You can help your kids enjoy mountain biking by teaching them the skills they’ll need before they hit the trails. Here are a few tips for getting your kid ready to mountain bike.
Ride Often With Your Family
You’ll probably have much better luck introducing your kids to trail riding if they are comfortable on their bikes. Take advantage of opportunities to get on the bike. Whenever possible – ride your bikes to the park, friends’ houses, or around the block. The earlier you can start this the better! Trailer bikes can be fun for little kids (and will give you a great workout). Balance bikes are amazing. The Kids Ride Shotgun accessory is another great option for getting your children acquainted with bikes.
- Go to a skate-park or pump track and let them roll the hills
- Try BMX
- Ride bikes around the neighborhood
While you’re out on your bikes, take time to teach and practice skills they will need on the trails before you hit the dirt.
The way kids use their brakes riding around the neighborhood is different than the way they will need to use their brakes on a trail. On a descent, we use our brakes to control our speed – not just stop. This is a different skill and should be practiced. Find an easy slope and have your kid practice controlling the speed. You can make it a game similar to red light, green light – but add yellow to slow/control speed.
Stand Up On The Mountain Bike’s Pedals
Practice standing on the pedals while coasting and pedaling. And, keep the pedals level.
Turning And Steering The Bike
Practice riding around cones. Riding in a circle can be tricky. Can your biker ride the same circle clockwise and counter-clockwise? Set up an obstacle course to work on steering. Teach them to keep their head-up, and look ahead (not under the front tire). The bike will go where your kid is looking. Looking at a rock, tree, or trail edge, will probably ensure your kid hits it.
Start From A Stop
Mountain biking involves a lot of starts and stops. There is often a need to be able to start riding on a sight uphill. Ask you kid to straddle her bike. With the pedals in an upright position, have her step on the top pedal to start motion ands then get the other foot on the pedal to start riding. Start practicing on a flat or slight downhill and then move to a hill.
Begin To Take On The Bumps
Curbs might be the first experience with an obstacle. Practice riding down curbs first, then you can start riding up.
If you already get out and play around on bikes with your kid, you’re well on your way to getting your kid ready to mountain bike!
Go to: MTB with Kids Tip #2 Have the right bike and gear