How do you get your nine-year old to ride 26-miles and think it was fun? For starters, you head to the Dakota Rail Trail (my full review from June can be found here). About 6-miles out you stop at the Minnetonka Drive-In and enjoy a burger and a malt. Then you continue out to St. Bonifacious where you challenge him to a motocross race. On the way back, you stop at the same drive-in for a refuel which means an extra large root beer. OK, we didn't set any speed workouts. Except for those sprint intervals I tricked him into....top speed of 17.4 MPH on a single speed bike that weighs more than twice my time-trial bike.
The Boy® was all smiles on the dirt track. Huge smiles. And he hit the dirt a few times (note - bring band-aids the next time out). When I was a lad...these many 40-years ago....we had gravel dead-end roads where boys could develop their emerging cycling skills. Yes, all you helicopoter mommies, bloody knees and skinned forearms happened. And we lived. I still have a dandy scar on my right knee when I went down on a gravel rode defending my 'hood in a bicycle race.
We need more of that today. Dirt paths and off-the-road trails for these youngin's. Little dirt under the nails. Sweaty hair. Skinned knees. They'll thank us for it. Trust me on that one.