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Old 05-17-06, 06:20 PM   #1
youngbiker
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Hello from the mom of a 6yo boy crazy 'bout bikes...

He starts before breakfast, rides all day until I call him in for bathtime & meal. It's a struggle to keep him down for more than a few bites, too! So he wants to ride, and ride bikes with others. I don't know how long he'll keep this up, but since he's not yet interested in anything else much outside, no other sports, I'm gonna go with it. He's riding now, but he's put me up to trying to find someone to help him get "started"... that meaning setting goals toward doing something other than just riding up and down the road, I suppose.

We live on a farm and I'd really like to see him on a cross-country type bike. Is that classified under the "mountain bikes" I've seen posted? I'm still lurking around, so I haven't visited all forums just yet, but I will later this evening after all kiddos go to bed.

We don't even have a helmet yet, so first thing's first. Do I need to look for anything in particular? Besides how he says it feels, what do I need to check when he puts it on? Are the helmets at, say, Wal-Mart or Target really good enough (assuming they have them, I haven't even gotten so far as to check with them yet). I know he'll need shin guards since he's riding in shorts, and he wants biker gloves, but it seems as though his forearms take quite a beating as well when he slides 'cross the ground -- which we dearly hope will become less and less frequent as he gains confidence. My dad bought this bike for him, and it's really too big, but it's all we have for now. He can get off and on without help, but the seat is too high and won't lower any more. And it's some kind of "trick" bike...?? Has pegs on front and back for maybe putting his feet? We will be making do with this until Christmas, and if he keeps this up we will purchase him a nice, REAL (his term) bike.

So, any advice? Tips? Warnings? I'd really like to find out more about the various kinds of bikes and types of riding, so I'll be hanging around a while and listening in. Oh, and I almost forgot, is there a message board or forum for kids & biking so he can talk with others his age?

Thanks for all your help!

mom of "youngbiker"
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Old 05-17-06, 06:30 PM   #2
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i will tell you right now i was the same way my mom made me where a helmet and i hated it, so i took it and brock it and told my mom i lost it so she said we will get another on and that went on for a while so she stoped buying me helmets and i still ride so he will want to ride for a long time
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Old 05-17-06, 08:10 PM   #3
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First, i want to applaud you for helping your child find something he loves, encougaring him to ride and to set goals. Though he does not ride anywhere near as much as your son, my 4 year old loves to ride his bike. As to helmets, as a cyclist, my son sees me wearing mine and wants to wear his. Maybe you could ride with him and wear a helmet as an example. As long as they carry DOT certification, most helmets will do a fine job of protecting his head, as long as they fit him well. A bike shop will have someone on staff with some experience, but you will probably pay a bit more for the same helmet there. I think a BMX style bike is best for him at this age. That is basically what is sounds like he is on. They are tough and simple, not much to break on them. I would wait until he is a few years older before considering a mountain bike or cyclocross bike. For the protective gear, you can probably make soccer or football shin guards and arms protectors work, or you can visit a bike store and see what they offer in protective gear for BMX or mountain biking. Two big online sources of biking gear are www.nashbar.com and www.performancebike.com
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Old 05-17-06, 09:07 PM   #4
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My daughter started riding at 3, and the rule was dont get on the bike unless you have a hockey helmet on ( in the mid 70s bike helmets were unheard of). All helmets provide about the same protection, although I think that the hard skateboard type will withstand multiple crashes which may be more suitable for his style of riding. When fitting the helmet you need to make sure it will sit securely flat on his head without dropping over his eyes or down onto the back of his skull. When you get a "real" bike avoid ones with sprung suspension as that adds a lot of weight, which makes the bike a lot harder to ride and to do neat tricks. He needs an adult to ride with him so he learns to ride safely on the road, keeping a watch for motor traffic, so get your self a nice bike. Even if most of his riding is off-road the sooner he learns safe road riding the easier life will be for you. The "Recreational & Family" forum will have useful info for you.
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Old 05-17-06, 09:45 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the replies. Although I haven't ever done much bike riding (other than a bike being the forced mode of transportation to and from jr high school), I did have a passion as a child for horses, and that passion has never gone away. I rode a pony or horse just as my son is now riding the bike, so I know exactly how he feels. I also rode endurance in later years, so I also feel the competitive edge that I sort of hope he is feeling. I only stopped riding because I had four children in the span of five years, this son being the oldest, so I can no longer afford to keep a horse & all the tack for the five of us, and I can't drive a rig big enough to haul it all to the trails. So bike riding does sound like a great alternative for me as well. Maybe this summer I can get a sitter for the other kids a few hours each week and get my son started, and my dad used to ride some, so maybe he will get back into it as well. We have a local biking group (Blood, Sweat & Gears, if anyone's heard of them), and I'll be calling one of the members soon to see if there is a suitable place for road biking besides the bypass, which I know is where they often ride. The bypass around our town is about 10 miles, so it's a good little trek, but too much for us right now. And maybe we will find some other youngsters riding as well.

We will be getting a helmet this week, and we have soccer gear that will work... hadn't thought of that. I grew up in the days before helmets were thought of as a necessity for bikes, or even horses for that matter (Western style, anyway), so it will be a struggle just to remember to make him wear it. But, we didn't use seat belts or infant carriers either, and I'm now used to that. And the kids have never known any different, so they don't fuss.

After looking around at a few other messages on the board, it does seem that bmx is more like the style of riding my son is interested in, the mountain biking is a little extreme for now. But who knows?

Thanks again for your posts!

mom to youngbiker
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Old 05-17-06, 09:53 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forums! Plenty of good advice here, and I'm glad to see parents promoting outdoor sports!
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Old 05-19-06, 03:09 PM   #7
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Congratulations for supporting the boy in an interest that he can enjoy for life. Some kids just seem to take to cycling and get a lot out of it.

May I suggest magazines as a supplement to what your son can learn here? If you have a good magazine stand nearby, with a few different bicycle mags, he can leaf through and refine his choices, and at his age he'll no doubt absorb knowledge like a sponge. A trip to the library for a look at their cycling books might be of some use. As a side benefit, his reading ability will probably increase dramatically as he feeds his curiosity about bikes and riding.

It's refreshing to hear about kids having positive interests. Have fun promoting that interest as much as possible, even if you don't want to ride a bike yourself.

All the best.

Al
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Old 05-19-06, 09:34 PM   #8
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Just don't get him BMX Plus! Reading is supposed to help kids develop reading and grammar. That mag reads like it was written by a bunch of 12 year olds.
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Old 05-19-06, 11:59 PM   #9
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You should rent and watch the movie The Triplets of Belleville your story sounds familiar. Good luck, maybe it's his passion, maybe not.
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