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  1. #1
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    Need tips on how to get kids to want to ride

    Looking for any suggestions on how to get older kids to want to ride. My husband and I started riding about 1-1/2 years ago and both love it. We also wanted to get our now 14 yr old and 12 yr old riding. Both kids have nice bikes that have lots of upgrades. We bought them cool biking wear, camel backs etc.. we have tried easy rolling trails, fun but not too difficult single track, indoor bike park but all they do is complain and make everyone miserable to the point we don't go. We have offered to bring their friends but their friends don't want to go.We don't have any kids clubs or groups anywhere near us so that is not an option. We also don't have family near by so if the kids don't go with us to out of town rides we can't go. We do go out a few hours locally once a week by ourselves but can't leave the kids by themselves all the time or overnight so we can get out more.

    I guess the key is to start them young but it's too late for that. I would love some input from anyone who has had a similar problem and found a solution or any recommendations or suggestions we can try.

  2. #2
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    As a dad of a daughter that has no interest in mtn biking I have come to the realization that she might never want to go offroading. For her, biking is a social event (riding with friends) or transportation to something fun (riding to the park). So if I want to ride with her, we ride on her terms: with friends to the park. Not my cup of tea but I do it to be with her and get her off the couch.

    Luckily we also have a boy that enjoys mtn biking.
    Please visit my bike blog! And if you click a few banner ads, I wouldn't complain!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagwa View Post
    Looking for any suggestions on how to get older kids to want to ride. My husband and I started riding about 1-1/2 years ago and both love it.
    Leave them home and go yourselves and have a blast and when they see your smiling faces, they may get jealous. My kids are 4 and 9 and I don't know if they will pick up mountain biking like me and I enjoy it mostly because it is convenient. My wife doesn't care much for it, but will follow the kids. I've found trying to push my kids often backfires. We all do like to camp and fish, snow ski, and love archery, hunting, dog training, and fishing. It's my obsession for the outdoors that is draws my family into whatever I'm doing. The bigger my smile the more everyone wants to come. My kids are always saying "whatcha bring home daddy?" Bill
    Last edited by Billinsd; 01-22-2013 at 10:47 PM.

  4. #4
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    Good points from both of you. I guess I don't need them to love it but it would be good if they liked it a bit. It is a bit selfish I know, but we rarely get to ride because we don't have a lot of trails that aren't hours away. I will leave the kids if we go locally but not to go out of town since we dont have family near in case of an emergency. Was hoping for some ideas of innovative incentives or some magic solution. Maybe bribery?..:-)

  5. #5
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    Ice cream or taking them to their favorite food spot afterwards seems to be great motivation and gets our kids off the couch. Our kids have responded really well with family rituals. If there is a carrot at the end they look forward and enjoy maybe they will complain less.

    Your kids might be too old at this point now, but ours liked to customize their own bikes. Small things like grips, bell and streamers on my daughters bike did wonders. I really think customization to kids bikes (I wish they could even have more color selections!) works wonders. As I read in another thread, kids have egos too. I think they are more motivated to ride what they like color-wise and even more so if they are involved in the build process even if it little things like upgrading tires, parts, grips, bottle cages, etc..

    Anyway, this has worked for our kids!

  6. #6
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    A 14 year old is a teenager, and it's natural for him (her?) to rebel. The 12 year old is probably going along with the older sibling. It's kind of a weird age to try to get a kid into doing a new activity with parents.

    Always have a destination, whether it's post ride or (even better) on the ride. My son (10 yo) rarely wants to ride single track but he is always up for riding to the yogurt shop. He also prefers road riding to mountain biking for comfort. Of course, a 10 yo is not (yet) embarrassed being seen by friends riding with this dad.

    Are they already active with sports or are they couch potatoes? The couch potato has more to gain, but you might need to push them harder to start. If the kids are already healthy and active, then I wouldn't worry about pushing them to start.

    Make sure the riding clothes fit them. I bought a decent pair of riding shorts with a chammy pad. My son hated them. He's more comfortable riding in regular athletic clothes (and helmet and gloves).

    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    I have to second the destination idea. For them to go ride around in circles just seems random.They also have a harder time figuring out pacing and the old "how long are we going to do this??" Having a destination gives them a goal. I like to find waterfalls,cool landmarks, ghost towns, mines. Cameras can change things too. Have the kids stop and take pics of themselves often. Teenagers love posting pics. Make it a contest. Call it the "photo ride" or something. See who can get the best flower pic or action shot. If they are looking for great shots, they're less likely to be thinking about their legs turning.

  8. #8
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    They're at the age where it's not cool to hang out with mom and dad.
    Got my little girl (5) hooked and she likes single track better than paved. The boy (13) will only go sometimes.

  9. #9
    Inspector Gadget
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    Beat them untill morale improves... at least that's what my Dad would have done! lmao

    I started with the destination concept, it works. My son asks to ride all the time now and is disappointed when I go for a ride with the big boys. He's getting stronger though and I'll take him on mello paced rides with adults.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagwa View Post
    Looking for any suggestions on how to get older kids to want to ride. My husband and I started riding about 1-1/2 years ago and both love it. We also wanted to get our now 14 yr old and 12 yr old riding. Both kids have nice bikes that have lots of upgrades. We bought them cool biking wear, camel backs etc.. we have tried easy rolling trails, fun but not too difficult single track, indoor bike park but all they do is complain and make everyone miserable to the point we don't go. We have offered to bring their friends but their friends don't want to go.We don't have any kids clubs or groups anywhere near us so that is not an option. We also don't have family near by so if the kids don't go with us to out of town rides we can't go. We do go out a few hours locally once a week by ourselves but can't leave the kids by themselves all the time or overnight so we can get out more.

    I guess the key is to start them young but it's too late for that. I would love some input from anyone who has had a similar problem and found a solution or any recommendations or suggestions we can try.
    You can't get kids to ride...at their age...either they are riders or not....all you can do is give them the options....if I ever push my kids towards something....they push the opposite way harder...show them different disciplines in riding....racing bmx, racing downhill, racing 4x, racing dual slalom, slopestyle MTB (freestyle), freestyle bmx (park, street, dirt), road racing, endurance racing........open their eyes to what they can pedal! It just might not be for them? Both my kids love to ride....but one pushes harder than the other....I can't change it...I just let them have FUN!!!

    Here's my youngest...London at age 7.....

    https://vimeo.com/51908888

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billinsd View Post
    Leave them home and go yourselves and have a blast and when they see your smiling faces, they may get jealous.
    Agreed, that and walk through the door holding a large milk shake while smiling ear to ear.

    In all seriousness, we're basically talking about teenagers and like someone pointed out, it's not cool to hang out with parents at that age. So do your own thing and who knows, one day thy may join in with you guys.

  12. #12
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    It really depends on their personality, some kids that age need to be challenged. Other kids need motivation in other ways, maybe take them to do something they enjoybefore or after (mall, bowling, go kart racing etc...) It's hard to say what motivates your kids. I am a middle school PE coach, trust me getting todays teenagers to want to be physically active is not easy for sure! I started taking my son trail riding at 4 years old, and he absolutely loves it! Hopefully I won't have to cross this bridge. Good Luck!

  13. #13
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    Whoop their asses all the time EXCEPT when they're biking. Conditioning...

    I jokingly gave this advice to a couple about their dog, who would bark like a mental patient in the car. I told them to beat the dog at all times except in the car. The husband knew I was kidding but the wife almost started to cry. I felt so bad.
    Seriously, my 8 year old is a borderline couch potato. If you give him a choice, he'll stay home and watch tv. I usually start with where do you want to ride and give him a choice of two places. One place is a state park with a playground. I know going in if he picks that one, I have to allow 30 minutes of playground time after the ride.
    I like turtles

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=XCScott;10102027]It really depends on their personality, some kids that age need to be challenged. Other kids need motivation in other ways, maybe take them to do something they enjoybefore or after (mall, bowling, go kart racing etc...) It's hard to say what motivates your kids. I am a middle school PE coach, trust me getting todays teenagers to want to be physically active is not easy for sure! I started taking my son trail riding at 4 years old, and he absolutely loves it! Hopefully I won't have to cross this bridge. Good Luck![/QUOTE

    When it's time to ride again I'll strike a deal with them. Day 1: biking, Day 2 : their choice if they don't make biking unbearable. They loved biking a few years ago but seem to have become lazy with age but I feel that if I could motivate them to want to go again they could love it again (or at least like it enough not to complain the whole time )

  15. #15
    gran jefe
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    Go find a guy named Trail Ninja over at RideMonkey. He's gotten tons of kids started riding. He used to hang around here, but not anymore.

  16. #16
    turtles make me hot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    Go find a guy named Trail Ninja over at RideMonkey. He's gotten tons of kids started riding. He used to hang around here, but not anymore.
    This is a WAY better answer than mine.
    I like turtles

  17. #17
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    The promise of ice cream at the end usually works with my kids, though these days it has to be a double scoop - my 11 year old is a borderline coach potato, needs a bit of forcing to get her out and do some road rides which she does seem to enjoy. She has pretty much refused to trail ride these days after coming across a two meter long python on a local ride. I think that is just an excuse she was never to keen on it anyway
    The 8 year old is always keen to get out of the house and do stuff, like rock climbing, trail riding etc

  18. #18
    Me ride.
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    Forbid them to ride; tell them they had better not do it.
    With kids now they'll do the exact opposite of what you tell them. Work with that.
    My Mom always used to tell me never to ride in the street, and that's the first place I started riding.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Houston View Post
    Go find a guy named Trail Ninja over at RideMonkey. He's gotten tons of kids started riding. He used to hang around here, but not anymore.
    I tried to find it but no luck, but will try again. Thank you

  20. #20
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    So it seems the general consensus is that I should : 1.Beat them 2. Make them jealous 3. Ignore them 4. Forbid them to ride (and when all the above have been implemented) 5. Buy them ice cream...

    It's worth a shot to try .

    In all seriousness there is some good input here. Thank you everyone for your help.

  21. #21
    gran jefe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagwa View Post
    I tried to find it but no luck, but will try again. Thank you
    in here:
    Trail Building & Advocacy

  22. #22
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    As a family, we watch races online and YouTube. Danny McKaskill, urban trials, TdF, spring classics, we watch it all. My son loves it (age 5) and gets inspired to ride, especially after seeing stuff on video. We do not have cable, just stream stuff online. Lately, he's been digging cyclocross, especially the crashes. It's a blast when the whole family is screaming at the top of our lungs for the sprint in a road race or stage, everyone is into it. Get the kids interested in racing as a fan, learn the athletes, cheer. It takes 21 other friends to play football, 1 friend to go ride and pretend you're a pro.

  23. #23
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    Take them (and bikes and gear) to a local mtb race, and get there early enough to register if they decide to try it. In our family riding history, racing energized my daughter's interest in riding (she went on to state and national titles), but turned off my son (who decided he would rather race on his feet). With racing, kids are riding with other kids, and interacting with adults not mom and dad. And family riding still happens, but more motivated as "training" and pre-riding sometimes.

  24. #24
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    Get rid of cable TV and video game systems. My wife and I agree, our kids will never have a video game system but they will have whatever outdoor activity equipment they need to reach their full potential. I tell my son when he seems less motivated, "You want to go for a ride and when we get back we can watch a movie?" Or the reverse, I show my son videos of other kids his age riding to get him motivated. Passive entertainment can ruin a person's will to be active so I try to make entertainment into something that motivates them to activity. You could take the family on a road/camping trip focused on bike riding. It removes them from social and entertainment distractions and puts them in a mindset where they focus on biking. I don't know about enterring them into a race if they don't want to. You want to hook them instead of pressure them and make them hate it. A race could go either way.

  25. #25
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    My experience is only with my own kids, which are 8 and 10 right now. I can't take a day without some significant activity. So it is the norm in my household that we get out everyday and do something. Sometimes swimming, sometimes going to the park and throwing balls or Frisbee. Sometimes shooting hoops, rock climbing, canoeing, wake boarding... something. Biking is just one arrow in the quiver. Maybe strike a deal, that you do some active activity they like, then they do one you like? But either way, make it a standard part of their lives. I also don't make it optional. They go with us to MTB races. It is optional if they want to race or not, but they still go and ride the course.
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
    There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing...

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