My nine year old son and I ...
would like to travel from our lower New York (Westchester County) location for a couple of days of camping and riding somewhere a bit south. Unfortunately, his skills are pretty limited to general dirt trails at this point, but I'd like to get him out riding (and some time away from mom and sisters one and two, one being his twin). Maybe southern Jersey, PA, northern VA even. But the important piece is to find trails he can ride. He does have a Canadian bike, 21 speed, knobbies, etc.
Any suggestions out there? We want to go during the second week of April.
Work. Ride. Eat. Sleep.
Lots of great places in Pa....many that aren't very challenging, but scenic.
Unfortunately, much of Pa, doesn't have bike paths, but lots of State Parks do have trails you can ride on.
Originally Posted by PeterMiller
The Youghiogheny River Trail sounds interesting.
The Appalachian Trail is another nice one but many sections of it could be rough.
You might check out the new MBA mag
I got it last night in the mail. This month's state with a map of all the good rides is PA. It might be overkill, but it would be a good place to start....
It'll give you good reference point of what is in PA and some local contacts (LBS) for trail info...
What size is his bike?
I had my now 10 year old son out on the real trails on a small (12.5" frame) 26" bike when he was nine. He's now on clipless too and he's just EATING UP THE TRAIL. It all depends on your son's overall interest in the sport - my son has wanted to ride on the trails with me for a long time.
You'd be AMAZED at how quickly he'll come up to speed with a few introductory real trail rides - little kids bikes are horrible too. His very first bike was a Giant MTX 24"er that weighed MORE than my freeride bike. His new 26"er weighs considerably less, has much better brakes and components...he's much happier on the trail not having to lug around a boat anchor.
"I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me
Both of my kids (a boy and a girl) started doing more serious trails at eight or nine years old. I took my son on the DH course at Castaic Lake (itís not that difficult for a DH, but itís a lot of fun) when he was eight and he cleaned it without falling (yes, we rode up first via another trail). My daughter and I did the chair lift thing at Big Bear when she was ten and itís not like they have spent a ton of time on bikes.
Youíll have to use your best judgment to assess his skills and willingness, but all Iím saying is that he may be more able than you think (able to handle more than mild trails and bike paths) and itís rides like these that they will really remember, especially if thereís any kind of a small water crossing!
Iíll never forget my daughterís first epic ride (for a nine year old). She had a Sears rigid 24" wheeled boat anchor. We rode Sycamore Canyon from the Newbury Park side. We rode the Wood Canyon trail and there were several small water crossings. At the first one that was about two feet across and only a few inches deep, she stopped and didnít want to cross. She could have easily walked across it, but I was very patient although I suggested she would be better off to learn to ride through it. It took about fifteen minutes of her himming and hawing before she finally decided to try riding across it, which she did easily. The next one was a little bigger and she only stopped for moment before cruising right through it. That was all she needed. Now she wanted more water crossings and lucky for her there was several more. They got wider and deeper as we neared the coast and she was very pleased and excited with herself for tackling them. We rode down Coast Hwy to Neptuneís Net for lunch and then rode back to Newbury Park for a total of 31 miles by the time we were through. On the way back she really flew into one of the bigger water crossings and fell, but didnít get hurt besides a minor scrape and a bit of pride. She sucked it up and was still hungry for more water crossings, but was now a bit more cautious (as she should be). By the time we made it back to the bottom of the Black ďBĒ (if youíve ever rode this, you know what I am referring to), she was pretty tired, but managed to ride up and out. I was really proud of her so we stopped at the LBS and got her a new pair of gloves and a CB at In-n-Out. She barely managed to finish her cheeseburger and passed out on the back seat for the hour drive home.
Oh yeah, she was hooked!
Great story JeffJ..
I love hearing that stuff. My nine year old is really into the bmx scene (not the racing so much but loves the jumping). He's been begging for trail time so this spring, I think we are going to do our first real ride. Im thinking of just jacking the seat on his bmx. The geometry is so so for trails but the bike is a sweet Redline and only 17 lbs so I think that would make it less of a bear for him. Anyway, your post gives me encouragement that it will be a great experience. Thanks. Here's a quick pic (from a video capture) of him hitting a ramp in our driveway last month...to each his own I guess!
though hope is frail, it must prevail - Taj Weekes
betam eh-wud-eh-HA-lehu yeh-nay Ityopia!
Awesome stuff folks!
I've got to post some pics of my son airing it out last weekend. He was scaring his old man!
Epic...ever heard of The Monarch Crest ride in Colorado? Before I upped my son to his nice new and light 26'er - he lugged his Giant MTX 24 boat anchor through the entire thing. It starts at 10,000ft - goes up to 13,000ft and meanders along the Continental Divide and back down to town for 26+ miles. My 12 year old huffed her GT Avalance the whole way too.
They sure crashed hard in the back seat on the way home too! They're now on clipless and want to do it again this year...
"I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me