Teaching a kid road sense on a bike

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 30 Sep 2007.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Ok...I have a 13 year old son who has never really had any interest in riding his mtb, mainly because there arnt many safe places around here and the traffic etc.

    He will be going to a new music school soon and has decided to ride there. It's likely to be dark when he goes as well.

    So...I'm going to do the 'Dad thing' and take him out and show him how to stay alive. He can sometimes (like many teenagers) decide that whatever Dad says is balls and he knows better. Often he will listen to other adults though.

    So Has anybody here done anything similar/got any tips for the lad? He'll be reading this thread.

  2. col

    col Veteran

    I had the same problem,my son is thirteen too,he wanted to cycle to school with his mates,i told him to keep his eyes and ears open at all times,especailly at any junction,even alleys,and if he had any doubts whatsover,get on the pavement,unless someone is walking on it,then get off and push.Call me a worrier,but we do dont we.
  3. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Can you get him to wear a reflective jacket? or Ikea tabard? And stress the importance of lights and being seen. And cycle his route before hand in the dark and see what potential tricky bits there are and work out how to deal with them (for example get off and walk across a pedestrian crossing).
  4. stevenb

    stevenb New Member

    South Beds.
    If he goes near any roads that he has to expect the unepxected with car drivers.....as there are some who don't obey the laws and put unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists in danger when and where they least expect it.
    Worst case scenrio thinking really.....even though your son will think your off your trolley...:biggrin:
  5. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    I got a lot of the road sense I know from when my dad used to take me and my bro out when we were kids, I remember one of the trickiest things to learn (or maybe just what my dad was most worried we'd get wrong) was overtaking parked cars. If he's already quite confident cycling generally i.e. not wanting to be condescending but balance, cycling in a (reasonably) straight line, etc., then he'll probably not have much problems, but if he's not, then this is the main stumbling block as to why not to cycle on the roads.
    Other than that, just try and teach him to be confident - part of this will come from increasing his route difficulty gradually. Know where he's going, and make sure you know the road, that way you're less likely to worry. Spend time with the lad picking the best route.

    And another thing that my dad did which instilled in me a lot of road sense, is when he was driving and I was in the passenger seat, he'd commentate. This gets youngsters thinking about the road and what other road users are likely to do, what the protocol is at a particular junction, what you have to watch out for, etc. so it gets you thinking about it from an early age. When you're driving and your lad's with you, don't just motor along, talk to him about what you're doing and why (if you don't already)...
  6. Joe24

    Joe24 More serious cyclist than Bonj

    I taught myself how to ride on the road. I was confident on my bike before i went on the road, and had good balence which helped. I started on quiet roads, then built up to busier roads. And went on busier roads on saturday and sunday morning, so the roads got busier slowly. But i did go on busy roads in rush hour when i was learning. I think it helped with road positioning and working out with what cars are going to do.
    Another thing i struggled with was turning my neck far enough, and keeping the bike going where i wont it to at the same time. Its best practised on quiet roads.
    I had some road knowledge from watching my parents drive, and i knew which lanes i had to be in if there was any, and where i had to go and some basic local road knowledge, so i knew where i had to turn and where i had to be.
    Not cycled in the dark yet, but i have cycled when there hasnt been much light left.
    Lots of pracitse on the route with someone who know what there doing will help to build up confidence. Going out on other roads alot will help, so if anything happens that might happen on his route, like a car passing too close or being beeped or anything.
  7. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Has he had any cycle training at school?

    Explain the dangers of filtering up the left hand side and that its a definate no if its a lorry or bus.
  8. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Out of interest would you be OK with the trip if it was light... or is it the combination of both the dark and the roads?
  9. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Thankyou all...

    well we spent a couple of hours this afternoon justtalking about the dangers and then riding together. We stayed mostly on the quiet roads and practiced what to do at junctions, lookng, listening and overtakng parked cars etc. Then we headed out onto the bigger oad and went around the roundabout. All in all he did well (once he'd decided that it was worth listening!)

    The route is not too long and he should be fine after a while. I'll ride with him to start with. Riding behind him I can protect him from traffic witjh my position and shout instructions etc. I hav ebeen showing him how I approach junctions then having him do it while I ride behind him.

    On his first take at turning right he was faced with...you guessed it...idiot Essex man driving on the wrong side of the road, but he stayed calm, did as he was told and all was well.

    I want to keep doing this so he gets used to it more.

    The biggest hurdle was getting him to wear a hi vis vest (even though I wear one all the time). He said he didnt want to look like a baby. I think i may be in the market for some cool street cred looking reflective hi vis gear soon!

    I will call the council tomorrow and find out if there is a course. Good idea.

  10. col

    col Veteran

    Looks like you have it well covered there BTFB,your son is getting a better start than most,great stuff:smile:
  11. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Miserable Old Bar Steward

    Get him one of those Foska "bones" jackets, I've seen a link on here but can't remember where !!
    Those are cool !

    EDIT:- Err, maybe not, they're in the £80 region.
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