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Old 11-13-12, 04:11 PM   #1
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How to get my 8 yr old back on the bike after a wipeout?

Earlier this year I got a nice deal on a used Trek mountain bike for my 8 yr old son.

Previously he'd ridden around the in-law's quite subdivision with my 13 yr old son and I, but the first time we took him out to ride his first non-toy bike he sailed along happily for an 8 mile ride.

Not long afterwards he had a massive wipeout on a wooden bridge. His handlebar hit the the railing and he went down and even worse I rolled over him and his bike. He lost a baby tooth which had already been loose (no damage), but he was really shaken up and now is afraid to ride the bike.

Unfortunately, it's been a few months since the incident and he hasn't ridden since. I haven't pushed him, but I really want to get him going again.

Can anyone offer any good advice to get him cycling again?
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Old 11-14-12, 10:11 AM   #2
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I'd probably bribe my kid(s).... with food.

As in -

Me: "Hey, I'm going out for some ice cream, wanna go?"
Son: "Yes"
Me: "Ok, get your gear on, we're riding to the store"
Son: "I don't want to ride"
Me: "We only get ice cream if we ride - Mom wants us to stay healthy"
Son: "Ok" *gets helmet on*

If that doesn't work, you may be out of luck. My kids will do just about anything for ice cream/chocolate/candy bars/cookies - since we don't keep that stuff in the house very often.
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Old 11-16-12, 08:46 PM   #3
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I have 5 avid riders 13 to 5, they've all wiped out in one way or another- repeatedly.

Hate to say it, IMO you waited too long. When one of my kids wiped out seriously ( cut in calf from chainring, road rash etc) I had him up and out again for at least a short ride the same week. The less you make of an accident , the less they will too. I'd suggest at this point that you encourage him to master his fears: "the only way to easy is through hard "talk.
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Old 02-04-13, 05:27 PM   #4
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All I can say is, don't give up on trying to get him back on a bike. My brother's daughter took a bad spill on a bike path and broke her arm when she was your son's age. She is now 16 and still doesn't ride a bike much. My brother just kind of gave up on getting her back on a bike and regrets that choice hugely. Some time to heal physically and mentally, but after 6 months or so I'd think gentle encouragement riding locally for a treat or going somewhere new would be appropriate.
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Old 02-06-13, 11:35 AM   #5
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As others have said, he should have gotten back on the bike just as soon as possible. It's the old routine about getting back on the horse immediately.

I think that EriktheFish has the right strategy, offer treats for having ridden to start with. Make it fun, make it short. And gradually work your way up in length. As he gets better, don't always treat. Make the trips high value, go interesting places. As a kid, my main draw to bicycles was the freedom and range it gave me.

And just as a psychological thing, if he doesn't have a helmet, see if he would like one. Most kids feel it's a bother, but he may find it reassuring.
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Old 02-06-13, 12:13 PM   #6
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As others have mentioned, it's important to get back on the bike as soon as possible, but be that as it may, perhaps by showing him just how much fun you're having riding your bike, will encourage him to start riding again. My youngest sister home-schooled her 4 children, and when I asked her how she taught her kids to read, she said she didn't, the kids taught themselves, all she did was to encourage them. I asked her how she did that, and her reply was that being an avid reader and keeping a book-list, she would review her books after she read them. The kids asked her what she was doing, and she explained to them, and having seen how much fun she was having, it wasn't long before the kids were all keeping book-lists, and two of the girls even started their own magazine (they were about 8 or 9, but the seeds had been planted, and had germinated). Encouragement is the key! Don't rush it, but it's OK to be excited about it - the enthusiasm will rub off! Good Luck! HTH -
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Old 03-10-13, 02:43 PM   #7
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I know this is an old thread but in case it would be of value . . .

First off I'm glad your son was OK.

Check your own reaction to the situation. Your child takes his cues from you. I'm sure you felt bad after the accident being you were involved, but if you made a big deal out of it ie. calling it a "massive wipeout" or getting emotional it is only going to feed his fear. My mother thought that I was cruel when my then child daughter would get an injury and I wouldn't do the "Oh poor baby" thing and pat her on the head and bring her ice cream. I have always stopped what I was doing and checked the injury assuring that she received any appropriate treatment, but I always kept a matter-of-fact tone (even if I was wound up on the inside) and never let her see my anxiety. When she was little she'd get the usual bumps and bruises, I'd clean her up, put on a bandaid, give her a hug and tell her "You'll live". She got tired of that but now as a young adult I hear her say things like "I wiped out on the stairs and got a big bruise on my elbow, but I'll live". She expects care and treatment but not babying.

Ask you son why he doesn't want to ride. Address reasonable concerns then let him know that you expect him to "get back on the horse". Tell him you miss riding with him and that the accident scared you too, but it's over, everyone is all right, and you are not going to let it get in the way of your love of riding.

It's not about how many times you get knocked down, it's about how many times you get back up (My daughter is tired of hearing that one too but uses it herself)
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Old 03-10-13, 02:53 PM   #8
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Every kid is different and my youngest daughter has had a few decent wipe outs and not only have they been lessons in how not to wipe out, it has also taught her that you have to get back on that horse unless we need an airlift.

Most times she has been really upset because a few times it kept her off the bike for a little while and she hates not riding more than anything.
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Old 03-18-13, 08:04 PM   #9
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I've had my nephews take a bad fall on a bike, and I've always told them that I've done worse and that every time you fall off the bike or have an accident its something to learn from, and that (although it may not be great) they should look back at what happened in order to prevent it from occuring again. Kind of gives them a puzzle, and helps them note that it wasnt because biking isnt safe, or that its a dangerous activity, but that a slip up which caused the accident can happen to anyone, from a young child to a person who's been biking for years.

I try to keep them optimistic about biking and also tell them stories about how over the top my wipeouts have been, apparently my pain makes them feel better.
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Old 03-27-13, 02:29 PM   #10
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maybe promise him some kind of compromise or assurance. like no more bridges. plus a safe following distance so that Daddy doesn't roll over him should he go down again. and/or offer new protection equipment like wrist, elbow or knee pads, etc. or even a new bike. take him to a store "just to look"

he is over the age of reason (7) so he'll have to make up his own mind based on his own logic. he has a complex human brain, don't oversimplify his capacity to reason. you sound like a good Dad (except for not being able to stop in time) ... good luck ...
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Old 04-09-13, 06:20 PM   #11
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Dude, you ran over him! Ouch!

Man, you're in a tough spot. Rather than you bribe him, have some other kid bribe him. Better that he doesn't see you for a little bit on the bike because you're the Dad who rode over him! Yikes! Maybe ask him if he forgives you. It might be empowering for your Son to know he can forgive and maybe forget the pain a little.
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Old 04-16-13, 03:12 PM   #12
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Happily with the weather getting warmer here, my son is slowly getting back on the bike.
I was so pleased to see him riding around in the yard one afternoon I didn't even mention the ruts in the damp grass.
The next day he was riding around in the parking lot at school (on a Sunday afternoon- no traffic) with the rest of us.
He's still scared to get back on a paved bike path, but I think with patience and positive reinforcement it's only a matter of time.
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