Too Dangerous??

August 2nd, 2012 by Behaven Kids

My family and I went on RAGBRAI last week.  For those of you that don’t know what RAGBRAI is, it stands for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.  It’s 7 days of bicycling upwards of 450 miles across the state of Iowa.  It is the oldest and largest bicycle touring event in the world.  Approximately 25,000 bicyclists and their support staff participate each year.  Along the route, you go through many of the small towns of Iowa and get to experience the wonderful Iowa hospitality firsthand, not to mention all the wonderful food (particularly pie).

Our two kids, age 10 and 15, ride RAGBRAI with this.  This was their second year riding.  RAGBRAI is a chance for them to see the beautiful Iowa countryside, meet new people, and get away from the “busy-ness” of every day life.  Cell phones are everywhere on RAGBRAI but they are there as a way to keep track of each other in the large crowds.  They aren’t zoning out in front of a TV every day or glued to their Nooks and Game Boys.  They are getting fresh air, sunshine, exercise, new experiences, and time with their family.  That’s good, right?  Apparently not, according to a couple of bicyclists I overheard.

I think it’s horrible that young kids are out here riding.  They are only doing it to make their parents happy.  They are risking their lives.”

That is what I overheard two bicyclists saying one afternoon on the ride.  Lauren was riding with her dad a little ways behind me and I was enjoying some time to myself, just riding along and enjoying the scenery.  But when these two riders passed me, saying these things, it made me stop and think.  Were we risking the kids’ lives by letting them ride on RAGBRAI?  (It probably didn’t help that Lauren had taken a spill off her bike earlier that morning and gotten her very first RAGBRAI road rash.  Don’t worry, she’s fine.  She took it like a champ.  Jumped up, dusted off, took a few deep breaths, got a shiny band-aid on her shoulder, and finished the day’s ride.  64 miles.)

Anyway, back to the point.  Our kids are not forced to ride RAGBRAI.  It is something they choose to do.  My parents come along each year as our support crew, pulling the camper and setting up camp each day for us.  They can go with them and not ride if they don’t want to.  And some days they do that.  They are not forced to get on a bike and ride 60-70 miles.  Trust me, it’s not worth it to hear the whining and complaining all day!  And we teach them the proper way to ride to be safe and make sure they stop often for food and water.

Should I instead let them sit at home in front of the TV and consume junk food each day just so they will be “safe?”  As I watched the Olympics last night (especially those P&G commercials, the proud sponsor of mom’s), it got me thinking about it more.  Did those mom’s tell their kids not to jump off the high board because it might not be safe?  Did those mom’s tell their kids to get down off that balance beam because they might break their neck?  I’m not saying my kids are future Olympians (but who knows!), but should we really keep them from new experiences because it might not be safe?

What do you think?  Do we protect our kids too much or should I have kept them home or in the camper?  I’ve included a few pictures of our ride below so you can see what they would have missed out on.

Chalk art of our team logo (Team Handlebar) in Mt. Vernon, IA.

Stop for breakfast burritos in a cornfield somewhere in Iowa.  Yummo!!!

Pony!  Farm animals are everywhere!

The end.  Tire dip in the Mississippi River in Clinton, IA.  Can’t wait for next year!!!!!!!


Plus….a secret giveaway!!  Simply “like” us on Facebook for the chance to win a Raskullz Bunny Helmet (ages 5+, ARV $27) to keep your little one safe on their bike rides!


Giveaway ends 8/5/12 at 11:59 p.m.

4 Responses to “Too Dangerous??”

  1. August 02, 2012 at 5:15 pm, lace said:

    I’ve liked you on facebook.

    I’ve been working on not telling the girls “careful” all the time. I want them to have confidence in what their bodies can do.


    • August 03, 2012 at 11:19 am, Cindy said:

      It’s amazing what kids can do when we step back and let them try it out. And when they do fall, it’s okay. It teaches them that they can fail and get up and try again and be successful. My first reaction was to grab my phone and call my dad to come get us after Lauren fell with other cyclists all around her (I was behind her when it happened and watched the whole thing, unable to stop it. It was terrifying.) But I am glad I didn’t and she finished it and was fine. She was very proud of herself and we were (and are) very proud of her.


  2. August 03, 2012 at 4:21 pm, Autumn B. said:

    I find myself always cringing when the boys try something new – I’m always terrified they are going to break something but I’ve also realized that is part of growing up. We have to let them try new things – that’s how they learn. Obviously we have to make sure they are safe while they are doing it (which judging by the pictures you did – I see helmets, etc)

    I remember Reece’s last check-up….I hadn’t really looked at him well that day (it was probably about 4) and I realized that he was covered in dirt, he had bruises and scratches on his legs and looked like he had been playing hard. I made a comment to the doctor about being sorry that he looked so rough and the doctor replied to me that Reece looked like a 6 year old is supposed to – he hates the kids who come in with not a bruise on their skins and with callus’s on their fingers from playing so many video games.

    So I think it’s great that you have the kids out and active!


  3. August 07, 2012 at 1:10 pm, Kristen said:

    I think it’s terrific that you provide the opportunity to ride to your kids!
    I cringe too, when my 3-yr-old wants to do forward rolls & jump on the trampoline. Of course I want her to be safe & protected. But then I see her at daycare jumping around the outside gym like a little monkey, swinging from the bars, jumping off the edges, hanging on the corners and off the sides… and I see her SMILING and HAPPY.
    You are doing right by your kids to teach them safety, to trust their abilities & to choose healthy & active interests. Kudos to you! And “Way to go” to your kids for completing such an awesome ride!


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