Mountain biking with children: this is what’s important

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Since it’s never too early to start, biking is no longer a sport limited to adults – children are hurtling down bike trails too. Not only technique is im­por­tant, children need the gear too.

The right gear

Children have long been used to wearing a helmet as their basic form of protection. But bikers riding over bumpy roots and stones are advised to wear added protective gear. De­pen­ding on the terrain, this should not only include gloves and sun­glas­ses, but also knee and elbow pro­tec­tion. Before setting out on the descent, it’s also important to give your mountain bike a quick check. The M-Check (more in the video) helps make sure nothing gets forgotten, and that your wheels, brakes and saddle are ready for the adventure.

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Bike training for children

Balance is essential for a good biking technique, not only for adults but for chil­dren too. This means that chil­dren should start their mountain bike training as early as possible. The best way of motivating children to do this is with fun exercises. Those that work well include the snail race, handshakes and the tennis ball exercise (more in the video). These exercises improve balance when riding one-handed.

Mountain bike tips from the expert

Daniel Schefer from the Swiss Bike School explains what needs to be noted when mountain biking with children and shows which exercises help learners achieve the right technique (in german).

Practising on real terrain

The best place for these training activities and games is on real terrain. Just letting children do their own thing and trying things out for themselves will automatically hone their reactions, balance, mobility and creativity. Children learn easily and will quickly see how, and when, they can ride over which roots. At the same time they will develop a basic stamina level. Not only needed for riding uphill, stamina is required for concentration on the descent too.

Accidents happen

There will always be dicey situations when it comes to mountain biking. In other words, if you take children out biking, you must be prepared for them to suffer the odd fall. But that’s also a good thing. It’s the only way for them to gain valuable experience in learning which risks they want to take. They will also discover their own limits and get to know their mountain bike better. The important thing is, of course, to make sure they wear the right gear in order to avoid severe injuries.

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