Flock of munchkins

This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  byogman 3 yrs, 3 mos.

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Apr 24 2013 at 4:19pm #

Borrowing “flock” to be evocative… I don’t speak for the organization or whether this may fly under their banner or would need someone else’s (Marcel, let me know!).

I think it’s a given that our kids want to ride and that we like them riding, too. It’s just becomes an uncomfortable prospect when we hear of a tragedy like just occurred.

There are some trails in parks and along the river of course, but they shouldn’t be the only option. And, IMHO, they aren’t. As long as we ride en masse quiet Sunday mornings with adult cyclists doubling as crossing guards, and keep trips to relatively quiet, claimable roads, our numbers should create safety… and really fun environment.

Here’s a theoretical first ride. Clocks in at 5 miles even, and it’s really conducive to splitting up with lunch or what have you in Schenley Plaza or environs.

Could also be made a little shorter, with easier parking and removing wide crossing by starting west of Wightman, there’s just nothing there on Wightman whereas Murray up near Forbes is kinda the center of everything so I thought it might be more attractive.

I’ve been looking to get to the point of doing this with my 8 year old and two younger sibs in the trailer. We’re not there yet, but in a group surrounded on all sides, I think it would be great.

I’d also like to do an eastern route incorporating Frick and Homewood Cemetery, Reynolds, and Beachwood Boulevard. It’s not hard to sketch something but it feel like it needs a mid ride destination, I’m not sure what fits, and all the construction makes things kind of messy and challenging. Suggestions appreciated.


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Apr 24 2013 at 4:30pm #

Hawthorne Trail, Reynolds, loop around the back of Sterret, see if the Frick grounds would allow a loop or a destination such as the greenhouse, then treats at Frick Park Market?


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Apr 24 2013 at 4:46pm #

I’m perfectly happy with a route that includes some trails, I just don’t know anything about the Frick park trails or roads east of frick so I couldn’t make a route including them that I had any confidence in the OKness of. Not sure what to do on the other side of Hawthorne trail in this case.

Excruciating detail is appreciated, or links from google maps, etc…


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Apr 24 2013 at 5:26pm #

A suggested minimum age or level of competency might be helpful. The 3-year-old on the stride bike might be juuuust a bit slow for the rest. But a 7-year-old on a 20-inch single speed is our target market.

I’d opt for a couple of rides, like a miniature Team Decaf ride, which gets faster and slower riders. 3yo striders in one, 7yo 20″ers in another, maybe a third with almost full-sized 12yo riders. Taking different paths.

But as ever, I’m overthinking it and thinking out loud, so I’ll shut up while I still can.


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Apr 24 2013 at 5:52pm #

I was thinking maybe 7 and up. If someone is strong enough to keep the pedals moving all the way up Schenley drive they’re golden. And if they do poop out, I can’t imagine the climb would really be any faster than walking pace anyway.

An alternative routing or something focusing more on teenagers would be interesting. I don’t have any teenagers, and don’t have any feel for what would be within parent’s comfort level there. But I think at least for starters, the novelty would make it fun for all even at comically slow place and I’d like to see a big crowd all together.


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Apr 24 2013 at 7:49pm #


Hold on to your horses, Byogman!!!! Let’s talk!!!! The FoC is in talks right now to discuss this plus planning, want to join in? :)


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Apr 24 2013 at 8:03pm #

it may be better to have a single event with a branching / multiple path route, while the agreed intention is to get the kiddos out & riding, its worth considering if a 7 yr old will have the same riding stamina as a teenager.
perhaps a common start, with a short loop for 5-10 (2-3 miles), longer for 11+ (5-6 miles), and then a full ride for the teens (8-10 miles). Rider ability / safety and parental concerns are high on the list as well.
Getting the pipsqueaks back to the start sooner also permits for fun & games to be at the starting area while older kids are on the roads.
(thinking stuff like mini-slalom course, micro sprint races, equipment speed challenges – how fast can you put on helmet / pads, chalk drawings, balloons, CUPCAKES!!! all that kind of fun stuff.)
all it takes is a parking lot, a few donated items, and some volunteers. It also lets any parents enjoy a ride with their older kids while knowing the lil ones are having fun too.

event planning is fun.


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Apr 24 2013 at 9:12pm #

My 2cents

-With kids you should be thinking Blocks rather than miles. Tuesday’s ride literally went around the block- maybe one half mile.

-there should be as close to a one-to-one ratio of kids to adults as possible.

-Insurance is of concern here, even if on a closed path. Kids can and do get hurt even with the best of safety plans.

-Having a police car with flashing lights is cool.

-Flock of munchkins sounds like a lot of fun!


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Apr 24 2013 at 9:47pm #

A really slow ride? Time to bring out the unicycle.


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Apr 24 2013 at 9:55pm #

I bow to everyone’s superior experience doing group rides.

I just figured we had enough +1s on the other ride to flock of munchkins it was time to break out a new thread to talk about this specifically carrying the attitude not just that this is a nice idea, but that we’re going to do this and the question is just how.

I’d certainly love to be involved in the discussions, and am willing to contribute what I can to the cause. There’s some interesting fodder for discussion already, but I want to get enough sleep tonight and I think a lot of these items are more efficiently hashed out in person. Just float some places and times my way and I’ll do everything I can to be there.

the beast

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Apr 25 2013 at 7:02am #

one thing I have learned from taking my kids on the streets is to have clear commands as to what they are to do.
Ie. when you want you want them to do something such as stopping, to have a clear command for it. if you say “hold up” one time and “wait” the next, it can confuse them, especially if you are behind them saying commands, its hard to hear.


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Apr 25 2013 at 10:52am #

I think it would be very good to start every ride with a quick review of the script both in terms of generic bike safety stuff and in terms of the necessities of group riding, good communication, and protocol for a couple likely eventualities. 5 minutes should do. Hopefully the parents pay attention…


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Apr 25 2013 at 10:53am #

Non verbal signaling from the front, verbal commands from the rear on the last point.

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