicycle in town/city with your independent-riding young children (5 yo+) , do you have them:

    A. Go in front of your bicycle (so you can easily see/guide them)

    B. Go behind your bicycle (so they follow your lead)

    C. Vary it

    D. Other (please explain)

    Also, if you have more than one cycling child with you, do you split their positions or group them? If you divide them, where does the younger & older bicycle in relation to your bicycle?

    I used to have my youngest (7 yo) ride behind me, because I thought I could keep a good eye on him with my mirror, but he really couldn't hear me well, and now having him in front, I feel like drivers see me better (bigger size), so they'll know there are cyclists ahead... but as I keep thinking about it, I want to hear what others do, to see if there's maybe something I'm not thinking about and could do better.
    "If I ride, I will know the way the trees smell after the rain... My breath will fill the air instead of smoke and car exhaust... Road rage will turn into laughter and I won't be a boy or a girl, I will just be a rider...and the planet will cool down and survive and thank me for riding with flowers & glaciers & fireflies & snow days off from school... I will be strong... I will only use oil in my chains and oil tankers will haul chocolate milk" by People for Bikes http://www.peopleforbikes.org/

  2. #2
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I have 2 kids. Before their bikes were stolen (recovered one- which was stolen again and recovered), I had them ride to the front. I'm the biggest of the bunch and so present the biggest target for approaching traffic from behind. If I noticed we were approaching something dicey, I could easily either instruct the one in front of me to pull off to the side/get out of the street and pass that along (though I've had to chase the lead down because he didn't/couldn't hear his sister) and we would regroup or I would have her edge right while I moved further out in the lane and we both chased the lead down.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    When I was growing up, my parents rode at either end ... father in front, me, my brother, and then my mother.


    But that probably wouldn't work for many families.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    I started touring with my son when he was eight, on everything from rural roads to NYC. It seemed to work out best when I was behind since I could correct him immediately if he drifted, etc. Plus of course it helped that I was a larger, more visible object for cars coming up behind us.

    The only time it was really an issue was when we had a speeding car come within an inch of right-hooking him when we were in a city bike lane.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    When I was growing up, my parents rode at either end ... father in front, me, my brother, and then my mother.


    But that probably wouldn't work for many families.
    That's what we do. If it's just me and one kid, I tend to ride nearly beside them, and we go on less traveled roads than I would typically ride on. Both kids are old enough that they understand how they're supposed to behave on the road now. Before that, we had tandems and tagalongs.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    Behind the child. Of course by time my youngest daughter was 13 YO, that's because she was dropping me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    I started touring with my son when he was eight, on everything from rural roads to NYC. It seemed to work out best when I was behind since I could correct him immediately if he drifted, etc. Plus of course it helped that I was a larger, more visible object for cars coming up behind us.

    The only time it was really an issue was when we had a speeding car come within an inch of right-hooking him when we were in a city bike lane.
    +1, exactly what worked best for my partner and our sons. They each started when they were about 8, we live and ride on unsaved rural roads. Having child "lead" is a good way to help guide and coach their riding skills - plus it was easier for them to hear what we were saying. Being in front sort of empowers then and it gives them a good view of the road. The exception was in conjested traffic, we had them ride in the middle, as we were more familiar with vehicle flow. Now they both out ride us,
    ride long & prosper

  8. #8
    Pseudo Retro Grouch bici_mania's Avatar
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    D. Other - Half of our riding is on neighborhood streets with very light traffic. They ride in line as far to the right as they can manage and I ride to their left. I keep myself out more towards the middle of the lane so that I can see what is coming / going and can communicate effectively with all three of them. When cars are coming I move either in front or in back as circumstances dictate. If it is an uphill I ride behind them to ensure one doesn't drop off the back, on the downhills I ride in front and set the pace. When we turn left I lead then stop broadside in the middle of the intersection and follow up behind the the third child. My 11 year old son rides in front because he is the most experienced of the three and usually sets a good pace. My youngest daughter is in the middle to keep her out of trouble. My oldest daughter generally brings up the rear, she is experienced but tends to be slower and spooks the easiest.

    Before I took them on the street on their own bike, rather than the trail-a-bike, they had to demonstrate all the proper hand signals and answer all my questions about road rules correctly.

    The only time we have ever had any sort of an issue was when we had ridden all the way to downtown. We had been walking our bikes on the sidewalk to avoid mingling with traffic on our bikes, we were walking our bikes through the cross walk and had the pedestrian light. A driver turning left neglected to notice the sign that said "Left On Arrow Only" and also failed to see four people in the crosswalk. My son was in front of us and the drive stopped within inches of him. I pointed to the pedestrian light and then the "Left On Arrow..." sign. He shrugged his shoulders and laid on his horn.
    Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. - Charles M. Schulz

  9. #9
    Live Beautifully Jewel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bici_mania View Post
    The only time we have ever had any sort of an issue was when we had ridden all the way to downtown. We had been walking our bikes on the sidewalk to avoid mingling with traffic on our bikes, we were walking our bikes through the cross walk and had the pedestrian light. A driver turning left neglected to notice the sign that said "Left On Arrow Only" and also failed to see four people in the crosswalk. My son was in front of us and the drive stopped within inches of him. I pointed to the pedestrian light and then the "Left On Arrow..." sign. He shrugged his shoulders and laid on his horn.
    How scary, frustrating and arrogant. I'm sorry that happened. Sometimes I really can't understand the mentality of others. These are LIVES, people... but I know I'm preaching to the choir. I'm just glad that you and the kids were okay.

  10. #10
    Live Beautifully Jewel's Avatar
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    My kids have all been raised in the bicycling realm (first started in trailers, then onto trail-a-bikes --except my now 15 yo & 19 yo girls (they didn't have those at the time, so they went from trailer to sidewalks to neighborhood streets to city streets. neither of them enjoys riding presently, unfortunately. hoping it's a "passing phase").

    My boys (7 & 11 yo) went from trailer, to trail-a-bike to sidewalk on trikes/scooters and ultimately independent bikes, then neighborhood streets, trails, park MUP, and now commuting to school by bike with me accompanying them (since their school is not in our district, so a bit farther). I've also been taking them on errands more within the city and we bicycle frequently to church.

    It seems like the consensus (when only 1 adult present) is to have the child/ren in front, which is what I've been doing for the past month+ approx. So am glad to see the logic in it. It does seem to be the best in terms of guiding them within traffic decisions, etc.

    Thanks for talking it out with me
    "If I ride, I will know the way the trees smell after the rain... My breath will fill the air instead of smoke and car exhaust... Road rage will turn into laughter and I won't be a boy or a girl, I will just be a rider...and the planet will cool down and survive and thank me for riding with flowers & glaciers & fireflies & snow days off from school... I will be strong... I will only use oil in my chains and oil tankers will haul chocolate milk" by People for Bikes http://www.peopleforbikes.org/

  11. #11
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Varies depending on situation. When I'm riding with my 11 year old I usually have her behind me in higher traffic areas. I take more of the lane and use a lot of hand signaling and ride very defensively. On longer stretches of road I'll have her up front and I'll ride behind and more into the lane since I'm more visible.

  12. #12
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Generally with them in front, or at least the smaller ones in front and me in the middle.
    On a half century -

    All in front:


    Me in the middle, same ride:

    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    When I was growing up, my parents rode at either end ... father in front, me, my brother, and then my mother.


    But that probably wouldn't work for many families.
    Does a parent in drag count?
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bici_mania View Post
    D. Other - Half of our riding is on neighborhood streets with very light traffic. They ride in line as far to the right as they can manage and I ride to their left. I keep myself out more towards the middle of the lane so that I can see what is coming / going and can communicate effectively with all three of them. When cars are coming I move either in front or in back as circumstances dictate. If it is an uphill I ride behind them to ensure one doesn't drop off the back, on the downhills I ride in front and set the pace. When we turn left I lead then stop broadside in the middle of the intersection and follow up behind the the third child. My 11 year old son rides in front because he is the most experienced of the three and usually sets a good pace. My youngest daughter is in the middle to keep her out of trouble. My oldest daughter generally brings up the rear, she is experienced but tends to be slower and spooks the easiest.
    I do a mix like this as well, but generally with the kid to the front or side. The other kid is still in the trailer, so he's always behind.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  15. #15
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Nine year old son. It varies, but generally where there's traffic I am at his 7 o'clock (behind and to the left). That lets me see up the road and guide him while claiming more space in the lane.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    A. My 8 year old rides in front of me.

    Unless there is room and then I ride on the outside with my front wheel about even with her rear.
    "The world will end, not with a "bang" but with a "do'oh!""

  17. #17
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Nine year old son. It varies, but generally where there's traffic I am at his 7 o'clock (behind and to the left). That lets me see up the road and guide him while claiming more space in the lane.
    Sounds like a winner to me. That is probably what I would do. I don't have any short people to ride with.
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