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  1. #1
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    How far should a 5 year old be riding?

    20km at 15kph to far? He can maintain 21kph, very high cadence, for about 2 km then slows to 13kph with his cadence looking like it's around 90rpm.
    Should I be worried about him hurting his knees?

    We did this ride yesterday and he LOVED it. He was always trying to pass me and wanted to race on the way back home!

    The little guy managed to hit a top speed of 25kph, downhill of course.

  2. #2
    Get me to In&Out
    Reputation: spookyload's Avatar
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    He should be riding as far as it is fun for him. Nothing further, and no pressure or expectations.
    Cyclists really need to learn a little Rule #5.

  3. #3
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    If he's up for it, I'd let him go as far as he wants. Just make sure his bike is set up properly and his knees should be fine.

    My six-year-old daughter did a whole 4 miles yesterday and was oh so proud of herself

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by spookyload View Post
    He should be riding as far as it is fun for him. Nothing further, and no pressure or expectations.
    Absolutely. If you're going on some planned ride (as opposed to just goofing around the neighborhood), it should end with him complaining he wants to go further. The absolute worst thing you can do to sour him on it is to make it even one minute too long. The only way to do that is to make sure he wants to ride more when you're done.

    This could be 5 minutes or 30, but ALWAYS err on the side of conservative to a fault. It's much better for him or her to complain about not riding enough. If they ride too much, it could take months for them to get over it.

    BTDT.

  5. #5
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    I've taken my 9 year old as far as about 15 miles. I check with her all the way about when she wants to turn. Don't want to make it a bad experience. Alot of wind here, so Imake sure she gets the fun of the tailwind on the way back.

  6. #6
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    As others have said...as far as they want to go with no pressure to go farther.

    With that said, you never really know how far they can/want to go, so have a back up plan on how to get them home if they are done and you are a little ways from home/car. Maybe plan some small loops that you know they will enjoy, then if they still want to go farther...add another short loop on and keep going until they want to quit.

    When I was around 8 years old, I did 26 miles with my family with no issues.

    When I was a little older (10-11 years old) I did a trip from Denali National Park to Anchorage (where I lived at the time) over the course of a couple of days, but we had vehicle support...so when I was done I could jump in the car. Aside from one very long hill...I was able to ride the whole distance.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by aardvark View Post
    20km at 15kph to far? He can maintain 21kph, very high cadence, for about 2 km then slows to 13kph with his cadence looking like it's around 90rpm.
    You're actually monitoring cadence on a 5-yr old?



    My 7yr old does 10mi no problem. (I have no idea what his cadence is.)
    "It ain't a teacup that the Queen gave you - it's a bike. Ride it!"

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the replies! I figured that as long as he wanted to keep going all would be well.
    This afternoon he practiced riding on the curb for an hour, the boy loves his bike.

    I am not monitoring his cadence. LOL that would be crazy. I'm just watching him pedal and guessing based on experience.

    Next time it will be a shorter loop. We would have been up a creek with no paddle if he decided that we had gone far enough.

    Hopefully he'll share my passion for cycling for a lifetime.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by aardvark View Post

    Thanks for the replies! I figured that as long as he wanted to keep going all would be well.

    Next time it will be a shorter loop. We would have been up a creek with no paddle if he decided that we had gone far enough.
    When I ride with my son I'm always sure to ride small loops around our house such that at any point in time we're not very far from home. My fear would be doing an "out and back" ride where you get 10km OUT and then he decides he can't go further!
    "It ain't a teacup that the Queen gave you - it's a bike. Ride it!"

  10. #10
    12 strings, no waiting
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    I would ride with a 5-year old like I would any other new rider. Start short and work your way up to longer rides. I would not be concerned about distance at first. Starting out, it's always more about time than distance.

    The ideal route for the first couple rides would be to pick a start point and then ride in a circle a few blocks or so around it. Sort of like orbiting a planet. That way, you are never too far from the start and can abort the ride pretty quickly if you have to.

    After that, I would do a route that you have ridden before with the kid in the trailer, or in a bike seat, so they have some familiarity with it and can predict when the end is coming. Predictability is key for this age. Explain and re-explain what you are doing and how long it should take. Keep them updated where they are at throughout the ride.

    Try to avoid hills until they are feeling good about their riding.

  11. #11
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    IMO kids are just like people, but smaller and better at bouncing off the ground without getting hurt.

    I don't think I would ever even consider the question from a health/safety standpoint. I know when I was a kid we used to jump off the roof for fun. I can't imagine riding a bike being something he couldn't bounce back from.
    Plus I can't imagine a 5 year old with the kind of drive to push to the point of physical destruction on the bike... most cry taking of a band aid. Kids bodies can take so much more abuse then their minds that I think the limit would be how much is the kid willing to HTFU not how far can he physically go.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by scryan View Post
    IMO kids are just like people, but smaller and better at bouncing off the ground without getting hurt.


    The first thing they teach in a pediatrics rotation is "Children are NOT small adults."
    "It ain't a teacup that the Queen gave you - it's a bike. Ride it!"

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