When the weather starts picking up and the kids are out of school, it’s the perfect time for family mountain biking trips. It’s an outdoor activity you can enjoy together even if your kids are relatively young.
However, it’s not just a case of getting them in the car, loading up the bikes, and heading out on the road. A small amount of preparation is required, and you’ve got to select the correct location.
How to Make Your Family Mountain Biking Activity Fun and Successful
Let’s look at some things you need to consider to help your mountain biking adventure go more smoothly and that is packed full of fun for the whole family.
1. Find a Safe Family Mountain Biking Location
An excellent place to get in some practice is on a public land area. There the spaces are wide open, you’ll find plenty of trails, and the rules tend to be fast and loose.
However, there is one downside you might not expect. It’s not uncommon to find motorized vehicles on these trails, including lots of ATV action, especially during busy holiday weekends.
One sensible alternative is to stick with dedicated mountain biking trails. Then, you won’t have to stress about ridiculously fast, noisy gas guzzlers ripping it past your kids on their bikes.
Believe it or not, there are also plenty of companies that organize mountain biking trips for you, which takes all the hassle out of finding the best place for your adventure.
2. Check Out the Rules and Ratings
When it comes to your mountain biking adventure, it pays to do some research ahead of time. First, get a hold of some biking trail maps. These usually have some helpful information, such as difficulty symbols.
You’ll also need to find out about rules ahead of time. For example, some trails are descending only. You’ll feel very embarrassed and put yourself in danger if you spend your time riding in the wrong direction.
3. Tag Your Pants
It might not look very trendy or attractive, but tagging your pants will stop them from getting caught in your bike chain.
What is tagging? It’s a way of rolling your pant leg, so it’s narrow at the bottom and is a great solution when you wear loose-legged pants. Your bike’s crankshaft is generally on the right side, so you only need to tag your right leg.
4. Choose the Right Sized Bike
Covering endless miles is only really possible if you’re riding the right bike. You can buy bikes made specifically for women, which include additional standover clearance. They also happen to be more comfortable and easier and make for a more enjoyable ride.
Look for a bike with newer, larger-sized 27.5” wheels. It will give you additional capabilities when it comes to rolling over obstacles easily.
If your kids are aged 10-11, it’s also time for them to upgrade to a larger “real” bicycle. They should be able to start on an x-small or small adult-sized bicycle frame.
Find yourself a good bike shop, and they’ll let your kid test drive some options outside the store. This is a good idea because it often means it’s their first time using a hand-braking system and shifting gears.
Both of these take some getting used to, and having a bike they’re comfortable on is crucial.
5. Use Obstacles to Build Confidence
If your child is new to mountain biking, you need to give them many opportunities to build their confidence. Riding on trails is way more fun than riding on a concrete sidewalk, but it does take some getting used to.
Take your kids out at the weekend so they can get in some practice. Find a small wooded area and build yourselves a mini obstacle course using sticks and rocks.
Encouraging them to weave between carefully placed rocks on a dirt track will help them hone their navigation skills. In addition, crossing stick bridges will build confidence in crossing small obstacles in their path.
There might be a few bumps and bruises during these practice sessions, but it’ll be worth it because they’ll be ready to tackle bigger terrain.
6. Protection Gear is Essential
Now comes the boring part of the post, but it’s just as important as the previous points. Wearing a helmet is the best habit to get into. You might think it’s a hassle and uncomfortable to wear, but it’s well worth it.
Modern helmets are nowhere near as bad as helmets used to be. They are well designed, light-weight, and include features such as excellent ventilation and adjustable hatband tension.
Your kids probably won’t mind wearing them if you get them accustomed to wearing one, but it’s a good idea to lead by example and wear one yourself.
There’s heaps of fun to be had when you and your family are being active in the outdoors. Most kids adore riding their bikes, but you can take it to another level and enjoy the activity as a family when you’re on a gorgeous and exciting dirt trail.
But remember, be safe out there and have fun on your family mountain biking adventure.