Andrew Lowen | 07.18.2018

Mountain biking with your kids can be one of the most memorable outdoor activities. It can bring families together. At the same time, it needs to be properly organized for safety purposes. Kids are prone to accidents, especially if they don’t have too much biking experience. This is why it is mandatory to use the right protective gear, to ride on the suitable trails, and to prepare in advance.

Choose the suitable biking location

Maybe one of the most underrated variables of mountain biking with your kids comes with the location. Not all trails are the same, and not all of them are safe for kids. For example, some trails also allow cars and ATVs on them, which may not be the safest for kids. Other trails might come with an increased difficulty level which is not recommended for kids, either. Even if they ride with their parents, kids should take the time to actually perfect their biking skills before attempting the more difficult routes, with more obstacles.

Biking out in nature is also one of the best times to get your kids out in the fresh air. This is why you should always choose locations that are actually further away from heavy traffic. In many situations, this requires you to actually do some research on the trails in your area.

Choose the right mountain bikes for kids

As all parents know, kids grow up really fast. But this doesn’t mean that they should ride bikes that are inappropriate for their height, especially when they are riding off the beaten path. That is why you should ensure that your kids use appropriate bikes and that they are fully capable of reaching the ground with their feet if needed. Unlike the bikes for adults that are usually sold by frame size, the bikes for the little ones are available by tire size. From 12-inch to 26-inch tires, these bikes cover the heights between 2 feet, 10 inches and 4 feet, 9 inches.

These bikes should also come with a light frame. Kids might not have the strength to deal with heavy bikes just yet. This is why the best bikes will always include the lighter frames with better suspension and comfortable seats.

If you are planning a day out on the trail with toddlers, you can also consider certain bike trailers. These types of trailers can handle rough terrain, and they can be a great first contact with the trail for your kids who might not be old enough to ride on their own just yet.

Safety helmets are mandatory

There are many options you can purchase when it comes to safety gear. Elbow pads or knee pads are among the top recommendations. But a good biking helmet is crucial. In order to ensure your kids are safe, the helmets need to fit properly. There are various options that can work for them. If your kids do not like helmets, you can always choose colorful designs or the helmets that come with different cartoon characters printed on them to make them friendlier to children. Safety helmets should also be worn at all times, even on hot summer days. Kids might not like them, and this is where it is important to explain to them the importance of helmet protection.

Increase confidence and tackle obstacles

In most cases, improving biking skills means that riders need to go outside of their comfort zone. This is easily applied to kids. Since not all kids will willingly tackle more difficult trails, you can start working on their skills with individual obstacles. They can get increasingly difficult. But you need to remember that bruises are bound to happen anyway. The more confidence your kids get with various obstacles, the less likely they are to face various biking accidents. You can only get so far with motivation, and your kids will need actual trail experience.

Many parents start with small steps. So before embarking on the next trail in a national park, you can start improving your skills in your local area and a regular park. Dealing with obstacles such as rocks, roots, and even bridges is important. This is where you will need to teach your kids how to deal with the different types of obstacles they could encounter while biking.

Focus on the right biking time

Kids don’t have the endurance of adults. Even if they can improve their cycling endurance, it still can’t match your level. This is why you should avoid forcing your kids to pedal longer than they are really comfortable with. Long cycling sessions can be tiresome and they open the possibility for various accidents. The best way to avoid such issues is to simply start with short biking sessions of a few minutes and build from there. Your kids will tell you when they want to cycle longer.

Nutrition and hydration

As one of the areas which are crucial for growth, energy or strength, nutrition and hydration are even more important for kids while outdoors. Make sure they stay well hydrated while mountain biking. Using their bike’s water bottles is a good way to ensure they drink plenty of water through the entire experience. Kids between 5 and 8 can drink up to five glasses of water per day. Kids between 9 and 12 years of age can drink eight glasses of water per day.

The right foods before and during biking can go a long way as well. Make sure you always have a quick and healthy snack for your kids if they need a bit of extra energy. Healthy bars rich in protein can be a good choice together with options such as fruit, dried fruit, or various nuts and seeds. In most cases, eating out on the trails will also be more fun, and it can be the opportunity to introduce your kids to healthier foods as well.

Safely mountain biking with your kids is thus a combination of proper planning and the willingness to adapt to their needs and capabilities. In most cases, their biking skills will start improving quickly. But if you want the experience to be one that the kids look forward too, you should not force them to bike longer then they feel comfortable with.


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