Monday, 30 July 2012

Cycling to School Clubs

I took my daughter out to her new school this morning for summer clubs. She's no longer on the Trail-a-Bike, her new ride is a lightweight Raleigh Ivy (which I can recommend highly - at just 25lbs, it's very light for a kid's bike). She's had plenty of practice over the summer vacation and she's now very confident on the road and well able to handle the light traffic we encounter on our standard route to school.

So we're riding along and this older gentleman, seeing us riding along the residential street road, calls out "There are some big trucks up ahead". Sure enough, there were some heavy trucks parked on the road. Not sure why I needed to know this info, but okay.

Well, yeah, I know full well why he warned us. He sees my 9 year-old daughter riding confidently in the road and he thinks she's in danger from these trucks, both of which must (in his mind) be driven by slavering maniacs bent on killing children.

He'd probably have a stroke if he knew we were about to turn out of his (and our) quiet residential neighborhood, join a main road, cross a six-lane highway at a busy controlled intersection and then turn left from the main road into another neighborhood, all the while carefully and properly negotiating traffic (not busy traffic by any means, but still traffic).

People are nuts when it comes to cycling. Anyone would think I was taking her skydiving, or bareback bull riding at a rodeo.


  1. Quite the paradigm shift, eh?

    We moved to Alden, N.Y. in the summer of 1962. I was eight. For the first couple years, my parents wanted me to stay on the local street, but within a few years, I was riding my bike on NY33 and Walden Avenue, both 55 mph truck routes, to get to the school playground about four miles away. In high school, riding to school then included a stint on U.S. 20 to get into Alden village. It was not uncommon for us kids to ride, unfettered by helicopter parents, to such destinations. Too bad today's kids are taught to live in terror of such freedom.

    1. "Too bad today's kids are taught to live in terror of such freedom."

      It is too bad. And me and my wife have problems letting our daughter have the same level of freedom we had as kids. People say the world has changed - that it's a more dangerous place now, but I have my doubts. Certainly people's attitudes have changed, in that we all seem more fearful. I do my bit to combat that crazy fearfulness when it comes to cycling, but I must admit I'm not sure I do as good a job in other areas.

  2. The world has changed, but I fear that such fears as are prevalent today are self-reinforcing and bring us farther and farther from objective reality, if there is such a thing.

    1. Hi Ian:
      My first time to your blog. Nice blog & interesting article.

      I remember as a kid, I rode all over the place in India.
      Cycling was a way of life there, though there were quite a few cars and buses and lorries/trucks. My parents didn't have to tell me where not to go. Traffic in India did not move at 55 MPH back in those days, but on the Indian "highways" of those days, they drove probably around 35 MPH or so. I was only 8 (or so) years old, when I started venturing out on my bike.

      I used to take my daughter riding in Dallas/Irving, on the streets and I got the same reaction from some, as you did. They simply thought I was endangering the child by making her ride on the streets, properly!

      Peace :)