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Riding bike to school


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#1 UndergroundKelpie

Posted 17 May 2020 - 10:26 AM

Do you think 12 years old (13 in a months time) is too young to ride a push bike 15 minutes each way to school every day?

What do you do if it rains?

#2 José

Posted 17 May 2020 - 10:29 AM

I think the answer to questions like this is always 'it depends.'
e.g. does the child have special needs? What kinds of roads etc.

But in a general way I'd say definitely not too young.

#3 UndergroundKelpie

Posted 17 May 2020 - 10:34 AM

View PostJosé, on 17 May 2020 - 10:29 AM, said:

I think the answer to questions like this is always 'it depends.'
e.g. does the child have special needs? What kinds of roads etc.

But in a general way I'd say definitely not too young.

Bike path the whole way and 1 major road with a traffic light.

#4 lotsofbots

Posted 17 May 2020 - 10:38 AM

My kids rode to school as soon as they hit year 3. Bike path, one road to cross no lights( rule was they got off and walked bike across).

They rode home in the rain a few times, but if it was wet before they left for school they didn’t take bikes.



#5 caitiri

Posted 17 May 2020 - 10:45 AM

My oldest started at 10 But I’m not sure my next would be ready by then.  It’s very much child dependent.

#6 just roses

Posted 17 May 2020 - 10:58 AM

View PostUndergroundKelpie, on 17 May 2020 - 10:34 AM, said:

Bike path the whole way and 1 major road with a traffic light.
I'd be happy with that, assuming it was a responsible kid.

I'd be happier if I knew there were other kids also riding to school on the same route.

#7 born.a.girl

Posted 17 May 2020 - 10:59 AM

Generally, perfectly old enough.

Rain?  Depends on the level - light showers you get a bit wet.  Heavy rain you end up with squelching water in your shoes even if the rest of you is o.k. so hopefully there's an alternative.

#8 Mrs Twit

Posted 17 May 2020 - 11:04 AM

Is there a friend or sibling he/she can ride with? My kids were younger than that when they started (maybe 9 and 12) but they rode together which I was comfortable with. Once my DD left primary school DS was only 10 but wanted to keep riding. It was hard for me to let him go on his own but he arranged to meet up with friends who live nearby and ride together. It took a while for me to be comfortable with it but I have no regrets. He loves the independence.

I would drop him at school if it was torrential rain. But otherwise he had a roll up jacket in his bag, a hand towel to dry his seat and instructions to take his helmet into the classroom if it looked like rain during the day. If he got soaked on the way home he just changed and dried off. No biggie.

#9 hills mum bec

Posted 17 May 2020 - 11:13 AM

I think that is fine.  At our primary school all kids in year 5 & 6 have six weeks of bike ed lessons at the beginning of the year and are encouraged to ride to school.  No bike paths or traffic light crossings in our country town.

#10 AnaBeavenhauser

Posted 17 May 2020 - 11:26 AM

My son has been riding since he was 9yo - 20 mins each way. He has a rain coat with a hood for his trip to school on rainy days. I don't mind if he gets wet on the way home as he can change clothes once he's here.

#11 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 17 May 2020 - 12:03 PM

I started riding to school at 11, along footpaths but following a major road. I rode with a friend.
Riding to school in the rain was an issue. A number of times I was lucky to have my dry PE uniform and shoes to change into while I dried my uniform on the heater at school. As mentioned riding home in the rain, at least you can get changed.
The only other worry is riding in the rain is the effectiveness of rim brakes, especially on a big downhill. They are less effective. We didn't have disc brakes in those days, and I had a big, long hill home and yes, there were sometimes I almost didn't stop, or when I was old enough and riding on the road, slid into the back of a parked/ stopped car.
So if there's a big, long hill on the bike path and you do think they are going to ride in the rain, seriously consider a bike with disc brakes. Oh and upgrade the tires to tubeless, foam filled if possible, so you don't have to worry about punctures ( not that I remember having a pump and an inner tube as a kid, and I don't think I even knew how to change a tire. I soon learned when I started road riding as an adult!)

#12 DaLittleEd

Posted 17 May 2020 - 12:12 PM

View PostKiwi Bicycle, on 17 May 2020 - 12:03 PM, said:

So if there's a big, long hill on the bike path and you do think they are going to ride in the rain, seriously consider a bike with disc brakes. Oh and upgrade the tires to tubeless, foam filled if possible, so you don't have to worry about punctures ( not that I remember having a pump and an inner tube as a kid, and I don't think I even knew how to change a tire. I soon learned when I started road riding as an adult!)

OP, this is great advice.

I am experienced rider and I am still very cautious in the rain with my rim brakes. The only reason I am not upgrading to disc brakes is that I love my bike too much.

#13 dadwasathome

Posted 17 May 2020 - 12:36 PM

View PostUndergroundKelpie, on 17 May 2020 - 10:34 AM, said:



Bike path the whole way and 1 major road with a traffic light.

I would have absolutely no concerns. Did it myself (although tended to bus if it was clearly going to be raining).

At 12 a kids without other challenges ought to be able to work our brakes in the wet,  it I would buy discs if having to choose.

Edited by dadwasathome, 17 May 2020 - 12:38 PM.


#14 SeaPrincess

Posted 17 May 2020 - 12:48 PM

My 10yo rides to school on her own, but not every day. She meets up with a couple of other girls along the way. 12 and 14yo ride every day.

if it’s raining and it suits me, I’ll give them a lift. We have a couple of other families who we can carpool with, so once the offer is out, usually someone else will pick up. If nobody can pick up, they walk home.

#15 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 17 May 2020 - 12:49 PM

View PostUndergroundKelpie, on 17 May 2020 - 10:26 AM, said:

Do you think 12 years old (13 in a months time) is too young to ride a push bike 15 minutes each way to school every day?

What do you do if it rains?
My daughter rides her bike to school some days, if the weather is fine and she doesn't have anyone to walk to school with. No major crossings. No special needs.

She doesn't ride in the rain. Well, she won't ride her bike to school if it's raining, but she has ridden home a couple of times in the rain, no big deal as she just rides slower. When it was reallly heavy, she hopped off at a bus shelter and sheltered there until it eased up enough for her to ride home. As she has said, she can always push the bike home if she needs to, but that hasn't happened yet.

We have ridden a bit as a family and she is well aware of road etiquette, etc. Upon saying that, we have told her to ride on paths/footpaths as much as she can, rather than the road (there is one section where cars can come around the corner quite fast, so she knows not to be on the road for that section).

Our kids have been riding/walking to school by themselves for the past couple of years. We live within 2km of their schools, no major crossings to get there.

#16 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 17 May 2020 - 12:51 PM

View PostSeaPrincess, on 17 May 2020 - 12:48 PM, said:

My 10yo rides to school on her own, but not every day. She meets up with a couple of other girls along the way. 12 and 14yo ride every day.

if it’s raining and it suits me, I’ll give them a lift. We have a couple of other families who we can carpool with, so once the offer is out, usually someone else will pick up. If nobody can pick up, they walk home.
This is how we operate to. They have pop-up umbrellas in their school bags all the time, so if it's end of school and we're not at the gate, they walk/ride home. No biggie. (DD1 once left her umbrella behind. It rained. She's never done that since, LOL!)

#17 tothebeach

Posted 17 May 2020 - 02:47 PM

Mine locked up the house and rodehis bike to school at 10.   On the road/pavement with two major roads as well as some little ones to cross but we did it with him a few times over the weekends before so he knew the route.  

And yes, he rode in the rain.   And if he didn’t want to ride, he had to walk in the rain.   Both DH and I had left for work already.  

On a bike path I wouldn’t hesitate at nearly 13.  

At 11, my eldest was catching two buses to get to high school and back.

Edited by tothebeach, 17 May 2020 - 02:51 PM.


#18 Dianalynch

Posted 17 May 2020 - 03:34 PM

Generally I’d say fine, rain no worries wear a rain jacket, torrential rain is there a bus or other option?

#19 halcyondays

Posted 17 May 2020 - 04:15 PM

It’s a good time to start- plenty of kids out riding now in my area- one of the benefits of social distancing, I guess, less traffic, more local outdoor exercise.
My 12 year old rides to and from school, and if it rains he can chain his bike and walk or keep riding. (I’m not home when he gets back). Only about 2 km for us though, no bike paths just suburban roads

#20 SeaPrincess

Posted 17 May 2020 - 08:57 PM

I’ve just received notification that our public high school is adding a rain jacket to the uniforms! There’s my new answer!

#21 jayskette

Posted 18 May 2020 - 07:36 AM

tbh why is this question even in the 13-18 year section, even if the kid is 12?

#22 MadMarchMasterchef

Posted 18 May 2020 - 08:43 AM

My kids aren't that old yet but 12 sounds an appropriate age to ride a bike to school.  My kids will be 11 when they start high school and the plan is for them to catch the bus independentlhy.

#23 CrankyM

Posted 18 May 2020 - 08:46 AM

The majority of kids that age ride a bike to school. A lot start earlier but tend to go in groups. I know a lot of kids who start around 9/10. A friends daughter started at just turned 9 and was more complicated route then you mentioned. As long as they are sensible it shouldn’t be a problem.

Rain - most I know have a rain jacket that they can wear over their backpack or if it’s bucketing down they can take a bus or catch a life with parents or friends.

My kid asked us to move closer to town so he could ride his bike... (we live 25kms outside of town).

#24 born.a.girl

Posted 18 May 2020 - 08:59 AM

View Postjayskette, on 18 May 2020 - 07:36 AM, said:

tbh why is this question even in the 13-18 year section, even if the kid is 12?


13 in a month's time?

Be pretty weird asking a question about an ongoing activity for a nearly 13 year old in the younger section.

#25 Lady Monteagle

Posted 19 May 2020 - 09:46 AM

DS started riding this year, aged 9.  No bike lanes, just footpaths.  About 5 km, many road crossings, mostly small roads but one highway overpass that is awkward for cars and has a tiny narrow footpath.  It works because where we are, loads and loads of kids ride every day.  It's been really really good for him.  If it rains, he wears a raincoat, and gets wet shorts & shoes.  His shoes are cheap (because he wrecks them) so they dry quickly.  

He rode for his 1 day/week on Friday, and now there are heaps of cars but hardly any kids, but he's quite competent now so I swallowed that.




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