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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkjacobs21 View Post
    Most kids aren't strong enough to pedal up a smooth surface hill, let alone gravel or grass until they are well beyond 6.....Kids at 3 or 4 years old can be very skilled with the proper tool
    I'm gonna disagree on the whole notion that 6 is too young to be a strong pedaller - one afternoon at a BMX track will show you that's in no way true. Also, at 4 years old, the proper tool to becoming a good bike rider is a real bike. Maybe my outlook has a lot to with my son's early experiences being centered around BMX racing, where young kids that can ride better than yoru typical adult mountain/road biker are all over the place. If any of you really want your kid to become a great rider, start spending your weekends chasing BMX trophies from the ages of say 4 to 8. At that point, your kid will likely be a better rider than you are, though you'll probaby have still have an edge endurance-wise.
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  2. #27
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    Re: Skipping balance bikes and training wheels

    Four kids. Not one of them ever rode a balance bike. Each and every one of them used training wheels on their bikes until about the age of 3. Each one of them told me when they wanted to take their training wheels off. All went without trsimg wheels at four years of age max and my youngest son was just over 3. Within hours if not minutes each and every one of them were riding a bike just fine. Each of them overcame the terrible steering habits they learned while using training wheels haha. Each of them learned how to balance within minutes. Each of them have grown up riding a bike just fine, like each and everyone of us on these forums. None of us ever had a balance bike I bet or at least very few of us. Somehow we managed.

    I say buy them if you like them just don't try to convince me it really makes a difference. For that hundred bucks I can also buy a big wheel and a razor scooter to go along with the bike. Just my 2 cents. To each their own.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsy971 View Post
    yes very very impressive however i beg to differ that the balance bike is what taught your son to do this. it seems as if your son is a little more coordinated and has above average upper body strength for a boy his age. this little bunny hop is done by being able to lift the front end of the bike up so to land even on the ground. not sure how the balance bike taught him that though. albeit, i wish my son at age 7 could do that and make it look so simple. awesome.
    I'd have to agree with the above but would even take it further.

    I suspect that your son has the same mentality as the people in the x games or in those commercials for the military, like the one of the guy diving off the cliff to get a backpack.

    I don't think its a common trait. Or at the very least I know I don't have it.

  4. #29
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    Balance bikes are not going to turn your kid into the next x-games champ. Genetics, mentoring, training, money and a healthy dab of luck (no serious injuries) are all way, way more important.

    But that doesn't take away from balance bikes. They are just a great small, light introduction to riding gyroscopes.

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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I'm gonna disagree on the whole notion that 6 is too young to be a strong pedaller - one afternoon at a BMX track will show you that's in no way true.
    I believe he was referring to pedaling on grass and gravel which is totally different to pumped up semi singles on a hard packed BMX track.
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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71 View Post
    I believe he was referring to pedaling on grass and gravel which is totally different to pumped up semi singles on a hard packed BMX track.
    Pedalling is pedalling; your average kid that's done a bit of racing isn't going to have a problem riding across the lawn or on a gravel road.
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Pedalling is pedalling; your average kid that's done a bit of racing isn't going to have a problem riding across the lawn or on a gravel road.
    But for how long?

    It's all about the rolling resistance and gravity. As I'm sure you know, gravel and grass kill rolling resistance not to mention the lower pressures and WAY heavier tires that you'd use for that terrain. That all adds up... then throw in elevation changes and it will wear a kid out really fast. And depending on the slope and their bikes gearing it will stop them in their tracks. Gotta keep it fun.

    I know that riding around my property (native grass(es) and gravel) is difficult for me on my MTB and I have big wheels/tires and gears.

    With the electric moto, my daughter can enjoy the ups and downs and ride for 30-40min before she gets warn out. It's also a good workout for me trying to keep up.

    If we lived in the city with paved roads, bike paths etc, then I wouldn't have gotten her a bike with a motor.

    Snow/mud is also a lot of fun on a moto, but not so much when you gotta pedal. Teaches good balance and gets a kid used to the bike sliding about and steering with the throttle.

    Every bike has something to teach.
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  8. #33
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    I get what you are saying about it not being the balance bike per se that has given my son the ability, however it has given him the opportunity. And just 3 and a half he has been on two wheels (balance bike) for almost 2 years.

  9. #34
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    I agree with both of you. For really young kids, a balance bike is great pick. There's no way they're not going to learn something from it, and have a good time doing it. I can see that they definitely give kids an opportunity to start learning handling skills early. And I guess the biggest benefit is that you're able to get them out riding with you and enjoying the whole thing together when they're really young, cuz there's not much better than riding with your kid. They can also open up terrain that you could never tackle with training wheels. I do think though that the playing field kinda levels out once kids have spent a year or so riding a regular bike, no matter how they started.

    That's definitely not to take away from all the fun you guys have had with them though. If someone was considering one, I can't think of any solid reason NOT to get one, and there are plenty of positives to them. Obviously, they can get kids fired up to ride, which is the primary objective.

    We definitely like to mess with the motorized stuff too (I was eyeing those electric trails-y rigs pretty hard for a while, still haven't ruled one out entirely; they look like a good time). I'm sure it's played a huge part in my son's riding skills; a 25 lb bike is a whole lot easier to throw around then a snowmobile or dirt bike. It all starts with those damn Powerwheels...



    Steve - ever consider building a stretch of bike-friendly trail at your spot? Pretty easy to do, specially when she can help break it in with the moto. Sounds like maybe you could establish a nice little singletrack built to order? Nobody wants to pedal through a bunch of tall grass and loose surface. Building trail is really fun and rewarding in general; it's even better creating something dialed just for your kid, and right out the door.
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  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Steve - ever consider building a stretch of bike-friendly trail at your spot? Pretty easy to do, specially when she can help break it in with the moto. Sounds like maybe you could establish a nice little singletrack built to order? Nobody wants to pedal through a bunch of tall grass and loose surface. Building trail is really fun and rewarding in general; it's even better creating something dialed just for your kid, and right out the door.
    Your son gets to ride snowmobiles? Lucky boy!

    Land with bike trails has been a life long dream. But first I had to clear all the dead aspens. 1/2 the property was a maze of dead trees piled up - you needed both hands just to walk through it.

    I have made a start on a few bike and moto trails. My 300 is proving to be a great way to cut trail. Just keep riding it and next thing you know you've got a trail.

    But it's still probably too bumpy for a rigid bike without a lot of smoothing by hand or rototiller or something.

    The dirt roads are smooth and only get 1-2 cars a day, so I think that's where she'll be riding her Banshee when it arrives.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Skipping balance bikes and training wheels-log.jpg  

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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71 View Post
    Your son gets to ride snowmobiles? Lucky boy! .
    Yeah, that's him in the pic on his 370 that Santa brought this year. He also recently moved up to a 100cc trail bike w/ clutch and all a few weeks ago. Lately hes been asking 'so...when can I do a burnout with the Trans Am?' and I have to keep telling him 'when you can see over the dash and hold in the clutch at the same time.'

    I think I might've created a small monster.



    Your spot looks awesome. Enough passes with the motos over time should yield you some good trail for when she gets a just a little bigger and more experienced. Be you can make some cool trialsy stuff with all the tree debris too. Also makes good backing for berms.
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmum View Post
    I'd have to agree with the above but would even take it further.

    I suspect that your son has the same mentality as the people in the x games or in those commercials for the military, like the one of the guy diving off the cliff to get a backpack.

    I don't think its a common trait. Or at the very least I know I don't have it.
    YES I forgot to mention that X-Gamer attitude that not everyone is born with. Some are born with it and some learn it or as Pete Rose says there are 3 rules in life...#1 Be aggressive, #2 Be even more aggressive, and #3 Never be satisfied.

    I have still not heard anyone chime in on how to teach stopping w/o crashing, starting, and turning. My son and daughter and all my nephews I have taught seem to have the most trouble with those 3 things..especially starting to ride from a stopped position.

  13. #38
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    You have get make sure they're clear on the fact that a bike that isn't moving wants to fall over, but a bike that's rolling wants to stay upright. Grab a random wheel (that's not on a bike) and show them how when it's spinning, they only have to hold the axle on one end and the wheel stands up, and how they hold both sides, and try to lean the wheel sideways, it fights to stay upright. Then let them the same things with the wheel when it's not spinning. Lesson learned - when bikes stop, they want to tip over.

    If they're crashing when they're starting off, chances are they're rushing a bit to get both feet on the pedals. Have them put one foot on a pedal and use the other one to push off a couple kicks to get the bike rolling before moving it onto the pedal. Practice the opposite for stopping - if coming to a stop, be ready and have a foot ready to lean on. Turning, well, it's a lifelong learning curve there. Biggest problem I see little kids having with turning is putting the inside pedal down and catching it when they lean. This one is a little tougher, but again, show them what's going on, then coach them through it a bit. Start to teach them to drop their outside foot at the same time and try to show them the mechanics of how it helps. They'll also tend to try to steer by turning the bars more than they need to; show them how turning is more about leaning the bike than twisting the bars (once they know to get the inside pedal out of the way). And as soon as they're comfortable riding sitting down, make sure they start getting equally as comfortable riding standing. IMO, not being comfortable riding while standing is the biggest and most common thing that limits kids (adults too, now that I think of it) to being 'pedallers' rather than 'riders'.

    Not everything is gonna sink in all at once of course, but a couple little practice sessions in the driveway can do wonders.


    I don't think there's any difference attitude-wise between a kid that likes and has a knack for biking and a kid that does well at any other particular activity. There's really no difference between an 'X-games' mentality and an 'Olympics' mentality, or that of anyone who takes part in any sport from a young age. The coolest thing about biking is that there is not really much inherent advantage to age, size, or strength when it comes to bike handling. I've ridden with countless of kids that I've got decades more riding experience than, and they constantly impress (and outride) me. And just like every other sport, they're all individuals with their own styles, personalities, and reasons why they like to ride. Some of them are just better natural riders than most of us, and some just like to ride so much they throw themselves into it and learn through lots of time on the bike. Chalking it up to some sort of 'extreme' mentality kind of sells short the amount of skill and effort many non-traditional athletes bring to their sports. Every time I watch a rider like the kid in this video, I can't help but compare the level of dedication and skill to something like world-class gymnastics or figure skating. There are definitely people out there that employ some aggression, but at a high level, it takes a whole helluva lot more than that.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7Nqpsa2Whw
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  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I think I might've created a small monster.
    Sounds more like partners in crime!

    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post

    Your spot looks awesome. Enough passes with the motos over time should yield you some good trail for when she gets a just a little bigger and more experienced. Be you can make some cool trialsy stuff with all the tree debris too. Also makes good backing for berms.
    Thanks! I'm definitely leaving all the green wood in big enough pieces to build stuff with.
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