Author Topic: Big kids and bikes  (Read 1275 times)

JuliaB

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Big kids and bikes
« on: April 11, 2018, 02:33:07 AM »
I'm looking for some ideas of how to help my big kids get around. They are age 9 and 6. The 6 year old is not yet confident on his bike, the nine year old more so. I'm not ready for either of them to ride on the road!

I've had a Yuba Mundo cargo bike (loved it!) but the kids are now too big and heavy for it so have sold that and back to a normal bike for me. I'm trying to figure out a way that we can all bike to school, it's 5km (about 3 miles) but there's a big hill at the end with 100m climb in the last km.

My plan is: if we could bike to school regularly, everyone could get used to the setup and we would be able to do other family trips by bike too.

Anyone biking with bigger kids? How do you do it?

dashuk

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Re: Big kids and bikes
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2018, 03:19:29 AM »
Hi Julia,

I'm not at that point yet - mine are nearly-4 and 1yo, but am a fairly compulsive reader on the subject of family cycling (planning ahead!) so thought I'd try and make a few comments.

I guess my starting point would be to try and find a route which you were happy for the 9yo to ride on his own bike (even if you ended up allowing time to walk up some of that hill at the end). I've taught my first to ride alongside, between me and the kerb. Only on very quiet roads at this point but gives me enough control over where he is riding to be OK with the odd passing car. Other caveat I guess is I cycle a lot in traffic and give approximately zero shits about holding the centre of the lane and making overtaking cars use the other side. And I'm in the UK where the law is on my side in that regard. YMMV

If you can get the big one independent, then maybe look at a tandem for you and the smaller one? Depending on their size either something with a low enough rear stepover or with "kiddy cranks" on the seat tube to adapt for little legs.

If you feel you need to be doing the steering for both, maybe tandem and tagalong? Not exactly manoeuvrable, but at least they might both be helping push you along.

Triplet bikes do exist, even with kid-friendly rear heights. Not cheap, and sufficiently rare for buying used to be a challenge. The Circe Helios and Thorn Me'n'U2 are two examples which spring to mind. Both British companies so no idea about availability where you are.

Anything can be electrified if you don't think the kids will be enough help up the climb.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Big kids and bikes
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2018, 07:35:49 AM »
(Brief diversion: triplet bike? I think you mean trandem! https://goo.gl/images/zXT7pT)
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TVRodriguez

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Re: Big kids and bikes
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2018, 08:49:29 AM »
Our kids are 7, 9, and 11, and all are good bike riders.  We go most weekends to local parks and such with the bikes.  But we have not had them ride bikes to school. 

Our school is not far (less than 1.5 miles), but there are two very very busy roads between our home and their school, and our city is not very bike-friendly for adults, much less kids.  Almost every driver here has a cell phone in hand with the car in motion. 

We have ridden to their school together on a weekend now and then, on early Sundays with very little traffic.  DH wants us to ride with them on a Friday (more relaxed school and work day) to get them used to it.  Our 7 year old is fearless, but that gives me more agita b/c he thinks he can dodge any obstacle, and he can't.  Our 9 year old is a bit of a nervous rider, only comfortable with zero obstacles, who freezes in the face of any possible danger.  Our 11 year old is more balanced, but he's less interested in biking to school and will need lots of encouragement.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Big kids and bikes
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2018, 01:41:16 PM »
My 7 year old is an usually strong rider and he rides ahead of me on his own bike, and has done (on carefully selected routes) for well over a year. Maybe 2 years? My almost six-year-old rides behind me on the Burley Piccolo* and probably will for a few years. He is not as strong a rider as his brother.

I think teaching your nine-year-old to ride independently is your best bet. Maybe find him a summer bike camp?

Cubert

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Re: Big kids and bikes
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2018, 05:25:52 AM »
Practice, practice, practice. Get over to a big empty parking lot on a Saturday morning and set up some cones. Practice scenarios until everyone is comfortable. Then, take it to some quiet side streets for MORE practice. You'll get there. Reward them with a fun pizza lunch (so non-Mustachian but who cares) to keep their motivation and interest. Good luck!
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scottydog

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Re: Big kids and bikes
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2018, 07:07:25 AM »
Here's another example of a triplet bike / trandem:
https://www.urkai.com/portfolios/onderwater-child-tandem-xl/

We had a bakfiets with a similar wheelbase and it was a ton of fun. It was much easier to steer than most people expect. Although it wasn't exactly mustachian financially, it allowed us to sell a car and we have 3 years of wonderful memories of riding around with our 3 kids riding up front.

mxt0133

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Re: Big kids and bikes
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 01:35:52 AM »
If biking doesn't work for you just yet, they can use their legs.  I might take a bit longer but it will get them to where they need to go.

My oldest started biking really young and can ride on the road behind me, but there are side walks that kids can ride on too.

JuliaB

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Re: Big kids and bikes
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2018, 03:10:10 AM »
Thanks all, this has been helpful, I love the suggestions.
The 9 year old is taking well to being out and about on her own bike. The city we live in is not considered bikable so there aren't many bike paths around. However in a lot of areas there are good wide pavements with few driveways so we have been practising on those. She can easily ride 5km!

Meanwhile, I have been looking for a trailer bike. I tried a trail gator (bar to connect little bike to big bike) and an Adams trail-a-bike. Unfortunately neither would fit over the back rack. It's a fancy German e-bike and the back rack holds the mud guard on, also has electrics for the bike's integrated lights. I don't have the normal eyelets to replace the rear rack.

I've been looking at a Burley Piccolo (looks amazing!) but I can't work out if this will work with my rack. Do you have to install the custom rack?

Is there another option out there I hadn't thought of yet?

PS. 6 year old is big and strong but autistic and lacks common sense. I think it will be a while until he is safe on his own bike.

Thanks again!

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Big kids and bikes
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2018, 06:59:14 AM »
Yes, a Burley Piccolo works only with the custom rack. Man, tough challenge!