This Winter on the west coast has been one of the driest on record. Normally the only thing on our mind this time of year is skiing. Skiing, skiing, skiing, the more the better.
This year though, has never happened, so instead of skiing, we’ve had to change our activities a bit. Were lucky to live in a place that offers a lot of other Winter activities. The one we’ve done most is mountain biking.
Like I said the snow hasn’t fallen, which also means it hasn’t rained much. All this adds up to dry Winter mountain bike trails.
Normally this is an adults only activity, but this past summer we invested in some decent mountain bikes for our kids. Nothing fancy, just decent, used bikes. The kids are big enough to use 26 inch wheels which makes a big difference when riding mountain bike trails. They can actually keep up with us.
We’ve been mountain biking quite a bit with them and they really love it. To make it more enjoyable for them we’ve learned a few things:
1. Get them on 26 inch wheels. These bikes are bigger but they have a lot of advantages over smaller kid bikes. First of all the bigger the wheel the faster they’ll travel along the trail. Second, you can upgrade them so kids won’t grow out of them so quickly.
2. Shocks are nice. these bigger bikes also come with front suspension. This isn’t essential for kids, but it does make for a smoother more enjoyable ride. If you have the kind that are adjustable, make them as spongy soft as you can to accommodate for the kids’ light weight.
3. Keep the pedals simple. don’t throw your kids into clipless pedals. Give them the downhiller pedals. These pedals have good grippiness but all they have to do to release is lift their foot. there’s no twisting or having to think about getting out of the pedals. Hell, I still have trouble getting out of clipless pedals.
4. Winter mountain biking requires stops and fuel. To keep the kids’ comfortable be sure to stop often and eat small snacks throughout the day. You don’t want them bonking or getting too tired. You want them to come back don’t you?
5. Choose an easy to moderate trail. don’t take them to some hardcore trail you love, take them to something you know they can handle. Remember, you may love slogging up steep hills, but I sincerely doubt your kids will.
There are probably a lot more tips and tricks for making mountain biking fun for kids. If you have any be sure to post them in the comments section.