Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's All Greek To Me, Part 3

#3- You Can Not Teach Kids How To Ride In The City.

It is time for the last of the kids to learn the streets. Cameron and Úna both learned at about the same time and were older when we started teaching them. Between the changes in the City and getting our Xtracycle we have been able to start early with the wee monster. Declan is so proud of himself. He tells me it makes him feel like he is 6!


This last weekend was so lovely and quiet in the City we decided to give Declan a chance at a longer than usual street stint. We were able to let him ride with us for about 2 miles before we had to put his bicycle on the Xtracycle because of traffic. Declan was not happy about it, he wanted to keep riding. He gets very frustrated with all of the traffic in the City. He always points out when it is quiet out and the cars are absent. He always remembers which streets are the least trafficked and always asks that we use those streets.

To The Right

It is funny how something so simple could make something like teaching a five year old the rules of the road easy and convenient. Once we got through Stonestown and the crazy traffic, Declan was able to have his bicycle back to ride on Ocean Ave. I was surprised how far he was able to go and how positive the people who drove by were when they saw him riding his little bicycle.

Things Are Looking Up

Declan has been learning the rules of the road for a little while now. A couple of times a week we ride down to the library or the grocery store together. We have been riding on the sidewalk so that Declan gets the feel for his brakes and listening to directions. Doing this he has learned how to ride in a straight line, stop at intersections, stay with me at my side... by the time he is in 3rd grade I am sure he will be able to ride almost anywhere in the City with us without a problem.

We are not the only people in SF who are teaching their children how to get around. More and more I am seeing people get their kids out on bicycles. Even if it is just on the sidewalk it is the beginning of these kids learning how to be independent.

Everyday People

Meet Up

Mom & Daughter


Knee Pads & Training Wheels

Did you know you can sign up your kids for classes on how to become a bicycle commuter through the YMCA in San Francisco? A little myth busting group-style. Maybe by the time these kids are teenagers they will have a completely transformed city that riding a bicycle in will be simple fact of life and not something to blog about.


  1. The endurance and speed of children always surprises me. I started riding with my granddaughter before preschool while she was still on a tricycle. We had a mile track around through the neighborhood and she consistently averaged 8 mph and got bored before she got tired.
    When I last rode with her she rode a single speed always faster than I but she is patient and waits for me.

  2. I hope bicycling will always be interesting enough to blog about! But I know what you mean about the culture changing. I don't have kids yet, but probably will in the (relatively) near future. I know that many of the changes I'll see will be incremental, but hopefully my children and their children will have a safer environment and maybe even realize zero-fatality roads.

  3. Teaching kids to ride is the patriotic thing to do! Val

  4. There's some other families I've seen around our suburban neighborhood out on rides with kids, getting them accustomed to riding in the street. Usually I've seen them back in the areas where houses are still being built, so traffic is lighter or non-existent, so it's a perfect place to start. I hope to begin riding like that with my kids in the next year or two.

  5. This is so great to read!! Go Declan! He should be proud. That is a really great way to rig up his bike on the Xtracycle too- good options for getting around!

    We live in Portland, Maine, and have been teaching our 4.5 yr old son the rules of the road this year. He gets tons of positive feedback from people we meet on our way. Its been fantastic. It starts to get dark here around 4:30 these days so we rigged up lights on his little bike for our late afternoon bike rides up to the playground. Its a short distance, but so helpful to teach him how to be safe and stick close to me, etc.

    As a parent, I feel that learning the rules of the road on a bike is in the same category as learning how to swim. Its just the responsible thing to do as a parent, in a city or anywhere really.

    Great post! Thanks for the myth-busting!

  6. Great article this! Thanks on behalf of all parents with young kids. (psssst ...pssst .. I'm not married & am still available :p :D)

    Declan, you're adorable and wonderful! ;)

    @ Maryann :"As a parent, I feel that learning the rules of the road on a bike is in the same category as learning how to swim. Its just the responsible thing to do as a parent, in a city or anywhere really."

    Thanks for this paragraph.
    Yes, parents have to be responsiible for their children and guide ('teach') them to recognise what is right and what is wrong, when they are young.
    Neglect this duty, their children may grow up to be self-centred & irresponsible adults and a liability unto themselves and others around them.

  7. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

    Imagine what those kids are missing who are brought everywhere by car and don’t know anything about traffic rules.