Tag Archives: family mountain biking

Kids mountain bikes: tips and tricks to get them on the trail

by John Brown,

I love riding my Mountain bike and want to share that passion with my boys. I am dedicating weekends to kid’s mountain bikes, to teach them to love the sport too. The sense of freedom and excitement it gives me has been amazing to experience through their eyes. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Kid’s mountain bikes

Dozens of companies produce kid’s mountain bikes. They often have suspension, brakes, and gears similar to adult versions. The kid’s bikes usually have either 20″ or 24″ wheels that will determine the overall bike size. Be sure to find the right size at your local bike shop.

Teach to shift

One big difference between riding around the neighborhood and on trails is the need to shift quickly and frequently. Most kid’s mountain bikes have between six and 21 gears with the higher gears being used on the pavement and the lower gears for off-road conditions. By teaching your kid(s) how and when to shift will them become more comfortable while riding over varying trail conditions. I find it is easy to teach this on the sidewalks in front of my home. Have your child ride down the sidewalk in one gear, then shift to an easier gear and ride on the grass back. By shifting between gears and conditions, kids can get a great feel for how the gears work.

Teach to brake

Stopping on kid’s mountain bikes is about balancing two things; stopping power and control. Most brakes can easily produce enough stopping power to skid the wheels, but when the wheels skid, you lose control. I found an easy way to teach this balance is to find a short but steep hill with a clear run-out at the bottom. Stand at the bottom of the hill as a safety precaution and have your kid head down. The first time down, tell them to squeeze the brakes (front and rear) as hard as they can.  On the second trip squeeze a little less and feel the difference. Have them apply the front brakes more or more rear brake on each successive trip. After a little while, they will have a good feel for the way the brakes work.

Standing position

When kids learn to ride a bike they do so sitting down. While sitting is fine for smooth roads, it can become uncomfortable when riding over rocky trails. Try to teach your kid to stand while riding, using your legs to absorb bumps. You want to encourage them to have some bend in their knees and elbows and keep their weight back over the seat. This position lets them absorb all the rough terrain they might encounter.

L-r: Matt Johnson and his sons Jack 10, and Cole, 9, mountain bike in Salem Park in Inver Grove Heights on Sunday, June 12, 2011. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

Board trick

A fun trick to teach some skills involves nothing other than a board. A 1×6 piece of wood that’s about six feet long works best. All you need to do is set it on the ground and have the kids ride over it. Riding perpendicular helps them work on absorbing impact in the standing position while trying to ride along its length, helps teach control. A great part about the Board trick is that it gives a visual indication of where to ride without any penalty if they can’t stay on.

Up and Over

Once they get comfortable with the standing position you will want to teach them how to get over objects. To start, find an object on the trail that might be challenging for your kid to ride over. Take a minute to show them where to ride to get over it. Have them back up, get a moving start, and take a run at the object. By standing over that object, you can be a safety net in case it doesn’t go too well. Reach out, straighten them out, and congratulate their try. If your trails don’t have a good place to practice this, you can build an obstacle with a pair of two by fours and some lengths of PVC (see picture below).

Short and sweet

Do your best to keep it fun. Pack treats, snacks and drinks and take a lot of breaks. If a section of trail was super fun, turn around and do it again. Keep the pace slow and have fun. If you meet a puppy, stop and pet it. Do anything you can to keep it fun and a big part of that is keeping it short. Rides over an hour can start to wear out new riders, and take some of the joy out of it. And regardless of the duration, be sure to encourage the things they did well.

Bribery

Kids are like politicians, in that they aren’t above bribes. I always take my son for a treat after the ride (our current favorite is a Smoothy from Wendy’s). This Pavlovian exercise can do wonders to reinforce the fun experience that is a mountain bike ride and encouraging the fun is the most important part.

Bike Pic Feb. 12th, ice cream smiles Friday!

Making memories centered around the bike and cool treats. Here the girls in the photo enjoy time with dad at one of the four local ice cream shops in La Crosse, Wisconson.

Along the picturesque Mississippi River Valley this community offers many bike riding opportunities and great treats along the way. A year round bike destination check out the fun at the La Crosse Area Bicycle Festival, September 2-5, 2016.

#FindYourNextAdventure

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

Bike Pic Dec. 31, father/son bonding on a mountain bike trail

Here a father and son are out on a Mountain bike trail enjoying some quality time together. Photo taken on a trail near Lakeville, MN – A great place to bond with your kids in 2016!

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

#FindYourNextAdventure

Bike Pic Dec. 29, try bike camping with your kids in 2016!

Here in this photo, dad takes his daughter on a bike camping trip. If you are looking for a new memorable bonding experience in 2016, take your kid(s) a trip. Here are the top five tips for bicycle touring with children, from Leanne. She says, “keeping your kids happy & safe is key to a fun family bike tour.”

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

#FindYourNextAdventure

Bike Pic Dec. 8, family mountain bike fun

Here in this photo above mom follows the kids down a mountain bike trail as junior pops a wheelie out in front, here near Grand Rapids. Along the MRT (Mississippi River Trail), this bike friendly community is the Gateway to the paved Mesabi Trail System and also offers miles of quiet, scenic Northern Minnesota county roads for bike touring fun. See more biking here at At-a-glance Grand Rapids.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

#FindYourNextAdventure

Bike Pic – Oct. 4, Fun-One Crossing To The Next

Mountain biker enjoys the trail loops in this park, from one crossing to the next. For more information on Minnesota’s Mountain Biking parks and events see MORC (Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists) website.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking, hope you enjoy the photo?

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and post more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where camera will be and what we will posted next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to post. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual bike guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated, at-a-glance information, and maps we are known for in the Destination section of our website. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile device. Plus, beginning September 2015, this year’s e-version of the Guide will move to quarterly editions where you may see some additional bike pics posted.

 Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in a pic to post!

Bike Pic – Sept. 5, Bonding on the Trail

A father, son bonding moment out on the trail.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking, hope you enjoy the photo?

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and post more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where camera will be and what we will posted next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to post. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual bike guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated, at-a-glance information, and maps we are known for in the Destination section of our website. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile device. Plus, beginning September 2015, this year’s e-version of the Guide will move to quarterly editions where you may see some additional bike pics posted.

 Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in a pic to post!