A few weeks ago I wrote about trying residential-urban (Saint Paul, MN) bicycle commute with #2. I realized he wasn’t ready, so we’re focusing on his mountain biking. He rides with a team I manage. It’s hard work for him, but he keeps persisting. I now do a scaled practice with him — about 50-70% of our novice rider practice routine. I got the scaling idea from my own CrossFit hobby — where I’m about 50% of the male athlete standard.
At that time I wrote that #1 was doing relatively well with his bike commuting. He has quite different cognitive traits; the two boys have complementary strengths.
Then, on a family outing, #1 took off on a 4 lane (2 each way) 50mph+ roadway. I’m pretty sure he knew I would not approve, but he wasn’t just yanking my chain. He was also showing off how fast he is, specifically much faster than his father. (I already knew that!). I didn’t say anything at the time, but his bike was grounded when we got home.
It took a while to figure out a good approach to letting him ride streets again. I started out investigating local traffic skills classes; I thought I’d adopt that curriculum for him, maybe do a hands-on course together. I decided it was the wrong fit though. Many of the skills he already did well, some of the curriculum wasn’t relevant to real world commuting, and many of the topics were too abstract.
I realized we had two issues that were relatively unique to #1. One is long term hard. He has had words with people in bicycle trails/paths  and, as is typical when he experiences conflict, he now avoids all bicycle paths.
The other is a simpler problem. He can’t easily classify roads into relatively safe vs. relatively dangerous. This isn’t obvious — try making up the rules! It took me a while to come up with a set of ‘safe riding places’. The current list with some familiar examples is:
It has a bike lane - like Fairview or Summit
It has a bike path - but you have to use the path (Shepherd bike path)
It is a "bike avenue" with bike pictures - like Jefferson
Speed limit is 35mph or less (NOT 45, 50, 55) AND has one lane (on each side if two way)
We’ve been over the list several times; he sometimes forgets the magic speed limit. It has helped to go over how few people survive being hit at 40mph (basically nobody, not that 35mph is so great). I put these rules, together with a checklist of essential ride items , into a note on his iPhone (using a browser interface to his iCloud account, as described in my Smartphones for All book).
Being as he is, it doesn’t work to get a simple agreement on these things. I keep his road bike locked, before I unlock it, he has to show he’s carrying the necessary gear, then he has to review the safe ride place rules (using is iPhone if needed). Only then do I unlock and wish him well.
He’s starting to transition to a routine. That’s a good sign; once he has a routine it tends to stick.
Wish us luck.
- fn -
 I suspect this is mostly his fault, but addressing that is part of a long hard slog
 It is annoying to have pedestrians in the dedicated bike trails instead of the neighboring walking trail, but well tempered adults know to live and let live. #1 perseverates about these conflicts, I think they replay visually like a tape loop he can’t purge.
 He has quirks about carrying things. Nothing can be attached to his bike. He can’t explain why he dislikes taking his ID card or something with my number on it. His iPhone has his medical info, emergency contact and the like. I’m going to get that information written on back of his “must-carry” State ID. His iPhone shares his location using Apple Find Friends so we can track his long rides.
 As a teen and even as an middle-aged adult I’ve ridden more dangerous roads than the one he got grounded for. One of the unfair features of a monitored special needs adult is that you don’t get to do the stupid things your father did.