Tips for mountain biking with kids

Tips for mountain biking with kids

By Anita Rosebury

| Aug 16 , 2021

The school summer holidays are here and there is no better time to share the passion you have for mountain biking with your kids. It can reignite your passion as well, seeing the excitement and sense of freedom they experience through their eyes. 

Here are a few top tips to get the most out of mountain biking with kids:

#Get the right-sized bike

There are lots of great kids mountain bikes out there with very similar brakes, gears and suspension systems to the adult version. The thing to look out for is the difference in wheel sizes, as some are 20” and some are 24” so make sure you get the right bike size for your kid.

#Teach your kids about shifting gears

One big difference for your kids from riding on the street to riding on a trail is the need for them to shift gear frequently and quickly. Most kid’s mountain bikes have somewhere between 6 and 21 gears with the lower gears being used for off-road conditions and the higher gears for the pavement.

The easiest way to teach your kids to know how and when to switch gears is to go somewhere local with grass and paths so that they can ride down the path in high gear and then shift to a lower gear to ride back on the grass. Shifting between conditions and gears like this will give them a great feel as to how mountain bike gears work.

#Teach your kids about mountain bike brakes

Coming to a stop on a kids mountain bike is about two things: control and stopping power. Most bike brakes can produce enough power to make the wheels skid, which will reduce your kids control over the bike.

Teaching them how to balance braking power tends to involve finding a short but steep hill and letting them head down it while you stand at the bottom. On their first time down, they should squeeze the brakes as hard as they can. The second time down, they should squeeze less so they can feel the difference. Each time after that, they should squeeze the brakes differently again, until they get a good feel for the way that they work.

#Standing while riding

Most bike riding in the city tends to involve your kid sitting down, which is fine for smooth roads but isn’t as comfortable when rocky trails are involved. Teaching them to stand while they are riding, keeping their elbows and knees bent and weight over the seat will let them absorb all of the rough terrain they may encounter.

#Keep it short and sweet

The most important thing to remember is to keep it fun! Pack lots of drinks and sweets in your booicore kit bag,  and take regular breaks so that you don’t wear them out too early in the day.

If a part of the trail was wet and fun, let them do it again! After all, they can always pop on their booicore kids changing robes to dry off and keep them warm.