Mountain biking with your kid can be a lot of fun. Teaching them how to handle the different terrains and getting to experience new areas and places with them can be a great bonding for you and them.
Mountain biking is great exercise for a child and most don’t even realize just how much physical activity they are doing because they are having so much fun.
If you plan on taking your child mountain biking, there are certain things that you should know and do before you head out on the trails.
Here are 5 important tips to remember when taking your child mountain biking, especially for their first time riding.
1. Make Sure You Have the Appropriate Safety Gear for Your Child
When mountain biking with a child, a proper fitting bike helmet is a must for any kid as well as adult. If you think your child will have a problem with wearing a helmet, then let him pick out his own one so you know you won’t have problems with him wearing it.
Other gear you may want to consider for your child include gloves and knee guards as well. It all depends on the experience of the child and where you may be riding with him.
Also, be sure that the bike is the appropriate size for them. Most kids between the ages of 10-13 will need a 24” mountain bike but depending on your child’s size, it may differ if they are older or younger as well as short or tall for their age.
2. Don’t Forget to Hydrate Along the Way
Hydration is very important when it comes to mountain biking. Children get dehydrated quicker than adults and may need frequent water breaks. There are all kinds of cool water bottles that can be attached right to the bike so you don’t have to worry about carrying anything on your back.
Water is the best thing to drink, but some other people may use sports drinks as well for hydration along the way.
3. Start Out Easy Especially for First Timers
Even if you think your child may be able to go on a certain path, choose the easiest one to start off with so he doesn’t get discouraged. Plus, this helps give you an idea of his skills and what exactly he may be capable of for your next ride.
Going the easier route also helps give your child confidence, which can help him enjoy mountain biking more as well. You may just turn him into a bike lover because he has the confidence actually enjoys it instead of complaining he can’t do it.
4. Choose a Fun Destination or Stop Along the Way
To get your child more interested in mountain biking, take him to a fun destination spot or have a few different fun spots you can stop along the way.
For example, you could take him near a waterfall or a cool bridge or just someplace where you can see for miles at clearings. Having some place fun to stop or to go to, makes it a lot more fun for the kid who may still be on the fence whether they want to go riding or not. For kids it’s not the journey but usually the destination.
5. Teach Him Some New Skills
If this isn’t his first time mountain biking or he is experienced on his bike but not with this terrain, try to teach him new skills or tricks along the way. Just make sure you don’t push him to do anything he is not ready to do yet.
Let him see you ride over some harder obstacles so that he can get an understanding of some skills that he would need to do harder trails.
You should always be teaching him the basics as well. Teach him head up and watching ahead to see what obstacles are coming up. If he is looking down at his front tire he is most likely going to run into things rather than being prepared for what lies ahead. Basics skills should be taught so he can get into the fun obstacles.
Parents should definitely have patience with their children when taking them mountain bike riding, especially for the child who is just learning.
You may just find that soon you have an awesome riding buddy to go mountain biking with all the time that may even outshine you.