The hobby of R/C cars: more than child's play.

By: Tim Gluth

Starting a hobby like r/c vehicles is fun, but the topic can lead to some questions and puzzled looks from people, depending on your age. A few folks that I've mentioned my new hobby had the idea that these radio-controlled cars are toys. After a month of involvement in the hobby, I can state with complete certainty; that couldn't be further from the truth.

My Traxxas Slash isn't a toy. That's a fact I've been trying to drive home to my two children when they try pushing it across the floor or gain control of the radio. I've had toy r/c cars throughout the years and the hobby-grade models are complex pieces of equipment. From tuning the suspension to the camber to weight distribution and performance tweaks, this hobby has allowed me to scratch an itch that I've had since I stopped racing karts over 10 years ago. That too was an awkward hobby to explain. The moment you say you race karts, people immediately think of amusement park go-karts. If anything, I've gotten quite good at explaining my hobbies.

Now that I've stated why the hobby isn't about toys, part of the draw to it, as a father, is the chance to share the excitement and experiences from it with my kids. While they're a bit young (in my mind) to have their own hobby-grade vehicles, I've seen interest from my oldest son, but he's still not old enough to take care of and handle a hobby-grade vehicle yet. Plus the price is a bit of a barrier, since this isn't what I'd call a cheap hobby. Maybe in a year I'll he and I can start building a buggy or a truck for himself, but until then he's having fun practicing with his many vehicles.

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