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  1. #1
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    Where Are All the Younger Riders?

    Over at Pinkbike?

    Anyway, the coincidence of the "Oldest Rider" thread and our recent MTB club holiday [non-riding] get-together highlighted the fact that our group is not getting any younger. In fact, the cold reality is that it is getting older. The influx of young riders seems to have bonked. Maybe we're all jerks or no one wants to hang out with "old" people, but at least the former is not likely true (there were at least 60 people at the party - none of whom were below age 33 I think)
    So we discussed for awhile where all of our new members went/go, until it became too depressing of a topic.

    So, where are they? How do we find them?

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  2. #2
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    In our area, most of the younger riders are spending their time on XC racing, either within the confines of school teams or our state off road series. Most don't some to club social events, but they're still around and riding. Every time I find myself at one of the junior team practices, there are usually 20+ kids & some of them are pretty impressive as far as technical skills go.

  3. #3
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    they're riding bmx and moto.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    they're riding bmx and moto.
    I freqent a Moto forum, and I'd say they have just as many, and probably more posters by percentage that fall into the old school moto category. Also, see lots of threads on those forums about "the sport is dying."
    No dig no whine

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    I freqent a Moto forum, and I'd say they have just as many, and probably more posters by percentage that fall into the old school moto category. Also, see lots of threads on those forums about "the sport is dying."
    Which sport were they referring to? Moto or mountain biking? Moto definitely has been dying a slow death over the last two decades.
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  6. #6
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    Still in school or living in moms basement? Lots of peeps in the HS, XC racing teams in New England.

  7. #7
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    There are a ton of kids riding these days, but if you're talking about where online it's definitely on PB.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Which sport were they referring to? Moto or mountain biking? Moto definitely has been dying a slow death over the last two decades.
    They were referring to the death of moto.
    No dig no whine

  9. #9
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    Just anecdotal evidence but it seems like younger people just aren't all that interested in active outdoor stuff. Social media and computer games are more interesting to them

  10. #10
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    Some more anecdotal data...

    A couple years ago we were down at the final NICA race of the season. The kids rode a tough course in tough weather, making the race one that is still talked about. No shortage of skill or competition. The field was maybe 30 riders across all levels. When I extrapolate that into how many non-racers of that age group I think there are, I get a relatively small number compared to the number of non-racers vs. racers in the more "mature" age groups.

    Granted, I didn't start MTBing until I was ~20, but I can't say I see a lot of riders in the 20-30 age range (like I did when I was 20-30).
    We do have a fair share of "old" former MXers, though.

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  11. #11
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    You should consider the possibility they just don't want to hang out with their dads' cohort

  12. #12
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    I see quite a few young riders at my local trail. There is also a big HS group that does a ride once a week or so during the summer.

  13. #13
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    Younger folks use the internet/social media differently than those of us who are older.

    Definitely PB attracts a younger crowd, but there are kids even younger that won't even use PB. Or Facebook. They're on Twitter, Instagram, and elsewhere.

    The younger set is out there, for sure. And yeah...at a certain age, they don't want to spend time around people their parents' age. Wasn't until I was really into my 30's that I was comfortable hanging out with people in their 60s and 70s.

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    I know one young rider who's lying around in the living room right now recovering from the flu. He's a ripper and loves riding with his old dad as long as there aren't long climbs involved. Many of his friends ride too and it certainly helps that there's a trail network next to his school.
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  15. #15
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    Good gawd if I was 17 hanging out with grumpy thin skinned old people would be the last thing I'd want to do. I see quite a few teenagers on my local trails though. Either they're riding with other teens or with their cool hipster parents.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tekin112000 View Post
    Just anecdotal evidence but it seems like younger people just aren't all that interested in active outdoor stuff.
    That's a good general statement without trying to tie it to kids these days.

  17. #17
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    I shook my stick at them and told them all to stay off my trail. Now they're gone.

    You're welcome :|

  18. #18
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    Really though, I dont really know any kids that do anything anymore. Kids watch other people do stuff on youtube.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Anyway, the coincidence of the "Oldest Rider" thread and our recent MTB club holiday get-together highlighted the fact that our group is not getting any younger. In fact, the cold reality is that it is getting older.
    Did you get a university sociology department to figure this out?

    Kids eh? They discover computer games, masturbation and computer games again in that order. Riding a bike requires going outside, and they ain't into that.

  20. #20
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    As a teenager, the only reason I hung around with older people is because I could get them to buy me beer.

  21. #21
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    Heck, kids my age were way more interested in watching Tiny Toon Adventures than mountain biking.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladmo View Post
    As a teenager, the only reason I hung around with older people is because I could get them to buy me beer.
    In Scotland you can legally buy alcohol from any corner shop when ten-years old.

  23. #23
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    We used to have to rollerblade ~4 miles (uphill, both ways) to get the homeless guy downtown to buy us beer. We were like 13.

    ... maybe its for the best that kids don't leave the house anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    In Scotland you can legally buy alcohol from any corner shop when ten-years old.
    That explains oh so much. And damn my chaperones for not introducing me to this law when I was over there when I was 13.

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  25. #25
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    They are all on Pinkbike and all the care about is bike parks, terrain parks, tail whips, hucking and the like...after riding the chairlift up. Youngsters don't have any desire to put it the effort of a long climb to earn the goods. They need the instant gratification.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    We used to have to rollerblade ~4 miles (uphill, both ways) to get the homeless guy downtown to buy us beer. We were like 13.

    ... maybe its for the best that kids don't leave the house anymore.
    Um...are you me?

  27. #27
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    Those of us in our mid 20's and such are all broke with no MTB money, luckily I can outshred all the dentists on their carbon bikes with my diamondback that is taped together.

    Just kidding...well only partially.

    If this meet you speak of is the one at the demo forest, I went riding that day (superbowl sunday) and passed all of you but didn't stop either on the way there or back mostly because I was trying to get home without missing too much of the super bowl. But it definitely looked like an older crowd, I felt I would have been the odd man out there, plus i'm still a noob here on the forums.

    But seriously though, most people who mtb are older and I think money is an important factor, especially here in Norcal. I always hear how much millennials are ruining everything or that we don't do this and that like the old days but there are reasons. "Back in the day" older family members couldn't afford college and dropped out and still had great success in life, most of us now though seem to get into debt getting expensive degrees for a lower quality of life. Most friends I knew in highschool did not get their drivers license at 16 for example, and some still are borrowing the family car in their 20s because they can't afford their own.

    I'm not complaining either, i'm very lucky, its just as one of the under 30 crowd this is my observation.

    And young people definitely go outdoors, in fact hiking areas near me have boomed out of control due to the younger crowd hiking to go get selfies, if you want to stereotype...

  28. #28
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    First Millenials destroyed Applebees and now they're killing mountain biking. Stupid kids.

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  29. #29
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    kids growing up in blue collar homes, like the one i grew up in, can't afford mountain bikes. how many high school kids have $5k laying around to get into biking?

    how many even have $1k laying around? most don't. by the time kids get a job, they are most interested in saving for a car, not for a bike.

    Its all fun and games, but mountain biking is definitely a rich man's game.

    Or, you make sacrifices, and buy stolen bikes off steve bay and CL.

  30. #30
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    Where are the kids? Snapchating.

  31. #31
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    My kid thinks XC riding is boring. Can't exactly say I wouldn't have felt the same as a pre-teen. I regularly ride with a bunch of guys in their late teens/early 20s though.

    As far as the rest of the 'kids don't go outside anymore' outlook, it sure ain't the case in my experience. My son is out riding something or other well over 300 days a year, and somehow also manages to be pretty kick ass at video games, playing and modding, and has almost 12,000 followers on Instagram. His buddies are good kids too, and do all sorts of stuff. IME, if a kid is lame, it's likely the parents' fault. Take a look through the Families sub-forum here and you'll see lots of kids riding.

    As far as not being able to afford a high end bike being an excuse, that's BS. No one needs a $5k bike, let alone a kid. You can get a killer BMX for a few hundred bucks, and perfectly serviceable used MTBs for $500. Most of the 20-somethings I ride with spend well under a grand on their first 'real' MTBs, and then proceed to crush most of us old guys into dust on them, including my marketing victim buddies on $7000 rigs.

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  32. #32
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    They be hittin' that weeeeed....
    Stick around if you're housebroken...

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbike View Post
    Those of us in our mid 20's and such are all broke with no MTB money, luckily I can outshred all the dentists on their carbon bikes with my diamondback that is taped together.

    Just kidding...well only partially.

    If this meet you speak of is the one at the demo forest, I went riding that day (superbowl sunday) and passed all of you but didn't stop either on the way there or back mostly because I was trying to get home without missing too much of the super bowl. But it definitely looked like an older crowd, I felt I would have been the odd man out there, plus i'm still a noob here on the forums.

    But seriously though, most people who mtb are older and I think money is an important factor, especially here in Norcal. I always hear how much millennials are ruining everything or that we don't do this and that like the old days but there are reasons. "Back in the day" older family members couldn't afford college and dropped out and still had great success in life, most of us now though seem to get into debt getting expensive degrees for a lower quality of life. Most friends I knew in highschool did not get their drivers license at 16 for example, and some still are borrowing the family car in their 20s because they can't afford their own.

    I'm not complaining either, i'm very lucky, its just as one of the under 30 crowd this is my observation.

    And young people definitely go outdoors, in fact hiking areas near me have boomed out of control due to the younger crowd hiking to go get selfies, if you want to stereotype...
    Don't bother dude. We're there reason trails get ruts and e bikes were invented according to a number of mtbr members.

    Of course, they lack the self awareness to realize that they're blindly making roughly the same accusations that the greatest generation made of them as the boomers... And not realizing how ironic and tired it is... But what can you do?

    Last week I saw all ages riding, fwiw. From about 5-60, and most everything in between.

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  34. #34
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    agreed, slaphead! xc or any trail with zero tech is boring as hell to a child as well as to the inner child in any of us. i made sure to get my kiddo into bmx at 4yo. he made his first ramp with a small board and a brick and 2 weeks later he was lined up on the gate at his first race. bmx is the gateway drug to bikes for kids.
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  35. #35
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    they are staying off this piece of a $hit forum... younger=smarter

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbike View Post
    Those of us in our mid 20's and such are all broke with no MTB money, luckily I can outshred all the dentists on their carbon bikes with my diamondback that is taped together.

    Just kidding...well only partially.

    If this meet you speak of is the one at the demo forest, I went riding that day (superbowl sunday) and passed all of you but didn't stop either on the way there or back mostly because I was trying to get home without missing too much of the super bowl. But it definitely looked like an older crowd, I felt I would have been the odd man out there, plus i'm still a noob here on the forums.

    But seriously though, most people who mtb are older and I think money is an important factor, especially here in Norcal. I always hear how much millennials are ruining everything or that we don't do this and that like the old days but there are reasons. "Back in the day" older family members couldn't afford college and dropped out and still had great success in life, most of us now though seem to get into debt getting expensive degrees for a lower quality of life. Most friends I knew in highschool did not get their drivers license at 16 for example, and some still are borrowing the family car in their 20s because they can't afford their own.

    I'm not complaining either, i'm very lucky, its just as one of the under 30 crowd this is my observation.

    And young people definitely go outdoors, in fact hiking areas near me have boomed out of control due to the younger crowd hiking to go get selfies, if you want to stereotype...
    Good post.

    Although the "no money for bikes" excuse is a stretch. I tried to get my alma mater to organize a MTB club. Their excuse to not do it was that it's too expensive of a sport for kids to gain interest (um, nevermind ski club). But I think my first bike was ~$350? Maybe $500 by the time I sorted it all out that first season. Anyone playing any other sport probably just paid $500 for gear or travel or coaching. ...and they didn't even get a bike out of it.

    I borrowed money from 3 people to buy that first bike, and went to work to pay it off. I certainly don't think everyone else should do it that way, but I think it often is a matter of priorities.

    All that said, what activities might merge the older crowd with the younger crowd? I'm pretty sure I avoided "old" guys when I was starting out, too - unless they had beer. Wait....
    But yeah, we tried that too.


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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    bmx is the gateway drug to bikes for kids.
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  38. #38
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    mtb prices are out of whack, if you see kids on bikes they're on bmx bikes, or walmart bikes which can't handle any of the trails here in Colorado at least without falling to pieces.

    You can get a decent dirt bike for what a "good" mountain bike costs. What would you pick if you were a young kid again? A dirt bike for sure. Once the manufactures get their head out of their asses more people will become mountain bikers and the sport will grow.

    Until then, good luck seeing any younger kids out on the trails. Most parents aren't going to drop 1-5k on a bicycle for their kid or teenager. That's enough money to buy them their first car instead of a overpriced bike.

  39. #39
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    I'm always a bit surprised when I read posts like this. Maybe you and your buddies are just too far removed from where you'd see the kids?

    The sport of mountain biking has NEVER seen such a massive influx of youth.

    NICA has brought tens of thousands of kids and adults into our sport. Quite possibly kids who would have never tried it otherwise. It is now in 22 States (trying to remember) and it grows by about 2 States a year. In Utah we had over 3,000 kids registered last year. We are the fastest growing sport in the State.

    If even 10% of these kids continue to ride after school and into their adult lives, we will see a massive resurgence. IMO our greatest benefit will come with trail access but that is a whole other discussion.

    Like has been mentioned, kids find other social media outlets to share their passion on. I think it mostly comes down to forums needing to reinvent themselves.

    Get out there and you'll see the kids.

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  40. #40
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    They gave up because they can't keep up with all of us old guys.
    I like turtles

  41. #41
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    Slaphead, your kids a ripper. Reminds me of my childhood, pretty rare with today’s kids.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    Slaphead, your kids a ripper. Reminds me of my childhood, pretty rare with today’s kids.
    Thanks man; he's a riot. Keeps me on my toes.

    Far as not seeing kids out ripping, you just gotta know where to look.
    I think the reason that most old guys don't see young guys riding is cuz old guys ride like old guys. Start riding like a kid and not a codger and you'll meet plenty of them.
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    doesn't matter where they are right now, cause sooner or later they will get old and show up here.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    IME, if a kid is lame, it's likely the parents' fault.
    This right here.

    As a parent, if you let your kids be raised by electronic devices and social media, and don't instill enough sense in them to not go $150K in debt for a degree that provides no employable skills, then it's your own damn fault if they end up living in your basement mooching off of you til they are 30.

    My kids have little interest in video games. They play games once in a while when friends come over, but if we see them spending hours doing it, we cut it off and get them to go outside and play, or if the weather is crap do something more worthwhile like read a book. Not surprisingly, our kids love stuff like mountain biking, playing baseball, camping, fishing, drawing, and reading books.

    And I don't buy the excuse that kids now days are just too soft and lazy to do something like ride a mountain bike. My 16 year old is a competitive swimmer. He spends on average, about 20 hours a week in the pool training, has a job working as a life guard, and loves riding mountain bikes.

    He doesn't have much free time to ride, but when I get him out riding with my regular group of 30/40/50 somethings, he schools everyone on the climbs, and keeps up with pretty much everyone on the downhills.

    This isn't intended as a "look at how awesome my kids are" or, "wow, I'm an awesome parent" post (I don't think Slaphead's post was at all either), it's a plea to parents of young kids (or future parents) to not just go with the flow of what direction society is going, but rather invest some time in shaping your kids into strong, healthy, intelligent, productive and self reliant members of society.
    No dig no whine

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    (I don't think Slaphead's post was at all either),
    Well maybe a little bit.

    More though, it's that I actually know a good number of 'younger' riders (and non-riders) and when I hear people constantly crapping on them as a group and saying 'they don't do anything but sit around', I feel the need to stick up for them and call BS. I know a LOT more 40+ people that don't do jack shit than I do sedentary teens and 20-somethings. I particularly get a kick out of old dorks with thousands of online forum posts complaining about how their kids are always wasting time on the computer. Does anybody remember what irony is?

    As far as video games go, I've got no problem with them as a downtime/chill-out activity either. Love me some gaming myself as a matter of fact; I consider video games as a similar art/entertainment form to music or movies. There's some really good stuff out there IMO, helluva lot better than crap we had bitd.
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    I freqent a Moto forum, and I'd say they have just as many, and probably more posters by percentage that fall into the old school moto category. Also, see lots of threads on those forums about "the sport is dying."
    Dont believe anything you read on vital lol. Moto is alive and well. I dont know if it will ever be as mainstream as the late 90s/ early 2000's but the ratings and attendance are solid. As long as monster keeps pumping money into it, it will be fine.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyLight350z View Post
    Dont believe anything you read on vital lol.
    I take everything I read on vital as the gospel truth. JS7 will show up to race next week....I just know it! I mean, there's a new 20 page post every week saying so, so it must be true.
    No dig no whine

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    My 12 year old rides with me all the time. I guess he still thinks it's cool to hang out with his old man. In fact, we're going to ride Moab this weekend. He's bringing his 8 year old friend and his dad too.

    I do realize I'm probably not his first choice in riding partners, since things usually go like this when I get home from work:
    "Dad, can we go mountain biking? I've been waiting all afternoon because none of my friends will go with me."

    "Why won't your friends go?"

    "Their bikes have flat tires. I even told them if they brought their bikes over, I would fix their flats for them, but they still won't go with me."

    "Your friends are lame. Go load up your gear."

  49. #49
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    C'mon you guys all know that things have changed so much in the last 30-40 years for young people. Back in the bad old days there was no internet, no cell phones, no Facebook, texting, etc. Kids had to actually go out of their home and physically walk or ride a bike to their friends' homes. How much do you see that now? I rarely see a kid riding their bike more than a couple blocks away from their home, their parents often don't even allow it. My neighbor's kid is not even allowed to ride more than 50 feet away from his driveway. There are college kids that ride their bike to school but that's often because the parking lot is full by 8 AM more than their love for riding. And if you have not noticed, we have gotten very, very lazy as a society. People know they are supposed to exercise but they don't because it's not fun for them. It's more fun to eat carbs and watch TV at home instead of biking. There are many permanent societal changes that have reduced the amount of young people riding, it's certainly not the fault of anyone on here. If you want more young people to ride, you'd have to do a lot of things to help reverse the general trend of laziness in our society. That's a very tall order.
    Murphy's Law: the worse the access, the better the trail.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    C'mon you guys all know that things have changed so much in the last 30-40 years for young people. Back in the bad old days there was no internet, no cell phones, no Facebook, texting, etc. Kids had to actually go out of their home and physically walk or ride a bike to their friends' homes. How much do you see that now? I rarely see a kid riding their bike more than a couple blocks away from their home, their parents often don't even allow it. My neighbor's kid is not even allowed to ride more than 50 feet away from his driveway. There are college kids that ride their bike to school but that's often because the parking lot is full by 8 AM more than their love for riding. And if you have not noticed, we have gotten very, very lazy as a society. People know they are supposed to exercise but they don't because it's not fun for them. It's more fun to eat carbs and watch TV at home instead of biking. There are many permanent societal changes that have reduced the amount of young people riding, it's certainly not the fault of anyone on here. If you want more young people to ride, you'd have to do a lot of things to help reverse the general trend of laziness in our society. That's a very tall order.
    Completely agree, when I was a kid we rode to wherever we wanted to go and everything was cool as long as we were back on time for dinner. Still see kids riding around the neighborhood but is just a way to move from point A to point B, no passion for riding.

    My son started to ride at 3 and started to tag along on rides and doing kids races at 5, he's 21 and his love for riding is still there. With him we went from BMX to XC to road to track to TT to DH and now is hooked with fat biking. Just sold his 29er and is saving for a new wip, not sure what he'll get but this will be his first bike purchase as an adult, dad is just helping him make an educated decision.

    One more thing, he doesn't do forums or stuff like that so that may be a reason for the lack of youngsters in here; most of their things are done thru social media.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    If you want more young people to ride, you'd have to do a lot of things to help reverse the general trend of laziness in our society. That's a very tall order.
    I built a pumptrack for my town.
    All sorts of kids riding there all the time.
    Some goes for the local skateparks.

    Build it and they will come. Not all that hard really.
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  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    As far as the rest of the 'kids don't go outside anymore' outlook, it sure ain't the case in my experience.
    Same here. My kids have been involved in skiing, team sports, and riding bikes since they were young as have most of their friends. My son is 13 now and he loves his XBox and his phone when he's home, but he'd rather be out skiing or riding his mountain bike.

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  53. #53
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    I spent my teens through college jumping off of everything and anything on skis - I started skiing when I was 4. The family started mountain biking when I was probably 12. We got out probably every other week so I didn't develop skills on the same level as skiing where we skied 3-4 days a week. I am 100% sure that I would have been hucking everything possible on a bike if I had the same level of skill as on skis.

    Now I don't ski and ride bikes more. Weird.

    I spent a day at Thunder mountain bike park this summer and took a few laps with a 7 year old and his dad. We hit their big jump line 'hollywood'. This kid towed all of us in and cleared every single jump. He was insane. I saw myself in this kid (albeit a different sport @ that age).

    Point being, it's not generational, its upbringing. But kids like to jump and do cool shit. They don't like grinding on a fire road for hours.

    I'm 27. I like bikes.
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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiRt DeViL View Post
    Completely agree, when I was a kid we rode to wherever we wanted to go and everything was cool as long as we were back on time for dinner.
    We just aimed to be back before it was dark. Often didn't even manage that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    We just aimed to be back before it was dark. Often didn't even manage that.
    Dinner was at 6 pm sharp. With 3 other brothers I learned not to be late, or be hungry.

  56. #56
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    Hungry! We didn't get hungry. We were too busy having fun to get hungry.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Where Are All The Younger Riders?
    Where Are All the Younger Riders?-maxresdefault.jpg


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    There are plenty of young riders! I'm in college and I've met a bunch of riders not only while hanging around at school, but also when I'm out on the trail. If you go on youtube you'll see tons (TONS) of mtb edit videos by high schoolers and 20-somethings. I do disagree with cost being an issue with young people, because we're all really used to the idea of buying stuff second-hand. Maybe this isn't what you guys want to hear because it's fun to talk crap about the young'uns...that's fine, it's fun for us to talk crap about old people! As for mtb dying out...no way. As long as bikes are faster than walking and cheaper than four-wheelers, this sport will thrive.

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    Here's one ripper about to scorch dad down the mountain.

    Where Are All the Younger Riders?-img_0670.jpg

    He's always up for joining me on trailwork parties too. He's not too happy about long climbs, but I'm working on him there.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  60. #60
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    I have been riding since i was 12. I am now 24. Met a lot of riders my age in high school and we spent our evenings building jumps, DH trails and our weekends on day long jaunts out to Santa Cruz, every weekend.

    Now, I ride with my coworkers (still frequent Santa Cruz) and see lots of people my age and younger on trails. Definitely not as many younger riders as I see +30 riders, but this is a prohibitively expensive sport. I am fortunate enough to be able to afford it, but I can see why people really only start picking it up once they're well established in their careers.
    I'm just gonna send it.

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