Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts

Friday, May 11, 2012

Things People Say Fridays #5 - Why The Heck?

As I've often written before, people often comment about the camera on my head. It doesn't usually make me laugh like a goof.

I Strongly Suggest You Laugh Like A Goof Sometime This Weekend! It Feels Good.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Little Monkey See, Little Monkey Do

I think many of us fall into a trap when teaching our kids to ride. We naturally "protect", rather than teach by example, our children. I have been introducing my kids, who are 7 and 10, to road riding on relatively quiet streets for a while. Last weekend, however, I thought I should walk my talk and try them on some busier (although of course not crazy) roads.

My kids were invigorated and excited by the experience. In short, I think it made them feel powerful. Empowerment is at the heart of successful road riding. You have to ditch your preconceived notions about your inferior position on the road, and stake a claim to your safety. For grownups, this is often very difficult. It is even harder when you know it's not just you, it's your most cherished people. Rationally, I know my kids will be more safe riding on the street as they grow up. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to stay rational when it comes to your children. I myself still don't assert my road rights as well as I should, although I think I do pretty well. I often see parents riding with their kids on the sidewalk, or having the kids ride on the sidewalk while they ride on the street. I have been learning as I go with this... my kids rode on the sidewalk too until I was sure they had sufficient control of their bikes to hold a nice steady line and work their brakes well.

I took one other leap last weekend; I rode at the front. In the past, I would tail the children, riding further into the lane than they did to make sure cars gave them a wide berth. As we set out on busier roads, however, it dawned on me that if they were to assume the correct lane position, in order to make a left turn or in approaching a 4-way stop, the single easiest way to show them where to be was to say, "ride where I ride". No shouted instructions, no complex concepts. Just "ride where I ride". Sometimes, as we approached a new road situation, I would pull our little group over and explain how the moves ahead were going to happen, and what to do if the situation changed between when I got there and when they did. It scared the hell out of me, and made them just mildly nervous and excited. It worked. I plan to do more of this sort of thing as the summer progresses; I hope my heart can take it, because I am more convinced than ever of its value to their enjoyment of bikes and their overall safety.

Being in front of the children demonstrated to them all kinds of things that would have taken years to convey by talking at them, and the more I do it, the more they will see safe behaviours as normal riding.

Like I said, I'm making this stuff up as I go. If you have good ideas or specialized knowledge of teaching road cycling to children, I would welcome your comments even more than I usually do.

Lead By Example,