Kids find their own pace

Having trouble getting your children to ride a bike? Get them together with their peers

I had a very proud moment this last week. No, I didn’t win any races, I didn’t clean any nasty climbs and I didn’t set any records on Strava. I did take my four-year-old daughter riding, though, and when I tried to help by holding her up I got yelled at.

“Daddy let go, I know how,” and then she just rode away.

Once she got going she leaned forward and pedalled as hard as she could thinking she was racing. She actually picked up some good speed; it was pretty awesome to watch her not only ride on her own, but try to outrun mom and dad.

To be honest, I was hoping she would be riding her pedal bike earlier and I am sure she could have, but if you know kids you know they often do things on their own time. No matter how much we suggested pedals, she would just go back to her run bike.

One thing that really helped get her motivated was riding with other kids. Even on her run bike, If I took her out we would ride for fifteen minutes until she wanted to quit, but take her out with other kids and she would ride for an hour plus every time. When the time came for the transition to pedals I tried a bunch of times with limited success, but when she saw other little kids riding pedal bikes you could see the wheels turning in her head and, a short time later, it was her asking for the pedal bike. Within a few days she was pedalling on her own and now I have to run as fast as I can to catch her.

I see this with older kids as well. They all know how to ride, but put them in a group and the progression is amazing. Again, it’s not their parents telling them to do something — it’s the kids just feeding off of each other, and before you know it they are all riding farther, riding with more skill and having more fun.

If you’re looking to get your kids riding more, consider the Swicked Monday night group rides. Every Monday in July we are adding a youth ride to our group. If your kids are 10+ and can ride for 90 minutes at a casual pace, this might be a great fit for your family. Just click on swickedcycles.com for all the details.

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’