SM: You want your kids to be confident riders. But, confident doesn't mean reckless. Confident means they feel safe on the road because they know the rules and they know what to look out for. Like most things, it's important that we model the behavior we want to see from them. Ride with them and put them in the street when you feel they are ready. Start on a quiet residential street and work up to busier areas. Confidence doesn't come overnight, but when it does it's awesome.About Shereef Shereef Moustafa is a resident of Long Beach and a bicycle commuter. He's a busy father of school aged kids and enjoys volunteering in community events. His ongoing portrait project of Long Beach residents and their bikes can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shereefmoustafa/sets/72157628087697796/
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 12:33PM
Melissa Bell: What is your first memory involving a bicycle? What kind was it? Do you remember any specific details? Any stories?Shereef Moustafa: I got my first bicycle Christmas of 1973. I was about 6 1/2 years old. My father, who never had a bike himself and not very handy with tools, tells me he was up way past midnight into early Christmas morning trying to assemble the boxed Swinger bike he picked up from JC Penny.
MBell: What made you decide to become a bicycle commuter? What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages?
SM: I first started commuting twice a week from my apartment in Huntington Beach to a work in Irvine in 1998. I rode a steel Univega, and used the commute to train for the Rosarito-Ensenada 50-mile fun ride. After the fun ride was over, I continued bicycle commute.
I work at a multi-national company and pedaling to work in the morning and lets me plan how to react to changes that took place overnight. When I arrive, my body feels alive, and I'm eager to maximize my morning. The extra 15-20 minutes it takes me to get to work by bike pays for itself immediately as I can save hours of time by planning my morning on the road. And in the evening, somewhere along my pedal home, I ditch the stress of the day on the side of the road.
Getting a commute in however, does require some planning. Once I decided take my road bike to the office. When I arrived realized I forgot my street shoes, something I would have already been wearing had I taken my commuter bike. With only minutes before an important meeting, I had to borrow a colleagues shoes in order to get through the next hour.
MBell: Do you remember teaching your kid(s) how to ride a bicycle? Where? How old? Any specific memory?
SM: I taught both my daughter and son how to ride at the school ground. I would run along side them, stabilizing them as they peddled. When I felt they had a rhythm, I would gently push the bike forward on a grassy surface where they would eventually wipe out. Stopping was another skill they had to learn. I won't forget the time my son went further on the grass than he ever had, wiped out, jumped up and shouted "Yes!" with his fist the air.
MBell: What advice do you have for parents? Do you feel it's safe for children to commute to school on bikes?