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TIPS for

Mountain Biking with your kids. Start on a balance bike. Teaching children to ride, whether on dirt or the pavement, is easier with a balance bike. Without pedals or cranks, kids as young as two can learn to balance on two wheels, and it makes the transition to pedal bikes much faster. Choose the right kids’ bike. Your kid doesn’t have to have a fancy, fullsuspension bike to start riding (though there are more and more high-performance kid’s bikes on the market). Look for something that’s as lightweight as possible, and has a good set of hand brakes. Gear shifters on kids’ bikes are often cheap and tough for their hands to manipulate, so a single speed bike is fine. If you’re looking to upgrade – wider, knobby tires can give them more confidence on the trails. Then let out some air, 10-15 PSI of pressure is plenty for most kids.

They ride, you run. As your child is just learning to ride off road, they can often be intimidated by steep hills or rocks. Building confidence is the key to helping your child to find a love for any sport. It can really help to spot your child by running behind them and giving them a push when they need it. We learned quickly to just think of our kids’ rides as a trail run for us. Gummy Bears Snacks and candy are a great motivator for kids on a bike ride. We always carry a stash in our jersey pockets. Take breaks Instead of trying to tackle a bunch of mileage on rides with your kids, make it a fun adventure. Stop lots and give your kids a chance to run around and explore off the bike.

Offer a tow A couple of years ago we discovered the Tow-Whee. It’s a bungee cord wrapped by tubular webbing. It fits over your saddle and quickly attaches to your kid’s bike stem. It’s been a game changer for our family rides, allowing us to ride together further and faster. Consider running shuttle Most kids don’t appreciate the benefits and satisfaction of a good, lung burning climb on a bike. Running a car shuttle can take extra coordination and hassle, but it also maximizes the fun factor. Often, I’ll drop my wife and the kids at the top of a ride, then drive to the end and ride up to meet them halfway.

PHOTOS

(Previous page) The author and his family on top of Rustler’s Loop in Loma, CO. (Above) Using the Tow-Whee to climb up Prince Creek. Credit: Ian Anderson.

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Photos courtesy of Paul DeBerjeois.

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MOUNTAIN PARENT MAGAZINE: APRIL MAY 2019