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  1. #1
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    6 y o doing dh, second occasion. Input...?

    So I went to Åre Bike-Park here in Sweden with my 4 kids. 3/4 with custom build mtbs, not dh-ers. This was our second occasion in a dh bike-park and of course heaps better than any roller coaster. Now, not that I want to be a pro myself, nor expect from my kids, but some input/advice from an experienced rider to a newbie would be much appreciated.
    If u find time and joy, u can watch a video of him in one of the red tracks, the ride starts at about 1.43. The boy in focus is 6, the other boy is 8, the girl is almost 11, and one girl u can catch a glimpse of is 12:
    https://youtu.be/tGZTMDfFxUE

    After the short break the ride continues:
    https://youtu.be/-sVEF1sL4nU

    Thanx for the help.

  2. #2
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    great video, but what's the question?


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  3. #3
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    It wasnt that much of a question, more of a request: i want advice so i can teach/guide my kids better, for them to feel more confident when going dh.
    Now im basically just making sure they keep their rear down and a little further back. Thats also what im saying constantly in d vid. As to not lose balance when hitting bumps.

  4. #4
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    gotcha, you are looking for advice on training and riding technique. I know others will chime in and I think there are a few YouTube videos available.. teaching them to look farther and to look where they want to go, Not where they don't want to go. if you look where you don't want to go there's is a good chance that's where you'll end up. also, when you fall not to stick your arm out to catch yourself. higher potential for a broken wrist or arm that way.


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  5. #5
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    Despite your thoughts that it was "heaps better" than a roller coaster (assume you mean pump track), a pump track will do your kids much more in terms of teaching them how to ride that sort of stuff. A pump track will teach them how to pump the rollers to gain speeds, how to handle berms/banking and if there's different skill/size ones around, teach them to deal with jumps.

    To me what you did there was damn dangerous, what if someone who could actually ride that trail had come hauling down there and you were between jumps and they couldn't see you and launched off a jump, only to then see you putting along behind your kids in the landing area? Stick to trails built for kids until they learn how to ride jumps etc, do not take them on a jump trail with jumps that size.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  6. #6
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    There's usually coaches or lessons they can take. Sign them up for one or two and let them learn from a coach. Congrats on getting your kids out on the trails! Ttyl, Fahn
    Hubbard Bike Club

  7. #7
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    Signing them up for lessons is a very good suggestion. That goes for adults just as much as kids, but kids pick things up much faster. Unless you are very patient, have a very good grasp of riding techniques and how to explain them to someone else, then chances are a coach can do it far better.

    It looks like you have your kids wearing pads, which is good, but I'd also suggest getting them in full face helmets if they are going to be doing DH riding.

    Aside from that, be patient with teaching them, and the more you get them out, the quicker they will progress. Pretty soon, they will be riding faster than you.

    Also, taking them to the DH park to teach them riding skills when they are scared half to death on a steep downhill track that is above their skill level, isn't a good learning environment. They may learn to survive, but they be able to focus on learning proper riding technique.

    It is better to teach them in a controlled environment like an empty parking lot where they can focus entirely on what you are teaching them. You can practice cornering drills (looking around corners, leaning the bike, body position). Get some cones and have them do figure eights to work on cornering both directions. You can also teach them to manual off curbs, bunny hops and all sorts of other skills.

    Then have them apply those skills on easy trails where you normally ride. That way, when you get them on a more challenging DH track, all you have to do is give them small hints and reminders (look around the corner, look further down the trail).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Despite your thoughts that it was "heaps better" than a roller coaster (assume you mean pump track)
    I took him quite literally, in that riding bikes is better than taking your kids to ride a roller coaster. A couple years ago, my wife talked me into a taking our kids to Disneyland (my own personal hell) for a week. My kids loved the roller coasters.

    My price for suffering through that injustice was a week long family riding trip to Whistler. Afterwords, I asked my kids, "what is better, Disneyland or Whistler?"
    Unanimous response.....WHISTLER!!!

    Now my wife insists that we go up there as an annual family trip.

    But yeah....pump tracks are better than roller coasters too.

  9. #9
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    take lessons
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  10. #10
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    Shiver Me Timbers: well...there are different ways to take lessons. Asking for input here is one way.

    Lynx: everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I don't think yours is relevant. Bike-parks are for everyone; small, big, lesser skilled or pros. There are also rules that state to respect lesser skilled. I'm there with him all the time just because he's small. I know what to do in a situation you describe.

    twd953: thanx for many good suggestions. I wanted to sign up for lessons, but that weekend there were none.

    It's not their first time on bikes, it's not their first time on technical trails. My kids are really skilled when it comes to balance and center of gravity. There's no need for me to justify or describe what we do. I'm simply asking for input from those who feel like it, who feel like helping kids getting better, more confident, in riding dh whenever they/we feel like it without the need to justify.

  11. #11
    Keep on Rockin...
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinn8 View Post
    teaching them to look farther and to look where they want to go, Not where they don't want to go.
    This. Super simple and effective advice.

    One more. Body position on the bike. Ride lower than they think they should. On the DH, with the seat dropped, remind them to touch their butt to the seat frequently. Shows them how much they are NOT maintaining proper position.


    On DH tracks, I often ride closely behind my boy reminding him of those two points above. It works.

  12. #12
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    Miker j: Thanx. That's exactly what I did. In the vid i'm constantly saying "poto, poto, poto" which literally means "butt, butt, butt" - reminding all the time to get it lower and further back. Seat is dropped also.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by guaruska View Post
    Miker j: Thanx. That's exactly what I did. In the vid i'm constantly saying "poto, poto, poto" which literally means "butt, butt, butt" - reminding all the time to get it lower and further back. Seat is dropped also.
    Cool.

    Be careful with the "further back". I'm old to the sport and started when mtb geo was bad, like a road bike, and going over the bars (endo) was all too common. I often catch myself riding too far back on my new geo bike, and the front end gets too light and I can't corner well.

    Now bikes are longer in the TT, shorter in the stem, and slacker at the HTA. Much more endo-proof. Keep the kids "low and centered" as opposed to low and back.

    Even on old school geo, kids with their low center of gravity, are relatively endo-proof as long as they stay low.

  14. #14
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    The key is to pin it.

  15. #15
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    Thanx.
    Ye, he endoed several times. I noticed on my other kids that standing on bike for them is the relaxed style, putting weight on bars, resulting in endo many times. Having pep-talks before riding, in the morning, helped the older ones. They youngest I needed to keep reminding. The geo on kids' mtb is for multi-use at best. I'm referring to conventional bikes, not dedicated dh for kids.

  16. #16
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    Keep it fun. Keep it simple.

    Quote Originally Posted by guaruska View Post
    Now, not that I want to be a pro myself, nor expect from my kids, but some input/advice from an experienced rider to a newbie .
    I have taught both my kids to ride and they both enjoy riding/racing but it takes careful planning to keep them enjoying it. Here is my advice:

    1. KEEP IT FUN! If you make it too much work or over-coach them, it will not be fun and they won't want to do it. Even if they are riding with bad form or doing things wrong, try to limit your guidance. Most of us who ride who are decent got that way because we love to ride, not because we got coached to do everything perfectly. Coaching is a good way to make riding feel like school. Watch how they react to you or others giving them advice and adjust as necessary to keep it fun. I have one kid who will do whatever I ask, the other will will want to go home as soon as I give her more than 10 seconds worth of advice.

    2. Keep your coaching simple and only have them work on one thing at a time. Don't overload them with too much to think about when they are riding.

    3. Brake control and body position are the most important things to work on.

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