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Thread: Family Riding

  1. #1
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    Family Riding

    So, I'm looking for some suggestions to get the wife/kids into it. I've seen on these forums some pics of an insane tandem setup: tandem, clip on for the larger of the kids, and then a trailer for the smaller ones. While this may work, it looks like it would be rough to handle. I've currently got three of my own bikes, my kids each have a kiddie bike of their own, but this doesn't seem to be practical for longer trips (least not till the training wheels are off) and they're a bit big to share a trailer. The other problem is getting my wife to agree to let me buy her a bike that does not come from a big box store, and teaching her how to turn, etc on it.

    I'm sure this is a common question, how do yall go about getting the rest of your lot involved in cycling?

  2. #2
    Senior Member rule's Avatar
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    Simple...tell them not to.

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    I wish there were a magic answer but I have not figured it out. Where it seems to work is when there is excitement for the activity. The dad looks forward to it and then gets the kids excited about it which then improves the chances the mom will be willing to do it. The funny part is that to get the excitement going, it can't be about the riding but about what is going on around the riding. E.g., a group ride where the kids are treated special because there are few kids riding, ice cream, playground where other kids see them ride up, a ride through the woods with fun little obstacles, if they can and do ride ahead occasionally and feel freedom. Moms can be difficult. The most common problem seems to be a dislike of physical activity. Sometimes there is a dislike of riding even though the mom does other physical activity, but that seems rarer. The path to creating the family fun ride time can be long and slow. If you are a rider, expect and accept that you will no longer ride how you want to, but you will sacrifice your desires to help your kids and spouse enjoy the ride.

    Specific ideas:
    Look for community events that you can ride to. We ride to the DC mall over Memorial Day to see the 10's of thousands of bikers, we do the NYC 5-boro tour, we go to the Pentagon on Sept 11th. Occasional trips are around the local park/lake for ice cream and playground time. Occasional trips to National Airport to lay on the grass and feel the planes land on our heads, daily commute to school. Each of these is rides is very much enjoyed by the kids. Selection of who rides where, what are we going to eat, can I take my camelbak, etc.

    If your kids are older, it likely would not be worth it to get a trailer. Ours is rated to carry 100lbs, but I have carried ~150 for short distances, and regularly do carry ~100lbs. Your tweener stage is tough. I have 1 (almost 2) there now. The tandem is great for this stage and even beyond. The trail-a-bike (tab) is another great way to overcome that. A tandem plus a tab is effectively a triplet. It has been nice to not have to exclude any of our kids from coming along on a ride due to number of seats and destination distance. It is nice when you can start to do 5-10 mile rides. Depending on the kid that can generally happen anywhere from 6ish-8 yrs old.
    Last edited by masiman; 10-23-07 at 03:42 PM.

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    Ice cream

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    It's all about the destinations.

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    Regular and frequent breaks. Choose a route where you/they can play ballgames, frisbees, etc. make sure you have sufficient treats for them. Choose routes where there is something interesting to see. Involve them in planning the ride.

    For pre-riders, use trailer, childseat, trailerbike whichever is relevant. If you are (likely) much the stronger rider, you pull the kids.

    Leave them wanting more

    For mothers - make very sure that her bike is set up right

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    I second the ice cream suggestion. Fun destinations in general seem to work. Coffee shops and bookstores are destinations that have worked for my husband and kids. Routes with playgrounds, beaches, or other points of interest are good.

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    With our daughter we have had a trail-a-bike since she was 4 and have always used it for running errands etc... at this point she thinks using a bike to run errands is a normal thing, go figure. Although in the spirit of full disclosure, ice cream and/or stopping at the park can be a very powerful motivational tool.
    It was my wife and her family that got me into cycling so I can't help you there.

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    As a wife myself, I think that offering to give her some time alone to get out on the bike might do the trick. I probably wouldn't want the whole family around to watch me screw up and "alone" time to exercise is a precious commodity so combining the two might do the trick!

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    Once our first child was about 6 months old I was pulling him in the trailer on 20 mile rides. At first I would try timing it with a nap but later discovered the airport loop. From then on, as long as we stopped for a bit to watch planes I could get a decent length ride in. This past summer he upgraded to stoker position on our tandem and we basically do the same type of routes pulling our 1 year old in the trailer. Occasionally just the oldest (he turns 5 next week) and I get out on some pretty long tandem rides without the trailer. They both love it--as long as there are planes to watch. Fighter jets are bonus points...

    Getting your wife into cycling may be a bit more work, they tend to not do things unless they want to. Have you tried shoving her into a trailer?

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    Thanks for the comments

    Your response was very helpful and I appreciate the time you took to write it down...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel_bikes View Post
    Ice cream
    Heh - I use that one on my wife and two year old daughter every weekend.

    It never fails.

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    I still struggle with this.

    With my wife, we talked and as a nurse she understands my motivation of a fun way to get exercise for us and our kids. She grumbles sometimes, and often wants to shorten our rides, but usually is pretty good about just going and enjoys the ride.

    Our son is either in a trailer, or occasionally on our TAB, and usually doesn't complain too long or loud. If we haven't biked in awhile he asks to go.

    Our 10 Y.O. daughter is tough, as we don't have an Ice Cream store within 50 miles anymore. We have biked to the Subway 10 miles away for lunch, or a store that sells candy 8 miles in the other direction, or the 10 miles to Grandpa's house. I try to have fun with her and make it an enjoyable experience.

    I often come up with something corny like...

    Me - do you hear that?
    Her - No dad, I don't hear anything.
    Me - It's a very faint voice.. sure you don't hear it?
    Her - No...
    Me - I think it's the fudgesicle in our freezer... it's calling my name.
    Her- Wait, I do hear it, but it's calling my name, not yours. (rides faster)

    I also try to praise her for good rides in front of her friends. She eats it up.

    Listening for other great ideas!

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    We like Trailer bikes for kids that are big enough not to fall asleep, but too small to keep up or would tire too easily. We have a seat on my bike for the two year old, a trailer bike on my hubby's bike for the 4 year old . I have seen "Trains" of trailer bikes and they are really cool. I think if you have a child over 3, they typically don't enjoy a standard bike trailer all that much...at least mine don't. My two year old is pretty independent and last summer when he was just 18 months, he got to where he would just scream in the trailer. That is why we got a bike seat. I strap a backpack on the back of the toddler bike seat and away we go.

    I was one of those women that felt buying a bike at a bike shop was really stupid. Too much money for something I could get at Walmart. So my hubby let me pick out my own bike. I went, rode it, liked it, so we bought it. On our first ride, I said that I really hated bike riding. It was hot, uncomfortable, and just miserable. My knees hurt, my ankles hurt, my behind hurt and we had only been about 3 miles. I could hardly walk the next day.

    He took me out on a date one Saturday. We had lunch and then we visited every bike shop in town. The bike shops let us ride all kinds of different bikes. I realized quite quickly that these were completely different than what I currently had and that bike riding didn't have to hurt. One shop in particular had a women working there and she really put me at ease. I guess I didn't feel that the men really understood my concerns. (for example..any new bike seat hurts the rump a bit. I needed some kind of padded shorts, but I am not a cute little chick with a perfectly toned rump. The salewomen took me to a dressing room and showed me little bike shorts with an attached skirt. Then she suggested I could wear a shortish knit skirt over regular padded shorts and that saved me a lot of money!) I settled on a Specialized Comfort bike and really love it. Well, at least I loved it after I started wearing the padded shorts. Anyway, that was early last summer and by the end of the summer (we have lots of snow here so no winter riding) we were easily biking 12- 15 miles at a time, with a just turned 4 year old, an 18 month old and I was pregnant too.

    I think that many women are self conscious about going to a bike shop. They do tend to be filled with men. (please don't think I am saying men are bad, I love them...mainly my husband and son!) Discussing my bum fat and why I feel weird about putting my rear on a tiny little bike seat is not real comfortable to discuss with a guy, particulary the guy who clearly lives and breaths bikes and does triathalons just "for fun. (doesn't sound like fun to me!)

    Anyway, I like bike paths for riding. I feel much more relaxed not having to worry about traffic, especially with the kids. It also helps with the beginning uncomfortableness. Turns out that there are some really fit people on bike trails and some people much, much fatter than me! Suddenly my fears of being the weird fat, pregnant lady on the bike melted away.

    Hope some of this rambling book helps!

  15. #15
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    My wife isn't going to ride a bike, and there's nothing I'm going to do that will change that. Just realize that when you see some big happy family out biking, it might be because all of them enjoy it, not because one of them likes it and somehow wrangled the rest of them into doing it. Ditto with a lot of other family activities.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Quote Originally Posted by komotika View Post
    I am 10 and I am having trouble getting my family to ride more. Due to them, my longest ride was about 17 miles and they were SO slow it took 3:30. Now I cannot use icecream or chocolate tricks on them, because they are the ones with money. My uncle has a cannondale r3000 TT bike that he put bullhorns on... He is going on his 2nd century so far (and probably his last). So how do I get my parents to ride?
    take their car keys and make them chase after you

  17. #17
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Suggestion for toddlers in trailers: approx 11 yrs ago when my son was 2 yrs and in a trailer I used to put a casette player under the seat and it played his music and also childrens books on casette.

    Do not use it all the time, just start it when there is signs that the child is "close to not being happy any more".

    Also I kicked out the crappy seat and installed the seat section from a baby stroller. That way he could sit comfortabely and I could put the back down for him to sleep comfortabely.

    To make him want to ride now I make sure the trips is not too long, and make sure there is icecream involved (rule of the house: all sweet must be bought by bike) and also a rest with food, swimming, other children, visit friends and so on.

    Make him ride to school and ride to friends. If he do not feel like I ride with him instead of driving him, also to pick him up.

    To remind it is possible to go far I use the car. First ride from A to B. After some time take the car and go to B. Park the car and ride from B to C. If you do this they get familiar with the road and is not scared by riding that far away. Soon you can ride from A to C and so on. If you want to go further than last time maybe use a slightly different route just to confuse them about not stopping at the same place as last time. Suggest going to a different icecream shop than last time.

    Also bring bikes on holyday (folders are great) and explore new area by bike.

    Go for short trips and stay over night so they learn it is possible and fun. We are doing a trip like that once a year w two of his friends, approx 12 km one way. Sleeping and cooking in a cabine, swimming and playing and then ride back. We do it in the end of May and they have already started asking about it.

    Plse remember to bring your dog on your family ride. There is a lot of dogs almost going mad from lack of exercise out there.

    Remind mom that bikeshorts can be worn under "any dress or skirt" and also under trousers. Padded underwear is maybe more elegant.

    A good used bike and a great saddel is maybe the way to go for a start. What about a B72 or one with a shorter nose for riding in a skirt?

    I`ve started dressing up when riding, heels ans skirt, just for fun. Peopel used bikes a lot for long distances in the old days (and still do in 3rd world) and we should try yo look into what they did that we do wrong. A lot of the bikes used today is some sort of fashion statement. Go for comfort and change when you want change.

    Maybe get a great IGH folding bike for mom? Tell her it can be fitted to any family member, also growing children. Maybe then she think it is worth the money?
    Last edited by badmother; 03-16-09 at 03:42 AM. Reason: Spelling

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