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Old 03-07-06, 01:23 PM
  #23  
hubs
@#$% cars
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 405

Bikes: '02 Schwinn Frontier;'03 Fisher Tiburon; '04 Raleigh Companion; 04 Dahon SpeedPro; 69 Raleigh Sport fixed

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Originally Posted by RRZ
What kind of question is that? If the kid doesn't realize the danger of traffic, he shouldn't be out on the streets at any speed without direct adult supervision. If he's being closely supervised, then I'd say "as fast as he can!" (as long as he doesn't go out of control and crash, of course)
I guess you live in a pretty safe residential area.

Here in Chicago, even sidewalk riding means frequent alley and driveway crossings. The street crossings (which come every block) involve drivers who are much more interested in getting somewhere fast than anyone else's safety.

When I got my daughter a bike, I thought, man, this thing is a tank. Then she shot down the block (with me right behind) and it was a constant challenge to keep her aware of traffic hazards even as a sidewalk rider. There is also frequent slowing for pedestrians. I want her to show respect to them ... I feel as though the sidewalks are really theirs. The tank went plenty fast for sidewalk riding. Even the bike paths around here require alot of moderation for traffic ... other bikers, pedestrians, smaller kids.

She just got a new, and much lighter bike (Raleigh hybrid) and she keeps telling me how easily this bike both speeds up and coasts. She is 8 and still rides mainly on the sidewalks.

I think the only time a faster bike would have really been a benefit was on Bike the Drive ... where there's an opportunity for a kid to just ride! I've never told her to slow down cutting across the park or on a clear path ... go for it! It's just in my experience there is very little opportunity for a kid to ride "all out" anyway, so the tank was just fine.

I think the actual riding the kid will do should be a big factor in bike choice. If it's urban ... then a tank is plenty light b/c speed has to be so frequently moderated. If you live somewhere where your kid can go all out regularly, and you want them as fast as possible (you'll get a better ride!), get a lighter bike. If they are ready for the streets, then a lighter bike also makes sense. Quick acceleration is an asset there!
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