Kalden received a road bike this past week. He has been asking for one for about two years now. We finally felt he was mentally and physically ready to try one out. He has been in heaven and the novelty has not worn off. He was set on the Scott Speedster JR 24. Even though we had a few opportunities to get him another brand at cost we went with buying this one at full retail (gasp) at Boulder Cycle Sport. After speaking with the Scott rep last summer I knew it would be a long wait to get one through an industry purchase. They only made enough of these for those shops that put them on their pre-orders. Sometimes it’s just easier and better to bite the bullet.
For the first ride we took him down to the Cherry Creek Bike Path in Denver. It was a nice introduction and we didn’t have to worry about any cars, just other cyclists which were happy to give him room when needed. The next day my husband told me he was taking him on another bike path in Golden, near where we were staying with our friends. The next thing I know I have a text picture and they are on Lookout Mountain! I should have known we couldn’t keep him only on bike paths for long. He is way too motivated and watches way too many pro cycling events to be happy only on the bike path. Since then he has toured around Boulder (mostly on the bike paths), rode 15 miles from Golden to Bear Creek State Park, pre-rode the Monument Madness hill climb route, descended the route after the race and rode the bike path here in Ridgway. In between he has been on the trainer watching Steephill TV.
The Speedster is really a sweet bike. It’s a solid bike with good components, decent weight for that level, nice design and a reasonable price($600ish). In an ideal world it would be nice if it had a carbon fork (of course then the price would go up) and the handlebars also seem a little too deep. When he is in drops the top of the handlebars are up to his elbows.
Here are a few tips on starting your Junior on their first road bike that worked for us:
1. Start on an uncrowded bike path or unused road – The shifting and handling take time to get used to. They are better off without too many people or cars around. I did find that having some people around was good because it taught him to hold his line which is a key when riding on the road.
2. Use a trainer – If they are into it then have them also practice shifting on the trainer. This is also a good place to practice with clipless pedals if they are going to get those.
3.Remain calm – The first time I road behind him on a descent it freaked me out. He was in control but I kept imagining what would happen if he crashed and kept wanting to yell “stop! slow down!” every 2 seconds. I figure this is only the beginning so I better learn to be comfortable with him at speed. Instead of yelling remind them before the decent of the dangers then ride up next to them and remind them again if you need. Shouting from behind may cause them to try and look behind them and then they will crash.