my son wants to take up road biking

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by rustychain

My son is after me to get him a road bike for his birthday. I am also a Epee coach and have some other kids that want me to help them learn the ropes of cycling for cross training.

I have been a cyclist for a very very long time. Raced on and off too. Anyway I find myself reluctant to get him (or other kids in my charge) involved. See to date (and this is over decades of riding) I have been hit by at least 4 cars that I can remember with two requiring hospitalization, crashed when some fool tied a rope across the entrance to a bike path, sent to the hospital when I hit a deer. Fallen on ice and wet leaves, the list goes on. I have had daily close calls with drivers as I live near Washington DC with roads congested with very self important types.

I also am frankly bummed with some aspects of our sport. Doping, hey you know so I will not say any more on it. Eating disorders are also accepted as good training on a wide scale basis (I am a certified Health and Nutrition coach BTW). It is not healthy! Not even close!

Racing in my local area is just about all crits, and pack riding skills and common sense are mostly lacking. I have witnessed to many needless crashes.

Despite all this I love the sport, really do. How can I promote this sport as it stands now to kids in my safe keeping? I am thinking long term that bicycling advocacy must be the answer but between now and then???

This sport is aging IMO as a result of these issues and perhaps more. Less kids are taking it up. How can I turn this around? Really, I'm asking for your thoughts
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by prendrefeu

Support your local cycling advocacy organization.
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by LouisN

I have two 10 yrs old daughters that are road racing this year (yes, twins). They're playing soccer also, and one of them received a skateboard last week !!!

The sport is very well structured in Québec, they used the french model as a base, and the kids under 14 yrs old have mandatory "skills games" used as races, along with criteriums. After a few years of developping piloting skills, they are very agile, and it's reassuring for a parent to let them use the roads to go training. Seriously, these kids can avoid many accidents, they really are great drivers.

In my (pretty remote) area, the kids under 12 yrs old in the local club leave the sports centre with the coaches, only using the cycle path. When they reach a safe zone, they use the small roads. But we know the sport, it's still a dangerous one.

But, in all seriousness, I'm more afraid to leave my daughter at the skate park, with the surrounding "wildlife" ... :shock: :lol:

Louis :)

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Tinea Pedis
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by Tinea Pedis

rustychain wrote:Less kids are taking it up. How can I turn this around?

By supporting your son and getting him and his mates into the sport!

Crashing and cycling are part and parcel. That's why God made kids such quick healers.

Also do not assume that somehow your son is bound to suffer the same fate as you.

Show him what the sport is all about. If he's not keen then no doubt you'll get the idea when there's an inch of dust on the bike. Otherwise I cannot imagine much better than going for rides with my son :thumbup:

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Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez
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by Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez

Only thing I hated in cycling is that you don't have a normal student life.
Had to say no to hundreds of parties to win 4 races :noidea: :noidea:

But cycling brought me good friends and memories too.

Oh, and it helped to say no to WW (weed and whisky)

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Powerful Pete
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by Powerful Pete

What Tinea said!

I began riding when my father "rediscovered" the sport after a 20 year hiatus. On roads in Rome with our traffic (DC was is and will always be a breeze in comparison, even with the cab drivers!).

Sure I fell. Sure I had close calls. But I absolutely love it and it is probably the greatest passion that my father has instilled in me. Life is dangerous, but that does not make it any less worth living the maximum. And I have a heck of a lot of fun and less of a belly (notice I did not refer to fitness - I am also a rather passionate Italian when it comes to food! :wink: ).

And how does doping at the highest level of the sport influence your desire to pass on the passion? Do baseball loving fathers balk because of MLB drug use? Do European football parents worry about betting scandals?

All meant in the best spirit of course.

Starting with my daughters now... my only fear has been to turn them off to the sport by being too much of a taleban about it, so I have shown "disinterest" in their pursuing the sport. But now the 12 y.o. has hinted to a desire to ride with me "if I build her a nice frame with Campagnolo parts"... :mrgreen:
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by Mik

How can I promote this sport as it stands now to kids in my safe keeping?

By leading by example! Show by your actions and advice how one should conduct themselves.....No different than any other aspect of life and sport...
In 25 years I've raced and still ride quite a bit and my wife as well....I've been hit by cars 3 different times, my wife once, had a horrendous racing accident (knocked out/broke 4 teeth), had a close friend killed riding his bike and if my 9 year old son someday wants to take up the sport I will be nothing but supportive....
I have 2 brothers that also raced and we still all ride and our parents were not supportive of our choice because of the dangers in racing and riding.....Not the way any of us wanted to go thru life so we did it anyway....I have better health because of it, met some awesome people because of it, been to some beautiful places because of it, and learned a few life lessons because of it.....

In my opinion the positives outweigh the negatives

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by chipomarc

You may want to put your kid on a heavy course of the drug Ritalin in order to insure he doesn't grow too high for road cycling.

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by campbellrae

I recently got my girlfriend a road bike and she has since started to ride with my club on the gentle Sunday rides and is enjoying it. She gets pretty nervous with some of the drivers around but who doesn't. I've taken her MTBing a few times and that gave her a bit more confidence when it comes to her ability to handle the bike and seems to have boosted her confidence on the road.

I have been racing since I was 9 both on and off road having the usual mix of incidents that most of you will have experienced and was pretty apprehensive about taking her out, but she is enjoying it and as long as I don't nag at her to go out we have a nice ride on my recovery/easy days! My parents were pretty nervous about me starting, but once they saw how much I enjoyed it they were nothing but supportive. Is there anywhere near you that organises kids training like the Go-Ride stuff we have in the UK? Basically lots of kids with a few official coaches in a safe are like a park or tarmac velodrome where they are shown the basics and can get used to bunch riding in a safe environment with no crazy drivers?

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by xnavalav8r

Include your child. Be a role model and a mentor. Be a coach and a cheerleader. Encourage without pressuring. If you love to ride, your child will love riding with you. You could plant the seeds of a lifelong passion. Kids can do amazing things with a bicycle. And you will share some amazing memories if you dare to challenge yourselves. yes, there will be scares. There will be falls and crashes, road rash, bumps and bruises, and maybe even broken bones. But so are the risks of sport... any sport.

Get him and his friends on the road. Just teach them the rules of the road so they will be respected and accepted by others on the road.




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by stella-azzurra

Teach them the rules of the road.
Teach them how to be aware and alert and break those rules of the road if they need to.
Teach them how to fall off a bike.
Teach them to use common sense in all situations.
Teach them to look at where the motorist is going not where the motorist is looking.
Teach them bike handling skills.
Teach them to pass a motorist on the left not the right. (countries with right-hand traffic. ... _right.svg The opposite for the rest.)
Teach them to ride at least 3 feet from gutter and 3 feet from a parked car.
Teach them to look out for people sitting in parked cars and when cars are pulling out of a parking spot.
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by Chirobike

Interesting post. I started cycling in 1982 on my own, worked in a shop 8 years and followed the sport every since. First, I'd say don't expect a huge following or participation. It's, at best, a fractured sport in the U.S. and focusing more on events for people to participate in is a better use of resources.

Having some event to work towards and be with other like minded people offers more than having a loose knit group ride with no purpose other than to train. It's just a sport that's hard to organize b/c of logistics and reliance on selfless volunteers (which are hard to find). Here in Texas, it's not unusual to have 1000+ riders (all ages/abilities) to show up for rallies, centuries and now Gran Fondo's. The sanctioned races pale in comparison even for a big state like this. I'd say to enjoy cycling steer kids toward these events and less emphasis on racing. I love racing but it's an obsessive, expensive and time consuming sport---all things kids have very little of.

I applaud you for your efforts, it truly takes a selfless individual to tackle such tasks and I would have never stayed in cycling if it wasn't for people like you so "thank you". Good luck.


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by tonytourist

I enjoy biking with my dad, and I know he has an equally good time when we're out on the road together.
Hopefully you and your son will be able to do the same.
You should be happy that your son wants to get out and ride with you, and he has some other potential people of his level to ride with. If you were to show them all the ropes, what to do and not to do, they would be able to go by themselves eventually and it is always better to ride with at least one more person. I think the importance should be having fun and being safe, worry about the racing later.

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by micky

Make it look like a game and not aiming at trophies and so on.

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by Tapeworm

If you are worried about injury then ensure your kids don't play any football code - propensity of injury far greater than cycling!
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