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Old 04-14-09, 02:49 PM   #1
crystal_ds
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how far/long can your kids ride?

my kids are 8, 5, and 3. the 2 younger ones still have training wheels. how long or far is it okay for them to ride? they are not happy being tugged around and want to ride themselves. i would love to start riding long distance again but know they can't handle it yet, well maybe my 8 year old idk. do you take your kids out on paved trails on their bikes or stick to riding around the neighborhood? how would training wheels react to dirt, gravel trails? at what age can they start building up endurance to ride longer? i want to do more than the endless circle around the houses but don't want to get stuck halfway out on a trail and have to walk the bikes and kids back lol. it's pretty flat so how far out would you go before turning back? is it dangerous for children to ride too far or be pushed a bit to go on instead of giving up? thanks!
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Old 04-15-09, 02:19 PM   #2
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Unless you use a trailer bike and trailer, then you'll always have a problem mixing your kids because of their ages.

Stabilisers are not really suited to off-road tracks, since any slight hollow in the surface will lead to the stabiliser wheels holding the rear wheel off the surface, so they'll sit there, spinning away and going nowhere.

The disparity between what your 8yr old is potentially capable of, once he's put a few miles in and what the 3/2 yr olds will be able to do for several years is too great for any ride to be suitable for all of them.

The 8 and 5 yr olds can mix pretty well, as long as the older one knows that he may not get as satisfying a ride, in terms of distance and bragging rights, if he is going out with the younger one. If you don't go down the trailerbike/trailer route, thenyou'll have to settle for very local circuits for the nippers and something along the lines of the longer offroad rides for the older two.

As I've often written before, 8yr olds can do pretty astonishing distances (70+ miles) in the right circumstances and with the right prior experience, whereas a 5yr old may be able to cope with something like 5/6 miles each way with a break or two for play and recovery and may build up to doing it in one fell swoop.

I'm afraid that this is one of those how long is a piece of string questions, but you can't go too far wrong following along the above lines and amending to suit your particular kids fitness and interests.

Last edited by atbman; 04-27-09 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 04-15-09, 02:27 PM   #3
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FWIW, my 5-year old twins vary pretty vastly. My son has been able to ride without training wheels since he was three. His sister still needs them and much prefers to ride the trailer bike. (And maybe that's the problem...)

The other day we went for a ride around town. We took a number of stops, first at the playground, then at the marina, then at the train yard. We did nearly 10 miles but that was over the course of an afternoon. The trick is to tire them out but not wiping them out.
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Old 04-15-09, 03:04 PM   #4
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training wheels introduce a whole extra level of trickiness off flat pavement (just cambered driveways can have the 4-pt-of-contact structure tipping over too far for the kid to balance easily). Raising both trainers so the kid is on 3 points ... in my experience helped not much.

My 7 yr old can ride pretty far (on 2 wheels) but it has to be at his speed, maybe 5mph average. We have a lot of hills. He can ride till the cows come home on the trail-a-bike, though if he gets bored then he starts doing gymnastics back there that have some overall destabilizing effect...
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Old 04-15-09, 03:21 PM   #5
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Can't resist the opportunity to post this little video from last October.

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Old 04-15-09, 03:48 PM   #6
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omg the video is too cute! he looks so little to be riding without training wheels! i didn't realize a 7/8 year old could go so far! maybe i should look at taking her out for the longer rides and not the younger boys? that may upset them though. have you tried training wheels on a paved bike trail? there aren't any specific destinations but plenty of sights to stop and see. i also didn't realize that 10 miles would be okay to ask of them with breaks, that's very exciting! perhaps we will start with 5 with lots of breaks this weekend and see how it goes, 2.5 down and 2.5 back? or just go ahead with 10? ooh its risky but we'll have to think about it lol.
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Old 04-17-09, 07:02 PM   #7
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we are going on our first family ride for the year tomorrow. starting with the kid on the trail a bike this trip. gonna see how long he can go. we are still trying to get him off training wheels.
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Old 04-21-09, 06:24 AM   #8
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Mileage

My daughter learned to ride on her 6th birthday. The next day she rode 14 miles on the local Greenway. By 9 she was doing 40-50 mile rides. Whatever you do, keep it fun for the kids. If they see it as something they have to do it will become a chore.
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Old 04-21-09, 10:54 AM   #9
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My kids started at 7 and 5 on BMX style bikes and we rode 18 miles with a group. Looking back, it was a hot day and I'm not sure I should have pushed the 5-year old that much.

Now they are 11 and 9, and I have since built them skinny-tire single speeds that we ride on the road (we've been doing it for a while... for safety, I go in front, my 2 kids in middle and my wife in back; they are now very good at bike handling and judging a safe distance from parked cars, etc.)

With these bikes our longest day trip was 52 miles. They could not have handled it on their old heavy bikes, so that may be something you want to look at if you're interested in distance and speed.

I might suggest working on longer trips with just your 8 year old for now. I'm sure he could do 10 miles or more easily. It's really not that far especially if it's flat.

Also, are there any group rides in your area? Riding on the road with several adults and a few children is not only safer but the kids get into biking long distance and keeping up. My kids love telling friends in school about their 25 mile + rides.

Here's a picture of them with their recently built bikes:

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Old 04-22-09, 09:40 PM   #10
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Last summer my 3 year old (nearly 4 years old) was easily able to do 15+ miles on a trail a bike and was quite happy about it. She was very discontent in a trailer and would cry about having to ride in there. This year my 2.5 year old is unhappy in the trailer, but very content in a kid seat on my bike.

If I was in your situation I would have the 8 year old ride his own bike, have the 5 year old on a trail a bike and either put the three year old in a front kid seat or on a trail a bike too. That was everyone is seeing or peddling
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Old 04-24-09, 08:04 PM   #11
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My 4 year old does a 6 mile trip with a small stop @ the 1/2 way point 3 to 4 times a week. Of course we give him a refuel @ the 1/2 way point but it is @ a park and we also play hide and go seek. He also does a 4 mile ride at a faster pace. When we do the shorter ride we go close to the park where there is a walk/fishing/playground/dog walk/exercise type park that has a 1/4 mile paved loop and 2 different 1/16 mileish offroad sections that are technical but wide enough to be fast and my wife and I take turns sprinting the loop and trails while he does a little fishing! To be honest I love this area for that reason alone!!!
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Old 04-25-09, 10:46 PM   #12
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It depends on speed weather etc. I'm 13 right now but when I was 8 I could do about 30 miles on my BMX at about 5-6 m.p.h. with ease. My dad and I would regularly bike ofr groceries when the Porsche was in the shop (and with the renowned Porsche reliability it nearly always was) That being said I stopped about 5 times and had a rest break at the local supermarket. Took us about 8 hours round trip (including shopping)
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Old 04-26-09, 03:06 PM   #13
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Caloso, that video is very cool
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Old 04-29-09, 10:20 AM   #14
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A week and a half ago my five year old was on training wheels, and just last night we took about a 3 mile ride around town. He road the whole time under his own power with no training wheels, and he loved it. We threw in a few stops along the way at a park, and then got him an ice cream later. But it was great just can't wait for these few days of rain to go away to ride again.
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Old 04-29-09, 10:27 PM   #15
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My son rode the plastic trainers off his bike so I took the wheels and bearings with the mounting bolts from a knock off Razor scooter type thing he had and mounted them on his bike they roll so fast when they hit but they are so small if he depends on them he going to fall over anyway. He has to plant a foot when he stops but when he is taking off he rests on the one to plant his feet then they dont touch again. He rode six miles yesterday and 4 of the 6 was at a blistering pace for him then he kinda bonked out, thankfully we were near the Publix so we went in for him to get a free sugar cookie and he was off again!!!
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Old 05-01-09, 10:57 AM   #16
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we did 3.6 miles last night and my 5 yr old son was begging for more. had to stop cause of rain coming in.
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Old 05-02-09, 11:52 PM   #17
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My daughters were riding as much as 18 miles a day last year when they were 8 and 10 and they are just getting their legs as we had a late spring.

Smaller children can have some amazing stamina and benefit from a high power to weight ratio and can probably ride a lot farther than one thinks.
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Old 05-26-09, 08:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Smaller children can have some amazing stamina and benefit from a high power to weight ratio and can probably ride a lot farther than one thinks.
I totally agree. Yesterday I embarked on Operation Wear 'Em Out and took the four and six year old's for a ride down to Balboa. It's just shy of 8 miles each way. We did the whole ride out non-stop, I let them play for about an hour at the playground on the beach, then we made our way back. We made a little detour so they could play in the water about 4 miles from home for another hour, then set off for home. We ended up with over 17 miles for the afternoon.

My almost nine year old was able to do 30 milers last summer and I'm sure she could pull off a longer ride.
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Old 05-26-09, 11:34 AM   #19
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My 7 yr old just got on 2 wheels last Sept...he is now doing 5 mile rides with no stops...thought the ride home needs a few. Yesterday we rode to the pool which is about 5 miles from home...too the pool was no issue...after 2 hours at the pool the final climb home was an issue.

I really want to get him on a lighter, more efficient bike but I swear it isn't made...every kids bike I can find has front suspension. I just want a full rigid 24" wheel bike with MTB seating position (ie not one of the drop bar 24" bikes). I found one for him but the thing weighs a freaking ton...has to be killing him up the hills.
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Old 06-01-09, 08:52 AM   #20
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my kids are at their best in the morning around 10ish. we have good luck if we get them up - not too early - feed them something and get in the car or on the trail early before lunch - then bring a lunch.

I think timing is everything.. Also a consideration is their intestinal timing. My kids sometimes don't like to eat cuz then they have to "go". So if we can time the rides to be during their happy times - we are all better off.
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Old 06-06-09, 06:26 PM   #21
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My 10 yo went about 23 miles today. That was with a couple of quick stops at the stop signs, for a drinks, and then a 20 minute rest at the 1/2 way point for a light lunch. We averaged about 12-13 miles per hour.

He started riding when he was about 2 or 3, and ditched the training wheels when he was four. I came home from work one day, and his rear wheel was loose. He wanted his training wheels off, and mom took them off. She just couldn't get the wheel back on correctly. So I fixed it, put him on the bike and pushed. He went about 2 feet, and fell over. So I turned him around, pointed him down the sidewalk (it's on a slight incline) and pushed. That was it!. He now rides a 24 inch, 21 speed Denali road bike, and a Huffy mountain bike. Unfortunately, he's losing interest in riding, but my wife and I are working on it. The current plan is when the older brother goes to a friends house, we decide to go bicycling. Which means he has to go with us Anyway, he had fun with us today, so I think we can convince him to do it again.
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