5 Tips: taking your kids mountain biking

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May 24th, 2017

With the influx of screen-time, kids are spending  more and more time inside than ever before.  But, don't let  that get you down - think of it as an opportunity to  open a child's eyes to the wonders of the natural world... through mountain biking.  Share your passion for mountain biking with your children or children in your community and take a kid mountain biking!  Enjoy these  tips on how to create a welcoming, safe, family-friendly environment  to introduce children to mountain biking. 

how to take your kids mountain biking 

LESS SCREEN-TIME AND MORE SINGLETRACK TIME

 

1. the prep 

Don't jump right into it.  Make sure your child is comfortable riding on flat, easy terrain and slowly transition to  doubletrack dirt trails  with different topography.  Make sure  you have an appropriate bike that fits the child's height and  body type. The wrong bike size  can be a huge deteriment to  learning proper mountain bike skills and can compromise the child's safety. 

  • Plan a short route that is built around  a fun, unique place to bike (perhaps choose a trail that you've hiked before, so  it's somewhat familiar)

  • Focus on how long you'd like to bike for (sometimes a short intro is best!)

  • Make sure the trail is suited to the level of difficulty the child can handle. 

 

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2. kids mountain bikes 

Finding the right bike  is key to your child having a good time out on the trails.  Make sure  little 'Bobby ' or 'Betsy'  test rides  various makes and models  of bikes and  voices  their comfort level  on each.  Adults will use the frame size as a point of reference for bike  sizing, but for children, it's more common to choose a bike size based on the wheel size.  Use the following chart as a guideline: 

 

Wheel Size 12" ---> Age 2 -3 --->  Height 2'10 - 3'4

Wheel Size 14" ---> Age 3 -4 ---> Height 3'1 - 3'7'

Wheel Size 16" ---> Age 4-5 ---> Height 3'7 - 4'0 '

Wheel Size 20'  ---> Age 5-8 ---> Height 4'0 - 4'5'

Wheel Size  24' --->  Age 8-11 ---> Height  4'5 - 4'9 

Wheel Size  26' ---> Age 11+ ---> Height 4'9

For more great tips on buying a kids mountain bike,  check out  Bike Radar's Buyers Guides to Kids Mountain Bikes. 

For tips on  biking with kids, check out REI's article on Cycling with Young Kids. 

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3. visit a bike park 

Bike parks are a great way for kids to practice going over  different obstacles in a controlled environment. It also allows  kids to easily repeat a specific obstacles over and over until they feel confident and comfortable  conquering it everytime. Visit a bike park for a couple hours a week and allow your child to  practice  on their own terms, with encouragement and  helpful tips from you when they need it.  

kids mountain bikes, mountain bikes for kids, learn to ride a bike, mountain bike lessons, beginner mountain bike, family bike, mountain biking with kids

 

4. reasonable risk           

Kids tend to have no fear, and you'll probably be surprised at the obstacles and challenges they will  overcome on the trail. It's important to gradually increase the level of difficulty to help build confidence. Suggest trails  with obstacles that are just beyond their comfort zone and coach them through  these challenges  by sessioning the obstacle and providing a demo.  Don't force them to try something  they are hesitant about -  instead, try to break down the obstacle into different steps and work through the challenge together.  Most important of all - MAKE IT FUN!  Don't become a  coach or a drill master - remind yourself that mountain biking is supposed to be fun and don't take that element away because  you get caught up in  mastering skills.

kids mountain bikes, mountain bikes for kids, learn to ride a bike, mountain bike lessons, beginner mountain bike, family bike, mountain biking with kids

 

5. bumps and bruises will happen

Sometimes we forget that it's OK for children to get hurt... it's part of the learning process and it builds character! Part of being a mountain biker is your ability to get back up after a fall and keep a positive attitude - a great life skill as well! As the parent, teacher, coach and side-kick  use your judgement wisely to assess the risk and don't beat yourself up when they fall!  Instead, be prepared with a  small first aid kit.  Kids are pretty resilient  and falling allows them to  become more spatially aware,  and  if handled properly can  build the  determination  and strength needed to overcome challenges.  Make sure you suit the kids up with proper bike helmets and protective gear. 

 

watch the video below, for more tips:

 

a little inspiration to take your kid mountain biking... 

About the Author: James Smith is an enthusiastic writer who loves every opportunity to  write about health, fitness, lifestyle and the everyday chores of life. Currently, he is associated as a blogger with Centra Care Pediatrics, Florida Hospital for Children's Urgent Care Centre. You can always follow him on Twitter @jamessmith1609