I’m announcing a new section of editorial here at RKP, an addition to our existing sections of Mind, Body, Machine, Race and Travel. For the sake of brevity and obviousness, we’re calling it “Family.” The point of this new section is to address something that’s not really being covered by other cycling media, at least, not with any consistency: passing cycling to the next generation.

The desire to pass cycling on to our children is a near universal experience among cyclists. That RKP exists and you are reading it now is because we understand the bicycle to be an instrument of freedom, of both mind and body. This is a truth we hold to be essential.

I hope to pass cycling on to both of my sons. My goal is less to have them for riding company than to share this simple device that has given me so much joy, helped me see so much of the world, helped me learn so much about myself and my own strengths and taught me so many lessons about life. I’d like it to be a tool for growth for them as well.

I know that of my many duties as a parent, one of those is to pass on a belief system that will, hopefully, grant them a moral compass, and serve to inform it. Among the many lessons cycling has taught me, the sport has given me a greater grasp of the social contract, helped me to better understand the implications of treating others as we treat ourselves. Rather than just handing off a set of abstract rules, every time you do a group ride you learn real lessons about consideration and cooperation.

You’ll find some posts in this section double-posted, that is filed in both “Family” and another section. It’s my hope that this new section might serve as one-stop shopping for those who are more interested in cycling on behalf of their children than their own riding; this will save them the need to scroll through other content. And some of these posts will have a larger life than just a concern for the intersection between kids and cycling.

“Family” will be a grab bag of content. We’re going to review some kids’ products, talk about teaching skills to our kids and explore the world with two wheels and our kids at our sides.

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  1. Dave Cairncross

    This subject is near and dear.
    I have tried for years to share my hard life lessons, and my passions with my two boys. They have embraced camping and skiing/snowboarding but soon shunned surfing and fishing, and only my oldest enjoys modest forms of cycling. Passing on a love for cycling is a work in progress but I refuse to force it.
    As kids raised on the slopes of Mt Soledad, we tore-up the street. Riding anything with wheels to school, after school till dark, all weekend. When we got injured we rubbed dirt in it and got back on. We learned rule #5 early on, thru peer pressure. Parents didn’t have to kick us out the door, they had to drag us back in.
    Nowadays kids on the street doing anything is the exception. Parents and sedentary pastimes keep them in-where it’s safe. What joys they are missing! In light of the dangers, parents have to want to change.
    My commute the other day took me past a bike train-two parents and 6 kids riding bikes to school. I was sad at how we used to ride freely, now quite proud of the parents for taking some initiative, making a change. When you see the lineup of SUV’s dropping kids at the school, you marvel at this small but significant step.
    San Diego’s Ciclosdias event was another step in the right direction. A street fair with 2.5 miles of closed streets meant families could ride with small children safely. I sure enjoyed seeing the kids riding freely. A local farmers market and streetside merchants enjoyed the extra customers. Advocacy and our new bikeshare were well represented. Cycling businesses were kinda sparse?
    Mebbe you could do a piece on Cyclavia December 7th?
    I returned home tonight and found my garage door unlocked. Either I forgot to lock it when I rode-off this am, or my son took a ride. I confirmed all bikes and tools were there and a warm rush hit me. I went upstairs and my dreams were answered. My son told me about his bike ride with such excitement and joy I had to hold back my tears (can’t let him see that). My work in progress has some traction for sure!

  2. Les.B.

    If this going to be a family section, I wonder if there should be a link to a “bicycle safety for children” site.

    In this venue I’d be preaching to the choir no doubt by suggesting to the folks they talk to the little ones about safety on the bike.
    But putting a family section may draw non-bike-nerds to the site, and many people just give the kid a bike and send him/her off.

    Kids gotta know the risks so they can adjust their riding style accordingly. They gotta know it’s not like running around, only on wheels. They gotta know it’s a new different world.

  3. Ervgopower

    As a soon to be father I am also looking to pass on the joys of my two wheeled world. I look forward to what we can share and learn.

  4. Alan

    I look forward to the articles in the Family section. Not only will I surely be informed, enlightened, and entertained, but I will have a reference to share with others.

  5. kurti_sc

    Padraig, you could drop a permanent link in this section to NICA for those that have high school aged youth interested in competitive cycling.
    for what it’s worth, i’ll also share that my son…does not…appear…to be interested…in…ugggghhhhh! cycling!!!!
    He thinks Italian bikes are cool b/c he likes espresso; he routinely steals my favorite Conti cycling cap (the horse on the logo reminds him of Ferrari); and one day he wore my new wool blend arm warmers as leg warmers. Yet, he won’t even ride his bike over to the neighbor’s house.

  6. Author

    Everyone: Thanks for your comments. This section will contain as many different pieces about cycling and kids as we can dream up. If you scroll through the section, I’ve already included a number of relevant but previously published posts, including one on Ciclavia. And yes, safety will be a natural part of this mission. You can’t have fun if you’re too hurt to ride.

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