What's the best way to motivate your kids or your spouse to ride?
Describe you situation, area and age of family members. What are your goals? How long have been at it?
What has worked for you in getting your family out to ride? What hasn't?
This is probably the single most important area of getting our families riding so let's share some experiences.
My son... NO Problem.
My wife on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with riding off road or up hills or anything. Then, last year, we went riding in Florida and Georgia. She rode some pretty good trails on her Cannondale Silk Trail. I heard her telling friends on the phone "we were mountain biking" and now she wants a new bike.
I'm building her a Spearfish.
Only took 11 years.
met my wife mountain biking - so that's a no brainer (she was faster than me...and will be again) :)
my son took to it like white on rice - he was just naturally comfortable with it starting at 17 months old.
now my daughter OTOH has just about zero interest. She loves the trailer, and loves watching us ride...but pop her on a strider? she'll go like 3' and that's it...she is done.
granted she's 18 months old - so I just keep the bike where she can get to it...and if she wants to try cool. if not, that's cool too...
the no pressure approach works best IMO
I'd love to know how anyone convinced their kids to ride. Mine have NO interest in riding a bike since falling off it.
I use Bell Toddler pads....works great for instilling confidence.
Originally Posted by pro12tc
Link to Target (i found mine at K-Mart):
Bell Riderz Boy's Street Shred Pad Set : Target
No big deal to crash once....but hit that same knee/elbow again 10 minutes later? Then it's a big deal..
I got my girlfriend biking after I built her a bike with the colors she likes (purple).
Started on very flat twisty singletrack. She's fallen a few times and gotten hurt but reassurance that she is a badass got her on the bike. She was gunshy after the first fall or two, but on her own time she got comfortable and faster than ever.
8 months later and she's on a Niner EMD and rips.
I'd be interested to hear about people's experiences in using a trail-a-bike versus it being a setback to getting their kids riding on their own. I have a 12 month old, who's been riding with me in the Burley since he was 6 months, and I also have an Adam's for when he's old enough.
At the same time I want to introduce him to the Stryder as soon as he seems ready, which is giving me second thoughts about even using the Adam's at all, and just selling it. I don't want it to become a crutch and keep him from learning good bike skills on his own at an early age.
"I dont think you will like it" or "I dont think you can do/make it".
"xxx looks like she has gained weight....You wanna go for a little ride?"
My wife and I started mountain biking together in our 20s. We don't get to ride together much anymore, since we have a 3 and 6 year old. Both kids love to ride. I have found the easiest way to encourage your kids to ride is positive peer pressure from kids their age. If they have friends who ride or see other kids their age riding, they want to do it. Nothing I say makes a difference - but when my then 4 year old saw another 4 year old riding without training wheels she had to do it and never looked back.
Balance bikes are huge for small children to get confidence and balance. We also have a trail-a-bike that I take my oldest on rides. She's got her own 20" mtn bike now, so when the youngest is a little bigger I'll take him on the trail-a-bike and we'll all get to ride together as a family. That will be the day! :thumbsup:
From my experience, the trail-a-bike is just a way for them to ride with you. It is completely separate from them riding their own bikes. When we go camping, my kids ride their own bikes most of the time - but I'll take my oldest on a trail ride to plant the seeds. :thumbsup: I also think they learn about balance and cornering on the trail-a-bike.
Originally Posted by jonz
You probably won't be able to use the trail-a-bike till their 4 anyways - plenty of time to learn to ride a balance and/or pedal bike before then. :)
There was a good/friendly women's cycling group local to us. I encouraged my wife to go on some rides with them.
I'd get her out of bed in the morning, get her bike ready, fill up bottles. All the little things when you aren't motivated to get out on ride, that sometimes stop you....I try and help out with those types of things.
When I pick rides for her to go on. I try to pick rides which are doable and enjoyable, for her. Not super punishing.
Originally Posted by the.vault
Originally Posted by slcdawg
I bought my Wife and I MTB's first. My 6 & 8 yr olds had serious bike envy (they only had bmx style bikes at the time). So I scored them some 20" Hotrocks not long after and that fueled their passion. ;)
My 8yr old son is a all out MTB Junkie. He's done 12-16mi rides with 1500-2000k on REAL trails without issue. He's gonna out ride me in just a couple years... if I'm lucky it'll take that long lol.
My 6yr old daughter is a bit of a fraidy cat, but she loves to ride. Pretty much only had her on really really easy stuff so far, don't want to scare her out of it too quick. Plus she's very petite and her biggest problem is braking (parts on order to fix this though).
My wife started with a $300 bike and after riding it a few months, she liked seeing weight loss and feeling more fit. So one day I said "lets go bike shopping... for you". Letting her test out all kinds of bikes and pick out a much better bike has really gotten her into it. She is now asking when the next ride is :thumbsup:
I find the kids don't care where we ride... as long as they are involved. Just a ride around the neighborhood as a family brings big smiles to their faces. I have tried my best not to be pushy and teach/coach them. I ride by myself or with riders my skill level for me time. Family camping trips where we bring the bikes along have been a big hit also :D
When I started riding about 8 or 9 years ago, I bought my wife a mountain bike and she hated it. We quickly sold it and bought her a road bike. We ended up doing the AIDS/lifecycle the next year, and she seemed to enjoy all of the training rides and the ride itself. Then she got pregnant that winter. Fast forward 5+years, and our son just turned 5. We do one or two 30ish mile charity rides a year together, but that's it. She's never ridden without me, and has no interest in doing so. I've tried to get her to ride with girls we both now, join Velo Girls, anything. But she doesn't care all that much. It's just something we can do together and roll it in to a weekend away in wine country while my parents watch our son.
As for my son, he isn't really in to riding lately. We started going to Arastradero earlier this year and were going to Shells in Foster City quite a bit. But he has just lost interest. Plus, now that he has started kindergarten, he is pretty wiped out after being at school/after school care all day with no nap. I'm hoping by the time spring rolls around, he'll be adjusted to the new routine and ready to ride. I actually found a deal on a Giant XTC 20" bike, put some old carbon bars on it, got a free Ritchey super logic carbon post from a friend, swapped the 140mm crank arms for a set of Sinz 125 BMX cranks, and put on some Kenda SB8s. I thought he would be pretty excited about getting it for his birthday, but he just wanted to know where all of the toys were... Oh well, it's still a little too big for him, so we'll just put it away for the winter and wait until next year.
As for the trail-a-bike, I bought one used and we use it for going to the park and running errands. But I refuse to take him on any trails since he doesn't really peddle that much. I tried it once at skeggs about 9 months ago and it was pretty miserable. My geared bike is a 29er with a 2x10 42-28 setup. So I don't have much of a granny gear for the climbs when I'm towing him. He actually keeps asking to go to waterdog on it, but I'm not sure I want to drag him around there.
located in Norcal, South Bay.
wife, don't ask
kids started biking first (around 1yo), i followed after when my son got too fast for me to jog next to, and then the wife followed suit after. Basically, I started 2 years ago, almost exactly now. The kids took a small break from about 2-4/5.
Daughter likes to cruise, and not as agressive on the trails as my son. Family rides are basically me riding with her, and my son going ahead with the wife. The hardest thing is to find a set up that works well for her. What worked for my son, doesn't really work for her. She's not as strong, physically, even at the same age. Shifting is hard, I've tried triggers and twisters. I need to spend some time with her, riding, to work things out and to stoke the fire some more. She does enjoy it, but not to the degree my son did.
Son is really good, and can handle hill climbs like St. Joe's and up to Coyote Peak at STCP from Bernal, but i have a hard time finding the time to take him out. He's OK on technical stuff, but needs more time on it, such as Stiles Ranch. He rides Long Ridge well (his favorite trail system so far), and have been meaning to step it up to Saratoga Gap, but haven't had the time to take him. He also wants to learn to jump, but I can't really jump, so that's about the limit there. I have a skateboard ramp that he goes off of. I need to work on some techniques there, as I can see he's coming down on his front wheel. Manuals and wheelies are where I need to start, I think. He also wants to race all the time, he has the cardio for it, and keeps up the cardio with socceer.
His first hobby is soccer, and he's really into it. His 2nd is biking, but I need to find a way to make both work. I haven't been able to yet. With soccer practice 2x a week, and games on Sat, and Sunday are for my rides, it doesn't leave much.
I also need to find a bike club/team for kids in the South Bay of California. I haven't come across any yet. It would be nice to get out, and have the kids make friends and have regular rides.
The wife, well, she's kind of a lost cause. She'll do family rides, but that's about it. I've offered her different groups and friends that ride, but she's not bitten onto anything. It always must be family rides, or she won't go. At the same time, she's afraid to try any thing and doesn't want to take advice and if she does she doesn't go out to practice or is too afraid to practice when someone is watching...but she doesn't want to ride alone. So, I don't know, I just let her do her own thing....which is pretty much no rides.
Edit: motivation for riding, just ask them if they want to go. The wife, well, she'll go when it's a family ride, or me and her. But, there's usually tons of excuses to go with it. The kids, no excuses, just go.
We met due to mountain bikes. I actually ride more frequently than he does, although he still wastes me (bastage!).
Our daughter is VERY cautious. Took her a while before she was motivated to use the balance bike, but husby riding around on his bike in circles in the driveway night after night was/is sufficient enticement. She's now on her first MTB and doing pretty darn well. She's just never going to be doing X-games stuff- it's not her style. That's fine.
IMO extensive off road trail-a-bike time is a HUGE advantage.... I had to teach her how to hold her pedals flat at 3 & 9 to avoid smacking them, how to stand up with bent legs and arms ("like a bouncy frog!") when going over rough stuff, and she naturally banks into corners because she just doesn't know any different. We do a lot of frequent stops for snacks, fun places (pond, big rock slab, lake, river, flowers, butterflies), and even did a couple bikepacking trips, so bikes = good times.
It was interesting seeing her take off on the new Marin Hidden Canyon she got for her 7th birthday this weekend... within minutes she was fearlessly cruising around a dirt campground, even going through some big whoop mud puddles and gravel and whatnot. Given how reluctant she's been on her crappy little girl's bike up until now it was something of a surprise, but I honestly believe that because we've been riding so much rough stuff with the TAB she's got some kinetic frame of reference for handling it.
Our terrain is so severe she'll have years on the TAB yet, but we'll also start seeking out more opportunities for her to ride mellower trails on her own. As far as she knows families just ride all summer and XC ski all winter... she hasn't quite figured out that not everyone does this, especially not all moms, lol.
Yes, my wife really improved by riding with a local mountain bike clubs on their girls only ride. I believe i'm very patient, but still she was more comfortable learning with other women. Now that she is past the beginners part of the curve she likes to ride whenever possible. She tells me that "Women need confidence to do things, men do things to get confidence." I don't particularly like broad generalities like this, but there is some insight into the statement. What works for us may not be the same thing that works for our wives, husbands or kids.
Originally Posted by the.vault
Kids like to be around other kids. Just some time at a park with another kid or two on bikes will get them seat time. You can build skills just on little trails. Little curbs, rocks and things are all over the place that the kids will start going over.
You know your getting somewhere when they start getting their own stuff together, or start to shop online for biking clothes and accessories...
Here's some of my advice. Please highlight the ones you agree with.
Peer Pressure - Nothing works like positive peer pressure. If there's a bunch of moms or women going for a group ride, your wife will probably want to join them, specially if they're her friends. Your kids will want to climb up a big hill if all their cool friends are doing it. Get their friends out riding and your family will go out riding with them.
Ride the road - The road is the perfect place to train. It gets the muscles toned and it gets the rider comfortable with the bike. Ride the road dozens of times. Make it regular, fun and most of all, normal. Every hour they spend pedaling is like money in the bank. Make it count by teaching them how to drop curbs with ease. Mock up some races by sprinting to certain landmarks. Ride to the all the short errands and avoid the car. Make bike riding normal. Your spouse will most likely get hooked on road riding before they do with mountain biking.
Find the right bike -Give your family bikes that fit and make sure they are tuned perfectly. Make sure their saddles are soft and comfy. A little kid doesn't need 35 psi. They need more like 15 psi. And make sure they can reach the brakes easily with their tiny hands. Optimize for control rather than speed. Do not force them into a big bike that they will grow in to 2 years from now. Do not use training wheels on the trail. Do not use training wheels, period. Make sure everyone is on flat pedals
Train them how to ride a bike. - That probably means you need training on how to properly ride a bike. Most adult mountain bikers have never had training on how to ride a bike and it's a shame. Kids do not know how to use shifters and they usually ride in too heavy a gear or shift the opposite way when needed. Teach them to use both brakes all the time. Teach them how to keep the pedals level and absorb shock with their knees and elbows when dropping curbs.
Find the perfect trail - Do not find the best trail for you. Find the safest, easiest, funnest trail for them. Study the course and the route and make sure the course is dialed. Know every turn and every rock. Delete the words 'epic' and 'adventure' on the first rides with your family. Everything has to be perfect and make sure you have an alternate plan when it all goes wrong.
Behave like this is the funnest, most incredible thing in your life. - Their attitude will be a reflection of yours so excitement and enthusiasm for every part of the journey. Do not get mad or frustrated no matter what happens. When something goes wrong, do not panic. Roll with the punches and they will learn to do the same.
Set up a reward or a goal. - Take them to ice cream or pancakes if they make it up a hill. Buy them a new bell, kickstand, stickers if they achieve something new. Get them something for their bike so they will love it and personalize it.
Take a ton of pictures and make an album or a video and relive the adventure with them.
Food and Snacks - Carry all their favorite food and drink and take many breaks. Make sure they eat a lot when needed. Kids have high metabolism and their energy comes in bursts. Take breaks often and make them a fun treat.
Sign them up for training or events - Women's bike camp or Kids training camps will teach them valuable lessons and allow them to be with their peers. Sign your wife up for a metric century or the kids in a race or kiddie triathlon. Nothing motivates like a looming event.
Find the local pump tracks and bike parks - If you're lucky enough to have access to these, go to them regularly. Build up the skills and the comfort level with bikes.
Turn off the distractions - If you kids would rather play the Wii for 4 hours on a Saturday, you're screwed. It's hard to compete against that. So you have to limit the easy/lazy activity so they will go out of the house and achieve.
The goal is to start the cycling fire in them. So you have to be diligent and consistent until they fall in love with it and start looking for it themselves.
I gave my wife bicycle as a weeding present. Now if only we both have some free time (rarely...) I don't have to motivate her. Shared ride is like a travel in time, to past when there weren't so many problems.
IMHO, they have to find their own source of enthusiasm for the activity. Many of the replies have some examples of this.
For me, I have to be careful that my own enthusiasm doesn't overwhelm any interest they may have.
Anecdote posted here: http://forums.mtbr.com/families-ridi...ng-816652.html
Fundamental problems with bikes and small/very light riders posted here: http://forums.mtbr.com/families-ridi...se-801712.html
I don't climb with them, that is for sure. They like downhilling though... So, we have fun doing that. It's great fun and I wouldn't change a thing. That our fun-preferences intersect around descending is good enough.
Family of four. Wife and I mid 40's. My wife likes to bike, mostly for the exercise and the experience. We have 13 and 11 year old boys. My boys are great physical shape from playing soccer and lax year round, but cycling really tires them out. Their 2 favorite sports are snowboarding and skateboarding.
They have just started liking mountain biking. They started liking it more because I found a pump track to practice at and we can bring some friends. I've also taken them to a lift served mtn bike park. We take the easy way down, but it is fun for them because there is less uphill pedaling. For some reason in the past I think they looked at mtn biking as too much of chore without the thrills of snowboarding and skateboarding. We live near a lot of rooty,rocky tech trails so I need to avoid those and find smoother trails that flow, have berms, stuff to hop off etc. It wasn't until this summer that they had the "ah ha" moment when they found you can have some really good times on a bike ripping thru the woods. I'm trying to teach them that it's a great lifelong sport and a fun way to get exercise and hang out with friends and family. A good friend that I ride with has 2 sons and he just got them into mtn biking, so we've gone together a few times. It's worked out well. I've been trying to convince some other friends to join us too.
Originally Posted by asphalt_jesus
This is the main challenge of this thread though. How do you motivate a kid to climb 500 or 1000 feet when there is no motivation to be found?
Most kids like descending but it is rare they will want to climb and suffer up a hill.
So do you just leave it alone and wait for them to ask? Do you try to get them to ride? How hard do you try and when is the best age?
All of them, but I haven't done the pump tracks and I haven't taken a ton of pictures.
Originally Posted by francois
As for bike, I would go as far as to say, something they think is cool, at least for the kids. For the wives, not so much. My wife likes her bike, and thinks it's cool, but that doesn't mean much when it sits.
My son's next bike will likely be the Blur XC C or TRc ....when he's big enough, and continues to ride. He has a thing for carpet fiber and has been wanting a FS bike for a long time. I wish the smaller bikes came in carpet fiber, such as the Mach 4 in XXS. He knows this bit of information. Bribery, perhaps.
My boys only seem to get excited about riding if I mention I am going to bring the ContourHD camera along. We’ve taken several films riding the local singletrack. As for my wife, she is married to her job and is lucky to have time for one or two rides in any given month.