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  1. #1
    fc
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    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.

    fc

  2. #2
    turtles make me hot
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    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.
    I like turtles

  3. #3
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    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
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    Great question!

    I'd love to know how anyone convinced their kids to ride. Mine have NO interest in riding a bike since falling off it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pro12tc View Post
    Great question!

    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.


    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..

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  6. #6
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    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.

  7. #7
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    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.

  8. #8
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    Kids:
    "I dont think you will like it" or "I dont think you can do/make it".

    Wife
    "xxx looks like she has gained weight....You wanna go for a little ride?"

  9. #9
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    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!
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonz View Post
    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.
    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. I also think they learn about balance and cornering on the trail-a-bike.

    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.
    "Serves you right to suffer." -The Wife (after being 2 hours late)

  11. #11
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    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.

  12. #12
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by the.vault View Post
    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.
    Agreed!!!

    fc

  13. #13
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    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!
    Absolutely!

  14. #14
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    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

    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

  15. #15
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    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.

  16. #16
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    located in Norcal, South Bay.

    son, 8yo
    daughter, 6yo
    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.

  17. #17
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    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.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by the.vault View Post
    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.
    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.

    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...
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
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  19. #19
    fc
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    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.

    fc
    Last edited by fc; 10-05-2012 at 01:43 PM.

  20. #20
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    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.

  21. #21
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    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: Anecdote about Introducing Mountain Biking

    Fundamental problems with bikes and small/very light riders posted here: I'll tell you what..grip shift sucks for the 3 females in my house.


    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.

  22. #22
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    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.

  23. #23
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by asphalt_jesus View Post
    ...

    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.
    Interesting viewpoint.

    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?

    fc

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    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.

    fc
    All of them, but I haven't done the pump tracks and I haven't taken a ton of pictures.

    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.

  25. #25
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    My boys only seem to get excited about riding if I mention I am going to bring the ContourHD camera along. Weve 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.
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  26. #26
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    My wife used to ride mountain bikes all the time, but I've only gotten her out a handful of times in the last few years. Our son is nearly 4 years old, that could have something to do with it, but it could also be related to her smashing most of her teeth and taking 3 years to recover from a big crash in Whistler. She's just started triathaloning, so I guess we'll be spending some time on road bikes.

    My son wants to ride dirt trails with me, but I've told him not until he takes off the training wheels. :-)
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  27. #27
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    To add for kids...

    Show them

    - Take them to your races so they can see you race, or just let them see you participate in riding & having fun.

    - Expose them to the culture, take them to events.

    - Roam on DVD. My oldest watched it about 100 times when he was 4. He was racing BMX the next year.


    When going riding, call it "Exploring" or "Going on an adventure". It's accurate to them and it ignites their imagination.

    Ride to the local ice cream / yogurt shop together. Ride to pizza together. Ride to school together.

    Always positive with them and tell them how proud you are of them for their accomplishments - even what seems simple to us can be hard for them. When you get home, tell Mom their great accomplishments in front of them (3rd party validation).

    Have a treat to have mid-ride.

    Fox Racing Pee Wee Elbow Guards, cheap, great fitting, don't slide off.

    If it's cool, long sleeves & pants. Less pain = more fun.

    Remind them to breath deep. They hold their breath when it gets hard for them.

    And finally, KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Quick to get to trail, smooth trail to ride, minimal hills. They will tell you when they want to go to the next level.

    You have fun with them - they can sense it & love it

    P

  28. #28
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    My seven year old and I recently upped his difficulty level one notch. Actually, when he graduated from 20 to 24 inch wheels, it made roots and rocks a little easier for him to negotiate, so that was a big help.
    I like turtles

  29. #29
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    Just remembered a few while riding with my 5 year old tonight...

    - Check YOUR expectations at the door. They are the skill they are, and will learn at their pace. Let them be happy who they are.

    - I learned from coaching soccer & baseball that pressure is regressive to a kid's learning curve. Do not push them to do anything. I've seen this way too often and it sucks for the kids and really stunts the kids enjoyment of the sport.

    - Try to stay away from telling them what not to do (to them, it leaves open a million variables on what they should do) instead kindly tell them what to do (then they know).

    P

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Interesting viewpoint.

    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?
    I don't. My kid would do it once and never touch it again knowing that dear old Dad set her up for something she didn't want to do. I don't want that to be the legacy.

    Besides, it's not like we get that much time together and this is an intact family situation. A good time for all means a different kind of ride and that's fine. More to the point, she's told her friends it was a great time and wants to go again. That's what we mountain bike enthusiasts should be after.

    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    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?
    The point is to make a positive memory. Descending is getting outside and doing. It's not exactly what *I* do and that's okay. My kid is not me and will not ever be me, so maybe she picks it up, maybe she doesn't. She will have had a positive experience and not be shy about doing it again.


    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    How hard do you try and when is the best age?
    I try very hard and never for very long. But, it's not about cajoling my kid up a hill she doesn't want to ride. My effort goes into listening very carefully to their needs and looking for opportunities for them to connect to the activity. "look at this!" "check this out" and then asked "I want to go over there." Lots of eating/drinking going on too. It's all good. Time flies like this! On their scale, it really is an adventure.

    Best age is difficult. I always leave well before frustration, fatigue or falls set in. Over the years, that's been an hour at most. This last time was about twice that and she's 13 and very active in another sport. It seems like and adventure to them even though you aren't doing much on your scale.

    We ski too and the same rules apply. Yes, that's an *expensive* few half-days of doing a couple of runs, eating/drinking and doing a couple more runs. But she likes skiing and asks to go every year now. Snow shoeing? Same thing. She will find 'her thing' as she grows up and I'm pretty sure she will be physically active as a result of these activities. I think that's the goal of being a parent.

  31. #31
    fc
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    I collected these videos and put together this article

    Little Rippers – Riding with the Next Generation like Malcolm at Hellion Park | Mountain Bike Review

    The gold standard is Malcolm here who is 4 years old. Watch the dad and how he acts with son. Really good coaching for this level of independence. And what we don't see is the hundreds of hours it took to get to this level.

    Little Rippers – Riding with the Next Generation like Malcolm at Hellion Park | Mountain Bike Review

    <iframe width="853" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0qmQrEM5rVA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by asphalt_jesus View Post
    I don't. My kid would do it once and never touch it again knowing that dear old Dad set her up for something she didn't want to do. I don't want that to be the legacy.

    Besides, it's not like we get that much time together and this is an intact family situation. A good time for all means a different kind of ride and that's fine. More to the point, she's told her friends it was a great time and wants to go again. That's what we mountain bike enthusiasts should be after.


    The point is to make a positive memory. Descending is getting outside and doing. It's not exactly what *I* do and that's okay. My kid is not me and will not ever be me, so maybe she picks it up, maybe she doesn't. She will have had a positive experience and not be shy about doing it again.




    I try very hard and never for very long. But, it's not about cajoling my kid up a hill she doesn't want to ride. My effort goes into listening very carefully to their needs and looking for opportunities for them to connect to the activity. "look at this!" "check this out" and then asked "I want to go over there." Lots of eating/drinking going on too. It's all good. Time flies like this! On their scale, it really is an adventure.

    Best age is difficult. I always leave well before frustration, fatigue or falls set in. Over the years, that's been an hour at most. This last time was about twice that and she's 13 and very active in another sport. It seems like and adventure to them even though you aren't doing much on your scale.

    We ski too and the same rules apply. Yes, that's an *expensive* few half-days of doing a couple of runs, eating/drinking and doing a couple more runs. But she likes skiing and asks to go every year now. Snow shoeing? Same thing. She will find 'her thing' as she grows up and I'm pretty sure she will be physically active as a result of these activities. I think that's the goal of being a parent.
    YES!!! on all counts!

    It's really more about planting the seed, & nurturing it, so it blossoms beautifully later.

    My 5 year was saying yesterday, "When is the downhill Dad?" he calls them rollercoasters. Give them what they want, as they know it better than we do.

    P

  33. #33
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    Just got back from a weekend of riding with husby and our 7yo daughter, who got a Marin Hidden Canyon for her birthday on the 29th. Saturday we ended up at a trail system that was going to be too steep for her to handle- she is having a hard time w/ the hand brakes so it's not just uphill that's the problem- so we just slapped on the TAB and spent a few hours tooling around that way.

    Sunday we went back to a beautiful little RR grade trail and she ended up doing 5.6 miles out and back. She rode what she wanted to ride and walked what she wanted to walk. We stopped and looked at butterflies, rocks, plants (the leaves are really turning brilliant right now), the little creek under the bridges we crossed, etc. And lots and lots of snack breaks... apples, pears, energy bars, grocery store California rolls, and momma's shot blok stash is getting seriously dented, lol....

    Husby said after it was all said and done, that was one of the best rides he'd done all season. We had SUCH a good time. Kid even begged to get her bike back out when we got home so she could just ride it around in the driveway until it was too dark, lol.

    The thing I'd like to note here is that we just focused on enjoying our time together. NOT INSTRUCTION. Yeah, we had a couple tips, but the overload point is so quick I wanted to keep it to only maybe a couple most critical things and just leave the rest alone and focus on having fun.

    Now for the moment of painful honesty: when I look at some of the posts here, my natural reaction is that I wouldn't like riding with ya either. Your nitpick is showing. Just RELAX and let your peeps enjoy. The best ride of the season for them might be going through the drive though for ice cream, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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  34. #34
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    P.S. And now that the days are getting short here in the north, we mounted a little flashlight block on her handlebars and let her try night riding in the driveway last night. Bikes + flashlights = kid ecstasy, lol!
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  35. #35
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    Thanks for spurring me into action with your thread Francois. I arranged a play date for my son, dusted off my road bike and had a great ride with the Missus until the sun set.

    Resolving to go ahead and do it, and then accommodating her preference to ride the road was my way, I'm sure if we make a habit of it we'll get some trail time in sooner rather than later.
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  36. #36
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    Inspired by this thread, I took my son to waterdog Friday afternoon for the first time. As mentioned above, he just turned 5, and I bought him a 20" Giant XTC JR which is still a little too big. But, he has already figured out the gears and brakes, so I thought it would be better than his 16" SS hotrock with all of the hills. (John Brooks, down the Berry trail to the lake, then back up the lake road trail to the car. He walked a lot of the trails, both uphill and downhill, but overall had an enjoyable experience (after saying, "I can't do it!" probably 20 times.)

    We followed that up with his first cyclocross race at the CCCX race Sunday. We dusted off the hotrock for this one since he can get on and off of it much easier. What a difference having other kids riding all around him made. He was having a blast. Right in the beginning, a kid fell over and I jokingly started yelling, "Man down, Rider down!" So every time my son went over the bars in the sand, he'd yell "Man down!" laughing, or "man almost down" if he saved it. It was a great experience, especially with all of the kids winning California Giant strawberries and getting up on the podium for a group photo. I'm hoping we can make it down to Manzanita park in Prundale this Sunday to do it all over again.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Most kids like descending but it is rare they will want to climb and suffer up a hill.
    So my kid is five, and we were rolling back to the car after a 15-km epic (by far his longest ride to date). One big hill remains between us and the finish, and he's already said he's to tired and is going to walk it. I said good idea.

    But as we roll along, two bigger kid on bikes pass us and start up the hill ahead. When they get halfway up, we see one of them stop and start walking. Without a word, son-of-ghettocruiser is standing on the pedals to hammer all the way to the top for the over-take.

    I know there`s no motivational methodology anywhere in there. But it`s pretty clear by now my kids may be suffering on hills due to a genetics issue, i.e. the genes they got from their idiot father.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    So my kid is five, and we were rolling back to the car after a 15-km epic (by far his longest ride to date). One big hill remains between us and the finish, and he's already said he's to tired and is going to walk it. I said good idea.

    But as we roll along, two bigger kid on bikes pass us and start up the hill ahead. When they get halfway up, we see one of them stop and start walking. Without a word, son-of-ghettocruiser is standing on the pedals to hammer all the way to the top for the over-take.

    I know there`s no motivational methodology anywhere in there. But it`s pretty clear by now my kids may be suffering on hills due to a genetics issue, i.e. the genes they got from their idiot father.
    This is exactly what I'm talking about. Peer pressure motivation is the real deal.

    fc

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    P.S. And now that the days are getting short here in the north, we mounted a little flashlight block on her handlebars and let her try night riding in the driveway last night. Bikes + flashlights = kid ecstasy, lol!

    Right on man. Here are my kids and I on the way home from the pump track. They were tripping out on a 2 year old that hit all the steep lines. I try to show my kids that riding is just a way of life, just like walking. Ride in the morning, to the park, at night, in the rain. It is no big deal.

    And a lot of the instruction happens at home in these neighborhood rides. It allows me to assess them and see what trails they're ready for.

    When a kid ride is perfectly planned and executed, it should feel stress-free and fun.

    fc
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What's the best way to motivate your kids or your spouse to ride?-img_5785.jpg  

    What's the best way to motivate your kids or your spouse to ride?-img_5788.jpg  

    What's the best way to motivate your kids or your spouse to ride?-img_5796.jpg  

    Last edited by fc; 10-09-2012 at 04:25 PM.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by maleonardphi View Post
    Inspired by this thread, I took my son to waterdog Friday afternoon for the first time. As mentioned above, he just turned 5, and I bought him a 20" Giant XTC JR which is still a little too big. But, he has already figured out the gears and brakes, so I thought it would be better than his 16" SS hotrock with all of the hills. (John Brooks, down the Berry trail to the lake, then back up the lake road trail to the car. He walked a lot of the trails, both uphill and downhill, but overall had an enjoyable experience (after saying, "I can't do it!" probably 20 times.)

    We followed that up with his first cyclocross race at the CCCX race Sunday. We dusted off the hotrock for this one since he can get on and off of it much easier. What a difference having other kids riding all around him made. He was having a blast. Right in the beginning, a kid fell over and I jokingly started yelling, "Man down, Rider down!" So every time my son went over the bars in the sand, he'd yell "Man down!" laughing, or "man almost down" if he saved it. It was a great experience, especially with all of the kids winning California Giant strawberries and getting up on the podium for a group photo. I'm hoping we can make it down to Manzanita park in Prundale this Sunday to do it all over again.
    nice job! Waterdog, that's almost a perfect place. Why didn't I think of that place. I hardly go there, though, kinda far for me for such a short ride.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    nice job! Waterdog, that's almost a perfect place. Why didn't I think of that place. I hardly go there, though, kinda far for me for such a short ride.
    Right now, it's too steep both up and down for him. We've been to Arastradero a couple times this year, and that is much more manageable. Waterdog is just so close for us. Maybe we'll try again this weekend.

  42. #42
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    The best place for in San Jose, Bay Area for kids I hear is:

    Bayfront Park in Menlo Park
    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=bayfr...+park&t=h&z=16

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim-ti View Post
    Thanks for spurring me into action with your thread Francois. I arranged a play date for my son, dusted off my road bike and had a great ride with the Missus until the sun set.

    Resolving to go ahead and do it, and then accommodating her preference to ride the road was my way, I'm sure if we make a habit of it we'll get some trail time in sooner rather than later.
    Yes!! My wife was miserable mountain biking. But after road riding for 4 years, mountain biking is much easier for her now.

    fc

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by maleonardphi View Post
    Right now, it's too steep both up and down for him. We've been to Arastradero a couple times this year, and that is much more manageable. Waterdog is just so close for us. Maybe we'll try again this weekend.
    It's going to be tough for a 5yo no matter how you slice it. Arastradero may be OK, but there will be walking parts, and endurance is an issue.

    Try changing the gearing. I run my daughter's 20" as a 1x9, with a 28T chainring and 12-36T cassette. I haven't taken my daughter to Arastradero yet, but should soon.

    My son (24" bike) finds Arastradero boring and can clear everything there with no problems. I think Waterdog would be a good experience for him, he rides Long Ridge and Santa Teresa (including Stiles Ranch) normally.

    When my kids were 5, I liked to take them to Old Haul Road for a nice long and easy ride.

  45. #45
    fc
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    Ok, I got the article written. Comment there please and help me improve it. My research in this forum made it possible.

    How To: Getting Your Kids and Spouse to Mountain Bike | Mountain Bike Review

    fc

  46. #46
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    Nice article! I see some familiar bikes and faces in the photo slideshow too!
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  47. #47
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    For the wife (if you have kids) I would underscore the importance of clearing time to ride and finding childcare (ie. don't ask her to do it - do it yourself!). That is often the obstacle for us if I wait until the last minute to arrange something. My wife is not that into biking but I am working on her. I think she imagines she will enjoy it less than she will...

  48. #48
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    I just bought lots of pink bits for her bike lol, Was rewarded with a road trip from England to the Alps this year which she loved and fantastically she cant wait to do it again next year. Happy days,

  49. #49
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    For kids-Read [U]The Talent Code[U]. Get through the first 50 pages and the rest is very informative. Don't be afraid to let them rock the BMX bike on the trails. My 6yo nephew takes his 18" Haro on 10 mile rides regularly. A front brake and bottle mount will be mounted shortly though.He also attends my races and sees the kids on MTB. He's just itching to get out there with them.

    My family started by riding beach cruisers, at the beach. We have been hauling bikes down there for most of my 18 year marriage. When I started the MTB scene, my wife realized we didn't have to load, haul, unload, ride, drive home, etc. We can just leave from the house. TRAIL CHOICE IS KEY. I feel like I'm riding down the freeway and my wife thinks we are riding Moab.I've learned to just go for fireroads and flat singletrack. My wife and daughter both love lift assisted riding on beginner trails. Finally, my wifes confidence is going up like crazy by having a spin bike at home. When the kid and I go out, my wife is spinning and working out. She has been working on standing up and climbing. Whether it makes her better or not, she is gaining confidence and can't wait to go see how strong she's gotten.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by miniman868 View Post
    Don't be afraid to let them rock the BMX bike on the trails. My 6yo nephew takes his 18" Haro on 10 mile rides regularly.
    My kids started the same until they reached 20" size.

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