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Kids riding road bikes?(19 posts)

Kids riding road bikes?MKD
Sep 4, 2003 8:23 AM
My 13 year old daughter wants to road bike. She currently mtn bikes and loves it. She says she likes to climb better than downhill, just like dad :). I am unsure about road biking though because fearful of yahoos in cars hitting her. I could not live with my self if something happened to her. I have consider buying a tandem. Or maybe just letting her ride in organized rides where there are many cyclist and signs to warn drivers. She is also wanting to do junior triathalons so she may need her own road bike. Do any of you have kids riding? What age did they start? How far do they ride? Thx.
Same dilemma here...mdehner
Sep 4, 2003 9:02 AM
I love to ride with my skinny 11 year-old daughter, but I feel terribly guilty watching her struggle on hills with her hybrid bike that weighs probably 10 pounds more than mine (body-weight to bike weight ratio, that'd be like me riding an 85-pound bike).

I too am interested in finding a solution. I have contemplated getting her a decent road bike setup, but I have wondered about her comfort. She loves to ride and we have done several 20 and 25 mile rides, but I'd sure like to make life easier for her.
Sep 4, 2003 9:11 AM
1. If you want to get her into road riding; make sure she only rides with you/mom. You can help ensure she's at the safest possible positions, and you can run tackle when necessary.

2. She certainly doesnt need a road bike to run tri's.

3. She probably wouldnt enjoy the limited freedom (and visability) of a tandem as much as her own bike (mtn or road).
re: I built the tandemcyclopathic
Sep 4, 2003 9:22 AM
and my older son, 11, actually quite enjoys riding with dad :) besides not needing new bike every year, safety /I do not trust him to ride out of neighborhood onto busy/ the main advantage we're going with the same speed and we can go a lot longer before he gets tired. Recommend!


PS he is pretty small I had to use kidback adapter
re: Kids riding road bikes?gtx
Sep 4, 2003 9:30 AM
I was already borrowing my dad's too big for me Motebecane and going for long solo road rides at 14 (which was probably safer than what I was doing previous to that, i.e. throwing myself off jumps on my BMX bike). But if my daughter decides to take up riding in any serious way I know it's gonna scare the hell out of me. I think I'm gonna encourage her to get into some safer. Like bowling. ;)
I encourage my boys (ages 14 & 15) to get out on the road.dzrider
Sep 4, 2003 9:31 AM
My wife's been more hesitant, but for the past 2 years I've been telling them "You wanna go someplace? Ride your bike." We both understand the risks, the question is whether it's acceptable. I've tried to lessen it somewhat by banning a few dangerous roads and telling them the alternative routes. I'm unsure if I'd feel the same about a daughter.

This summer my older boy crashed on a straight, smooth, lightly traveled road. He lost some skin and bruised one hip and shoulder. He's a skillful rider and I don't think he's unusually wreckless, but kids do have empty headed moments. Crashes are likely.

As for distance it appears to be mental not physical. Neither boy has ever trained for riding but both swim competitively and play football. My younger son has no interest in endurance efforts. He rode 45 miles at age 10 but would no longer consider such a thing. We have yet to see my older boy reach a point where he was too tired to continue. He's done 70 miles easily and plans on a 50 mile charity ride Sunday. Kids have incredible energy and stamina as long as they don't get bored.
I've got four bikes, so my daughter having two...PT
Sep 4, 2003 9:56 AM
...doesn't seem too extravagant. I bought my 12 year-old a road bike this past winter (52 cm Specialized Elite, mix of Ultegra and 105, triple chainring -- room to grow). There were a number of reasons to splurge (she already has a mtb) and most of them are not going to be relevant to someone else. She loves the road bike and we've had some serious fun. I understand the concern with cars, but at least in my area we have fewer vehicles than average and consequently most drivers are respectful. As parents we all must way off risks and rewards -- does fostering a healthy lifestyle (road biking) negate the risks of wayward drivers? They'll be different answers for different people, and our answers might change if our roads were busier...

We did the Tour de Wyoming this summer and she pulled off 265 miles over 6 days on her own bike, and another 100 miles total on two of those days on the back of a tandem. She and her mom have been throwing off 25 mile rides on the weekends -- we haven't convinced the 5 year-old to get back on the tandem since the Tour de Wyoming so we hang out at home (memories of his sore bum are apparently still too fresh...). We had friends on the ride with kids on mtbs with road slicks and they usually finished the day in the sag wagon. I'm not going to ride 60 to 90 miles on the road on my mtb, so I'm not going to ask it of my kids. I want them to enjoy it, not dread it.
I've got four bikes, so my daughter having two...Zenith
Sep 4, 2003 10:46 AM
I am 27 and ride a 50cm. Your daughter is probably taller than me (I'm 5'0") and has a better bike than I do to boot. What a lucky girl...

And what a lucky dad for having a two-wheelin' family.
Yup, we're lucky..PT
Sep 4, 2003 11:47 AM
I probably went overboard on the bike, but I also got a good price on it (used). Last year my daughter was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis -- I would have bought her the moon if I could. It turns out that cycling is something that doesn't irritate her joints, so it was easy to rationalize splurging on the bike. She's looking pretty good on the bike right now, and I can probably still make it fit in two years when she's 5'7" and still growing...

I expect the day to come when the kids get less excited about riding. When they were younger they'd watch longingly as we left them with a babysitter so we could go on a longer ride, so the concept of being allowed to go out on their parent's "dates" is pretty compelling.
Wow, pretty impressive for 12. I think I will get her a road...MKD
Sep 4, 2003 12:06 PM
bike. The roads here aren't too busy especially if I plan some less traveled routes. Her mtn bike only weighs 22+ lbs, but another 3-5 lbs lighter would help her for the longer rides. What's your daughter's usual avg speed for a ride? Was there much climbing in the Wyoming tour?
Wow, pretty impressive for 12. I think I will get her a road...PT
Sep 4, 2003 12:42 PM
There wasn't much climbing on the Tour de Wyoming this year, but with me setting a steady pace on the tandem with the young guy, she did quite well -- much better than if I let her set the pace up the hill. Average speed was pretty good, probably in the 15 to 16 mph range. She learned to draft pretty early on and preferred me to lead rather than her mother -- the tandem leaves behind a pretty sizeable air pocket. My wife is a very talented athlete (amazing aerobic capacity) and would have been a killer road racer but lacked the nerve for pack riding. My daughter is already a better bike handler than her mom and caught on to the drafting thing very quickly. We've had to warn her off drafting her friends as they ride around town (since we're in Wyoming there is almost always a wind to try and hide from).

On the Tour de Wyoming there were "frequent" refueling stops that were appreciated by the kids, roughly one every hour. That seems to be an important ingredient for riding with our kids -- I don't want to put my foot down until the ride is done, but I've learned that breaks to shake out the kinks and find the occassional horny toad or grasshopper keep up the enthusiasm.
Kids riding road bikes.Andy M-S
Sep 4, 2003 10:39 AM
I have four kids; I've built up road bikes for the oldest two, (daughter, 14 and son, 12). They love riding, and we've done up to a 30 mile round trip; in a couple of weeks, we're doing a 50 mile point to point (with van pickup at the end).

I started riding on the road with them when they were 11 and 9...

I used to be scared of them riding on the road. I still am, but not nearly as much. I've been riding with them a while, and they've learned fairly safe riding techniques.

They do take their bikes everywhere--the library is a popular destination--but then we're in a fairly suburban locale, and a suburb to a fairly small town, so that probably makes a difference.

Your daughter needs her own bike; it's scary, but she's growing up, and needs the autonomy personal transportation provides.
my dad started me at 14PmbH
Sep 4, 2003 10:40 AM
I had been mountain biking for one year when my folks decided that I was ready for the road. Dad lucked into some extra cash in 87 and bought me a Klein Quantum in hopes that I'd stop skateboarding for good, and spend all my recreation time on the bike. It worked...

Neither of my parents were riders at the time, so riding with them wasn't an option. What they did was got me into a local club and drove me out to join in club rides. Dad was a highschool teacher, so he tracked down students of his that were road riders and introduced me to them. They let me go pretty much anywhere I wanted, as long as I told them where I was going, and went with other (more experienced) riders. They also were willing to come out and pick me up when I had mechanical failures, bonks, etc.

Rides @ 14 were usually about 15 - 25 miles. Mileage ramps up quickly with all that youthful energy, and I did my first century at 15. The parents came out and stayed nearby (off the route, but in the area) just-in-case. I had a great experience growing up with cycling because my parents were so encouraging of it.

re: Kids riding road bikes?John445
Sep 4, 2003 11:58 AM
My sons are 9 and 11. I just purchased an XS Giant OCR 2 for the oldest and a Specialized Dolce Sport for the other. They are absolutely ecstatic. They are only allowed to ride with me, and as we ride I exagerate each safety decision made and explain why. I have equipped them well and am going to give them lessons on changing flats. When I feel like they are ready (maybe a year of riding with myself and my group on recovery) I will let them ride our training route alone. They are currently riding 3 times a week, about 16 - 30 miles a ride, averaging approx. 16mph. I am happy with their progress and by riding in my group they are learning ettiquette (sp) far sooner than most. We are planning a family charity ride of 30 miles on Sept 20. BTW my wife rides a TCR 1 also. Yes I am also a very lucky man!!

re: Kids riding road bikes?Psalm 147-10_11
Sep 4, 2003 12:35 PM
I have four boys (ages 12,10, 8 and 5). The older two both enjoy mountain bike riding, but have expressed an interest in getting road bikes as I do 95% of my rides on the road.

Over the winter, I found a 49cm road bike circa 1970s (on the side of the road with a "free, take me" sign on it). I pulled the components off, spread the rear drop out and put on some old Campy Veloce parts. It was a lot of fun building the bike up together. But it seems that the fun was mostly in putting the thing together. I took my oldest out on his first road ride, and we road 15 miles at 16 mph but he got very uncomfortable as the ride progressed. His rear end and back were killing him, he said. In hind site, I should have taken him on a much shorter ride. We did have fun and even got passed by a few pacelines. While he thought that was great, I probably aged 10 years seeing him squirrel all over the road when they passed within inches. Man, I was nervous. The photo below was taken when we got back.

We haven't ridden the road bike since, except to tool around the neighborhood. I think it may still be a bit too big. I'm happy I didn't put a lot of money into it and would caution you not to make that mistake.

One other thing to consider. Road bikes are much faster than the bikes kid's usually ride due in part to the gearing possibilities (52 x 13 in this case). This also makes me nervous as my kids are competitive and will try to race each other. With traffic, stop signs and who knows what else, this might not be a good thing. For this reason, I have refused to allow them to put a computer on the bike as I'm afraid they'll spend more time looking at the max speed and not the traffic.

Now that we have a road bike, I am reluctant to encourage the kids to use it. Currently, it is in the basement on a hook and can be used only with me. I am very supportive of their riding mountain bikes however. This road bike reluctance surprises me a bit as I very rarely ride my mountain bike but manage to log about 4000 miles on the road each year.

We did spend 3+ hours riding mountain bikes in the woods on Labor Day and I think it was my most memorable ride of the summer. At times, I could barely keep up with him. When we got back to the parking lot, he was so proud when other riders who were coming off the trails complimented him on his riding. I think I may be riding more in the woods this fall :-)
My son is 7 y/oBNA_roadie
Sep 4, 2003 2:37 PM
and he just ran out of gears with his Trek Mtn Lion 60, which I converted with slicks and a larger chainring. I finally found him a "real" road bike. Orbea Carerra with 24" wheels and Shimano (yuck) 7 speed RSX drivetrain. The brake hoods are adjustable for reach and have thumb index shifing similar to campy. It's GREAT, he really loves it and it's cool watching him out of the saddle in the drops stroking it.
photo linkBNA_roadie
Sep 4, 2003 3:21 PM
Nice looking bike(nm)Steve D
Sep 4, 2003 4:18 PM
re: Kids riding road bikes?Kiwi Rider
Sep 5, 2003 1:45 AM
I'm 15 and live in NZ (as the name suggests). I live in Auckland which is probably the most busiest city in NZ. I love riding and I started when I was 13 after my sister. She quit at the end of last year. about 3 months in to my first season I managed to convince my parents to get me a new bike, this being a 2001 (new) Giant TCR 2. Our roads aren't too busy but we do have some shocker drivers, hate to say (no racism) but most I've had close shaves with were of Asian ethnic background. However I enjoy road riding and may be getting a new bike next year. I don't know how the US compares to NZ traffic, but from experience I mainly ride with friends from my club or on bunch rides. Our neighbourhood is quiet so sometimes after school I go and just do around 20-30km, lots of hills.
So yeah, thats my opnion, buy your daughter a nice bike (not too much) and see how she enjoys it :) BTW, my parents don't ride.
Kiwi Rider