Dad’s Tips for Riding STP with the Kids

Riding my electric cargo bike is my favorite thing

Paul Tolmé



Riding STP as a family is an unforgettable experience for both parents and kids, says Kai Shih.

“You and your kids will remember the experience of riding STP together for the rest of your lives,” says Shih, a member of the Cascade Board of Directors. 

With the opening of member registration for the Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic presented by Alaska Airlines, some parents are wondering whether their kids have the ability to complete the 206-mile, two-day ride on July 15-16.

Shih says the answer is yes, as long as you train and prepare. In 2022, Shih and his wife, Ingrid Chiang, trained for and finished STP with their 9- and 11-year-old children.

“We are planning on doing STP again this year, possibly adding in Kei, our eight-year-old,” says Shih. “We believe that goal is achievable.”

With proper training, and by creating a fun and rewarding plan for building up the endurance needed to ride 100 miles for two consecutive days, many families can ride STP together. 


Ingrid and Kai often let their kids ride ahead.

Below are some of the tips from Shih, who says he has gotten many questions from other parents desiring to ride STP with children. 

Yes, Your Family Can Ride STP!  
  • Your kids will gain confidence and the knowledge that they can accomplish big challenges if they persevere and dedicate themselves.

  • STP is fully supported with food and water and rest stops, mechanical support, signage, and support vehicles to help with mechanical breakdowns or offer a lift to the next rest stop. 


Tai Shih looking strong at 11 years old!
STP is Doable for Many Kids  
  • “Kids often have more energy than adults,” Shih said. “Their bodies are more resilient, and their stamina increases dramatically with training.” He added: “Our kids weigh less than we do, which enabled them to climb hills faster than their father.”  

  • Training can be a fun family event. On weekends, the Shih family often bikes to restaurants near the Burke-Gilman Trail or Sammamish River Trail, enjoys a meal together, then bikes home.   

  • At STP 2022, the least-tired looking people at the rest-stops were often kids, said Shih.  

  • “Our kids were stronger than their parents on Day 2,” he said. “The day after STP, our kids were back to normal while we were shuffling around and tired.” 


Tai crossing the line ahead of his parents.
The STP Community Will Encourage Your Kids
  • Whether it’s STP, Chilly Hilly, the Ride for Major Taylor, or any other Cascade ride that the Shih family has done together, other riders and spectators cheered for and encouraged their kids, Shih said. “The encouragement that your kids get from other adults makes them feel great.”   


Kai and Bei enjoying the open road.
Safety First
  • “I would only recommend STP if your child can stay in their lane and ride straight and predictably without swerving for long periods of time,” Shih said.

  • Every bike ride or outdoor adventure involves risk, but the Shih family found STP to be very safe thanks to the abundant signage alerting drivers to the presence of bikes on the road, as well as the safety that comes from riding in a large group. “We found STP safer than our solo family training rides.”

  • The large number of STP riders means you won’t get lost, Shih said.  

  • Kai and Ingrid allowed their kids to ride ahead for long stretches of time, knowing their children were surrounded by other riders and thus never alone on the roads. “We would not hesitate to allow our 12-year old to ride without us the entire way in 2023–because he is faster than his parents!”


Ingrid crossing the line.
Feeding Frenzy
  • There are abundant opportunities to eat and drink. Roughly every 15 miles there is water and food and restrooms. 

  • Shih suggests stopping at every food stop to eat and drink, even if your kids say they are not hungry or thirsty.

  • Grab snacks to put in your pockets at every free food stop in case your kids suddenly get hungry. “The only ‘parenting’ that I had to do during STP was to remind them to eat and drink.”  

Discounted Youth Pricing for all Cascade Rides in 2023

Cascade is exploring ways to make STP–and all of our rides–more appealing to families and more supportive of parents who participate with their children. One result is that Cascade is now offering youth pricing for all 2023 rides through age 18. That makes 2023 a great opportunity for families to complete some bucket-list rides together. 

Click here to learn about Cascade’s 2023 Rides and Events Season.


Happy dad.

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