Suitable distance for a four year old?

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Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby deadfall » Sun Sep 16, 2012 21:05 pm

My little boy, just turned four, has been cycling since just before his third birthday and has been the very proud owner of a Blue Cnoc 16 since May. Since then I've regularly been taking him on rides of up to 5 miles without problems and I thought it was time to up the distance.

On Friday afternoon I took him on a 10 mile ride (10 minute break half way though) which went really well until the final half mile when he finally had enough and got a bit miserable.

Today I planned a 12 mile ride with 15 minute breaks every 4 miles. The ride went smoothly up until a little while after the 1st break when we had to sit under a tree for 5 minutes due to a rain storm. The weather stayed drizzly and cold after that and he agreed that we'd just carry on for the rest of the ride. He stayed happy up until the last mile or so when he started complaining.

Both times, when we got in he complained about the length of the rides, but an hour later was saying how good they were. He's not complaining of sore legs and apart from being a bit more tired than normal doesn't show any negative affects of the ride. Both of the rides are relatively flat and are on good quality off road cycle paths

Personally I think he's capable of a 12 mile ride if we stick to the breaks and make them long enough and in interesting places (playgrounds or the beach). But the other half is now complaining that 10 miles isn't a suitable distance for a four year old and he shouldn't do more than 5. Who's right? If you have a four year old, how far do they ride?

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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby Daz555 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 22:36 pm

If they get moany on the ride then yes I'd say a bit too long. It is not just about tiredness - attention span and boredom have to be considered as well.

Last thing you want to do is put him off.
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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby lc1981 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 07:55 am

Given a couple of years (and some sausages, apparently), he'll be capable of this.

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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby oxoman » Mon Sep 17, 2012 08:19 am

My 7 year old is currently up to about 20 miles but runs out of steam on hills, as its normally on trails i tend to be on my MTB so i am low enough to come up the side of him and give a gentle push until he's recovered or its downhill gain. I always make sure he keeps pedalling though. He started riding on his own at about 5yrs old and did 8 mile on his first trip and wanted more. If you keep them interested in what,s going on around the ride and frequent stops, not just every 5 miles etc it seems to work for me.
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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby bompington » Mon Sep 17, 2012 08:38 am


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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby fnegroni » Wed Sep 19, 2012 13:39 pm

My son has the opposite problem: loves hill climbs, hates monotonous flat roads...

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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby Richj » Tue Oct 02, 2012 16:44 pm

I have a 6 and 4 year old. Furthest the 6 year old has ridden is about 11 miles (cycle paths and quiet roads), he's capable of more but gets bored too easily and the ride wasn't much fun. I tend to stick to off-road riding, throw in as many hills as possible with lots of techincal sections (riding round trees, narrow paths).

I think learning skills, like cornering fast, riding out the saddle, riding one handed are more important than trying to ride far and this age.

Both kids have raced (well ridden) cyclocross races and they loved it.

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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby craigw99 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 15:59 pm

be carefull you dont to too much to young.through out my teens i cycled loads 30+ miles every weekend + paper round ,cycle to school ,play in the woods after school etc i always had sore legs - doctor said my muscles were too developed for my bones and i was bending them! 10 miles sounds like the max to me. although a friend from aberdeen said his boy who is 7 does 25 miles ok - mine get fed up after about 7
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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby deadfall » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:49 am

I'm going to see how he does on a 9 mile sky ride this weekend. The route allows a few jumping off points close to home if he gets too tired or bored, so I have a safety valve. But I think I'll max him out at 8 miles until next summer.

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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby passout » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:50 am

My four old wouldn't want to much more than 10. Max is 8 miles so far.
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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby othello » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:56 pm

Distance depends on terrain really. At 4-5 years my two were happily spending a couple of hours riding around Swinley Forest, starting to try out some of the marked trails. I don't think they ever did more than 5-6 miles, but it was all skills work, with lots of concentration.

Now at 6 & 7 years they will happily do 20 miles on road on their road bikes, even further sometimes, and a 10 mile marked blue/red track at a trail centre. Their concentration is better, as are their skills. In fact the problem is more they are so switched on they DON'T STOP TALKING the whole ride :)
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Re: Suitable distance for a four year old?

Postby chrispower80 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:54 am

I regularly take my 4 year old girl on 10-15 mile rides and she gets on very well. What I tend to do is to get my wife to meet us at our destination with the car, usually in a place with something very attractive to kids (adventure parks, water parks, tourist attractions). I find that the focus on the destination gets them through fo rthe most part. I also take a bag with some snacks etc the usual, but I also take a drawing pad and pencils and we stop off at interesting points to draw pictures, find these kind of things take the mind of the distance. I've have still yet to encounter a moany child when we arrive at our destination as she is fully concentrating onthe swings/roundabout etc.

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