There is no hard and fast rule about the age children are road-ready. We LOVE having children along on our rides! Many people bring children on SPOKESPEOPLE rides, but generally the kids are riding attached to their parents’ bikes.
Many people at Cascade Bike Club believe children lack the coordination and judgment to ride on the road before they are nine. We’ve definitely had children younger than nine successfully riding solo with us as a parent closely monitors their child.
The whole idea is to have a fun and safe ride experience for everyone. Just riding in the park or along a trail when we make a stop might be exactly what a six-year-old is happy doing. SPOKESPEOPLE does not want children to be in a situation where they feel pressure from their parents or peers to do something they aren’t ready for. While we seek out the safest streets possible, Seattle is not yet a a mecca for family-friendly bicycling.
If you want to bring your younger child riding solo along on a SPOKESPEOPLE ride, give us a call prior and we’ll happily discuss the streets we’ll be riding on and help you assess whether your child is ready.
On some of our busier summer rides, we will arrive an hour early and provide some quick SPOKESKIDS training that will give us an idea about which kids really are road ready–it’s sort of like having a lifeguard do a swim test before children go out in deep water.
We have little passports the kids love that they can complete and bring to the rides in subsequent months that will indicate if they can brake well, ride consistently in a straight line, ride one-handed (to give turn signals), look behind their shoulder while going forward, etc. If children don’t have these basic skills, they aren’t safe on the road with cars. It is a pretty hair-raising proposition to take your child on the road with cars, even in a big group, when they are wobbling and weaving!
Children–and teens and adults–really enjoy the SPOKESKIDS training and feel it is a fun and worthwhile hour.