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  1. #1
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    Kids on bike tour

    HI,

    I am thinking of taking my 9 and 7 year old on NYC 5 BBC bike tour (42 miles, mostly flat) on a 24 inch and 20 inch BMX bike.
    They have done 23 miles on Princeton freewheeler tour (a few hills) last year on a 20" and 16" kid bike. My wife think the younger one may not complete and ask me to reconsider. What does you guys think? I have started taking them on 10 mile ride (MTB easy trail) weekend and plan to increase the milleage to 20 soon (on paved bike path).

    What do you guys think? It usually takes me 2-3 weeks to get fit to ride 50 miles (B/B+ pace) every season (on a road bike).

  2. #2
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    We have been doing it with our 11, 9, 6 and 4 year old since they were 3, 1, 0 and 0. Admittedly the only time we do the whole thing (~52 miles after the ride back from the ferry at the end) is when it is just me taking them. When the wife goes along, the pace slows and there is less drive to do the whole course. Not a bad thing though as it gives us time to enjoy the city more. If you take the bail out option of the Brooklyn Bridge, it is about 25 miles total for us. We finish that up somewhere between 12p and 2p IIRC. Doing the whole thing takes us to 4-6p depending on crowds and ferries.

    I suspect we will bail this year unless I crack the whip some. My 9 year old is probably not up to it, but we have rest seats we can swap them to if needed (TAB, and trailer).

    I assume you have tix? If not you'll be looking at the aftermarket to get them. Don't pay the double cost hawkers. As you get closer you'll be able to get them close to or even below cost.

  3. #3
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    To stack the odds in your kids' favor, maybe get them bikes with gears? I think a 7-year-old kid would be hard-pressed to do even 20 miles on a heavy single-gear BMX bike.

    Something like this perhaps: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...&top_category=

  4. #4
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    I sort of agree on the gears for the ride. If this is the only ride they do that would really need gears, why fork out the money for a not often used bike(s)? I don't recall seeing little kids on single speeds towards the end of the ride, but that does not mean they don't exist. It would be alot harder especially if there is a head wind on certain parts of the course.

  5. #5
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    Kids do complete these rides but there aren't many of them (my now 9yr old has done several). The ones that do complete longer routes have gears and smooth tires. You need to be 100% confident the distance, hills, route, hydration, etc. won't be problems with them. You don't want to deal with an upset kid for 20+ miles!
    Chris

  6. #6
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    42 miles on a BMX? Not really a very good idea, IMHO. With suitable bikes and gradual and regular increases in mileage at weekend rides and even evening ones, quite possible.

    We've had a couple of 8 yr-olds do the demanding (read hilly) 70 mile Weatherby Filey Great Yorkshire Bike Ride and at 8 and 10 young George and Hazel did Alpe d'Huez with lots of stops, while last year at 12 she did it non-stop. But they do lots of rides with their parents throughout the year. Kids can do more than most people think, but they do need plenty of preparation - and the right bikes

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by atbman View Post
    .....Kids can do more than most people think, but they do need plenty of preparation - and the right bikes
    All that and a positive attitude

  8. #8
    Senior Member Divtos's Avatar
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    I've done that ride a few times and the idea of taking my kids would honestly kinda scare me. There are many many inexperienced riders that do it and lots of mishaps (crashes). Although its not hilly per se I'm sure the hills would be very challenging to kids especially without gears. One more thing that I tell everyone that does the 5 borough though: If you do go, don't start with he pack at the ferry. Its a huge crowd and you wind up walking a long way if you're in the back. Instead plan to start up where the ride comes into central park. Just wait for the police to pass (stay out of their way) and then go behind them. You will have plenty of room from the crowd and can hit all the rest stops while they still have food :-)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Divtos View Post
    I've done that ride a few times and the idea of taking my kids would honestly kinda scare me. There are many many inexperienced riders that do it and lots of mishaps (crashes). Although its not hilly per se I'm sure the hills would be very challenging to kids especially without gears. One more thing that I tell everyone that does the 5 borough though: If you do go, don't start with he pack at the ferry. Its a huge crowd and you wind up walking a long way if you're in the back. Instead plan to start up where the ride comes into central park. Just wait for the police to pass (stay out of their way) and then go behind them. You will have plenty of room from the crowd and can hit all the rest stops while they still have food :-)
    I agree about starting as far forward as you can. If you do not start within the first 5 blocks of start line, you will likely be fighting crowds all day. We have finished towards the end of the pack at the finish of the ride and have never had a food shortage issue. The only time I think they do start to run out of food is when you start hitting the cut off time for the rest stop. They stop supplying the stop and start packing things up. Central Park is not a bad place to join the ride. That and a couple blocks before it are the usual choke points. Central Park because they typically divide the riders into two entrances which rejoin shortly in the park, and the blocks before because they have a recurring hard stop to let cross traffic go. The next jam can occur around the Queensboro bridge (IIRC). People slow way down going up the hill to get to the bridge and the grade of the bridge itself. The final rest stop can be a nightmare to get out of (right off the Verranzano). The ferry wait can be very long also. All reasons not to dawdle during the ride. I'd shoot for a 2-3 arrival at the Verranzano. The earlier the better.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the advice. Though I do not see how I would be able to start in CP given that I will be driving from CNJ and they advise us to park in Staten Island by the Ferry. MY other option would be to park near CP. As for the bike, I am scanning ebay and craigslist for a used Aluminium MTB and then going to put on some slick tires. He did a road tour with me last year for 23 miles on 16" bmx, so I guess he maybe able to do it if motivated.

  11. #11
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    Parking on Staten Island is a great option. You will avoid any ferry lines at the end of the ride. That is the good side.

    The bad side is that you will not have many options to get out of the ride early. I don't think the subway gets there from NYC. I think Staten I. has a subway but it does not connect to any other systems. I mention this because the ride 2 years ago was a cold rainy day. I think we backed out after @15 miles. I had to ride our train back to our hotel, while my family hopped the subway. I can only think of a cab or using the SAG wagon to get to the final tour stop on SI. The bad part of the SAG wagon is that it is the tail of the ride. The bus does not go back and forth getting people to the end. It sits at the rest stop until it closes and then moves to the next rest stop. I don't think it gets to the final stop until 5 or 6 IIRC. Then you have to wait to get your bike off the moving van that they put all the SAG bikes into. It's the only way the organizers can do this. It is just very inconvenient for anyone that has to use the SAG.

    If you do the SI parking, arrive early at the ferry. You'll want to be hitting Manhattan @7a, NLT 7:30. Use a restroom at the ferry if they have it. It is very hard to find one in the ride mass until you get to the rest stops and the first stop is not until after CP. Get off the ferry and get as far toward the start as you can.

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