Posted by

Bicycling Children Growing Up Streetwise: Carmel, Del Rey Oaks, Monterey, Salinas, and elsewhere

As Natividad Medical Center employees know, biking can be a very health-building part of a child or teen’s life. There are so many benefits to biking, for people of all ages!

Want a beautiful bike path in Carmel Valley where you can take little ones to practice their skills?  Visit the Big Sur Land Trust website to learn all about the 1.5 mile South Bank Trail along the Carmel River.

Children Bicycling Carmel

The cheeriest of “Good Mornings” was called out by two happy children out biking residential streets of Carmel early this morning.  These little ones were biking under the watchful eyes of their mother.

Mom knows that mornings can be an ideal time to teach children bike skills for navigating streets safely.  Getting out for an early morning ride while others are still lingering over breakfast is particularly wise during the busier summer tourist season.

The little ones under her wing were paying close attention to all her instructions.

They cautiously noted each driveway, and they made a full stop at each and every corner to wait….

…until Mom confirmed that yes, they were judging the traffic conditions accurately, and they could now continue safely through the intersection.

Biking in Carmel?  Please be alert for big people on bikes in Carmel, too–like harpsichord maker and technician  Carey Beebe, who annually makes his Bach Festival rounds by bicycle (see “Bach by Bike“) and Carmel police officers (see “Constables of the Peace”).

Personal and planetary health

Such a joy to see these children learning such an important life skill–and one benefiting both their personal health and the health of their home planet.

Over 30 studies offer these statistics about the benefits of bicycling for children, including impact on sleep, obesity, cardio health, academic performance, and back pain.   You may also want to consider the Emotional and Community Health Benefits for Youth Cyclists identified by six teenagers in Vancouver, British Columbia:  independence, better parent-child relationships, freedom of choice, confidence, and healthier communities.

See the City of Monterey’s Transportation page to learn more about environmental impact of cars, which inspires many people to use bicycling as a frequent transportation choice.

Bike news for kids and teens

For more about children biking in Monterey County, see the Children and Teens section of this site, which includes such posts as “Bicycle Culture and Youth,” “Safe Routes to School–and Elsewhere,” “Biking by the Bay, Cargo Style–for Children Too,” and “Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day” (an annual event–backed up with year-round local opportunities).

Personal safety while biking

For tips on Class I bike paths (apart from motor vehicles), which provide a good place for inexperienced cyclists to become bicycling savvy, see the Where to Bike section of Tips for Bicycling Monterey County. Below you’ll see photos of children taking a Class I path.

Also in the “Tips” guide, see “Personal Bike Safety–with Special Tips for Kids.  The section addresses “When is a child ready?” and California bicycle laws, hand signaling, how best to make turns, biking on sidewalks, and more.

To see a Monterey mom out biking with her children, and to watch 20-second and 33-second videos on “Taking the Lane” and “Making a Left Turn,” click here.

Spanish cycling resources

In Spanish, and English,  “What Every Parent Should Know,” “Bike Safety around Big Trucks and Buses,” “Fitting a Helmet,” and other information helpful for teaching young cyclists to bike safely can accessed under the Resources/Los Recursos tab of this site:  “en espanol.”

There you’ll also find Safe Routes to School inspiration and more.


Want to take children biking but live in a neighborhood without safe routes for inexperienced cyclists?  Consider a bike-and-ride option to help you reach a Class I or other area suitable for beginners.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, bike-and-ride can make all the difference in getting more bike time into your life, and in a way that best suits the varying stamina levels and schedules of you and your loved ones.

Monterey County bicycling resources

Ever wish you could just try out a trail-a-bike for a little one? You can rent one locally.  Did you know there’s a Monterey County high school with a bicycling team? Yup!   Learn about these and other countywide cycling resources on the Bicycle Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources page of this site.

Doubly careful:  Teaching bike skills to his son using a trail-a-bike, and on a Class I bike path.

This dad has it all figured out:  “We can get miles of riding in ultra safely. No way Mom needs to worry!”

Children on a Class I Bike Path

Have kids who are not yet ready for biking on the street?  Here are photos of local children on Class I bikeways–no motorized transportation allowed.

Susan Ragsdale-Cronin and daughters, Sydney, Tara and Dharma Maria

The Ragsdale-Cronins, sans father Bill, are pictured above kicking back on the lawn alongside the Class I bike/multi-use path between Wharf I and the Coast Guard Pier in Monterey.  These kids are already quite experienced on the various types of bikeways.  That isn’t surprising, since they have a good role model:  Their mom, Susan, was a 2006 Transportation Excellence honoree of the Transportation Agency of Monterey County.

You’ll also see the Ragsdale-Cronins biking in their Del Rey Oaks neighborhood, to their San Carlos School in Monterey, and elsewhere. [Update: Read Susan’s story, “There’s nothing like riding a bike,” in the August 29,2011 Monterey County Herald.]

Below, young friends of the Ragsdale-Cronins learn about the Monterey Bay via personal observation from the bike path.

Children of the Suarez Family

Children biking Salinas

Where to practice bike skills in Salinas, the Monterey County seat? Salinas city parks are one good option.  Click here for most Salinas neighborhood parks.  Click here for some additional Salinas parks and related facilities.  Among popular parks for bike skills practice is El Dorado Park, 1655 El Dorado, which is in North Salinas and close to Harden Parkway.  There are bike lanes nearby.

Want some inspiration from Monterey County elementary school educators–and the children they bike with? These educators,  who are well experienced cyclists, are teaching children bike safety not just in the classroom and on the playground, but out in the community too! That’s right, hands-on (the-handlebars) instruction to help teach children how to safely navigate their community’s streets by bike.  Click here for a story about Monterey Park Cycling, Salinas.

Monterey Park Cycling – a South Salinas biking club

(Photo courtesy of Ron Dillender, former principal Monterey Park School, and now principal at Lincoln Elementary School.)

Gather round 2012-03-02_16-06-22_6 (2)

Bikeways of Monterey County

The Where to Bike section mentioned above includes a link to the maps section of this website, where you’ll find the Monterey County bike map, CSUMB bike map, and–in Spanish and English–the City of Salinas bike map.

It’s wonderful to teach children to bike safely in their own neighborhoods, wherever possible.  Beyond that, an 18-mile stretch of Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is terrific for families helping kids develop their bike skill. There’s no running out of new places to bike in Monterey County!

Join these joyful little ones on the bikeways.

Happy trails to you….


Previously published June 6, 2011.

  1. Ellen says:

    I am wondering if I could use one of your photos above for an article I am writing on child safety. I would of course credit your site. Thanks so much!


  2. marilynch says:

    Hi, Ellen. Thank you for your interest. Please contact Mari directly about photo permission requests. Thanks. ^el

Leave a Reply