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  1. #1
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    Youth Interest In Mt Biking In New England

    I'm curious to know about the state of young mt bikers in your areas. My two children, girl age 15 and boy age 12 are both avid riders. Both have ridden mt bikes since they were small. Girl races XC in boarding school and boy has just started racing DH. Our situation is that the number of young riders is very small, especially when it comes to high school aged girls. Any one have ideas on how to grow the sport in these age brackets? Very interested in what is it that keeps young girls from taking up the sport. I don't know any other high school aged girls that ride on a regular basis let alone race.

  2. #2
    I'd Huck That....
    Reputation: slayer13's Avatar
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    The future of mtbing looks pretty good for me my 3 kids have been bitten by the bug big time . 2 boys ages 7-9 and my 6yr old daughter just upgraded to her first real mountain bike 20' Trek mtntrail 60. It puts a smile on my face every time I watch them ride.

  3. #3
    stoneblender
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    As I see it, there are three main challenges.

    The first issue is building fun trails that beginners can ride without too much fear or chance of injury. If done correctly, these trails are fun for intermediate and experts too.

    The second issue is introducing the sport in a way that keeps them safe and interested. The tough guy - sink or swim approach has occasional success, but it isn't a long term strategy. Think step-by-step progressions, not an encouraging push over the edge.

    The third issue is involving schools and good coaches, so every kid has a chance to try it and hopefully fall in love with mtb. Getting every kid a positive start with solid techniques is a sure way to get the wheels rolling.

    John

  4. #4
    backwoods and backwards
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    PVNEMBA is back on the kids grouprides at Robinson State Forest in MA. Steve Rossi, and his wife, had faithfully run one a month for many years. Any kid on two wheels no matter how young would get out on the trails. They even did a Halloween niteride bonfire. Someone else has since taken over for Steve. I'm sure the NEMBA site has the rides listed.
    Moonbeam's compost-powered hybrid generates a respectable 32 fruit flies per rotting banana peel.

  5. #5
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    My 2 sons like to mountain bike. They are 13 and 11. But they are not avid bike riders. They like to go once in a while. One likes xc type riding, the other likes lift type riding better. They have showed an increased interest this summer and we have gone biking together as a family about 1x per week. They love trying new things, they liked the pump track the best. A lot of their friends have bikes, but hardly any of them are mountain bikers. I ride with a guy in town once in a while and we have managed to bring our kids along a few times. In general my kids like snowboarding and skateboarding more than mountain biking. I hope long term they will develop a larger interest in cycling. I try not to force it on them, just encourage it. Getting some new equipment has also piqued their interest. Between soccer, lacrosse, homework, snowboard.skateboard, friends etc it not always easy to find the time. But I try! I am trying to encourage a few of their friends to come with us and try the sport out too.

  6. #6
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    It's nice when schools get involved! My local school district has about 20 bikes they own, and are buying 10 more this year. They have helmets, too.

    I do an after-school program at the middle school, we meet once a week and ride local trails. Transportation of kids and bikes is part of the deal.
    The high school gym class also rides, mainly on pavement. I'll be subbing there tomorrow, getting paid to ride all day!

    Been doing this for about 4 years now. I haven't seen any kids turn pro, but it's great for them to get a chance to get out and ride. And I love how they are always amazed at my clipless pedals!

  7. #7
    horseman
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    I/we have the same difficulty finding suitable kid friendly biking, especially for the new or novice. After all, their bkies are heavier, poorly geared, and they're not as strong. So, I/we put together an after school mtnbk program and constructed a new styl sustainable IMBA style trail(s), patterned after Pine Hill Park in Rutland, Vt (folks should look it up specifically or thru the vmba site) on the school property. Now we're trying to expand it to a couple of neighboring schools. What's needed are more parents to get involved, since you can't be everywhere for coaching or constructing. But, w/fun rolling trails and navigable features you can improve skills and stamina for going off-campus. Our group is almost always full, recognizing that the day(s) the mtnbkg is offered has to revolve around more mainstream activities like soccer. One of the luxuries I have is an indoor riding arena where we set up an xc track w/movable obstacles and features. We even take it to local events like fairs and town days where adults, community leaders, parents, etc... can see how much fun the kids are having. The goal is to recruit kids and parents, since the kids have evenmore fun watching the parents ride.
    One of the whackier components, however, is the social element, where sometimes it matters who's riding. It took forever to get my 12 year old daughter to ride on the course, until her friend rode it and then it became fun & cool. The it turned into, "can you set it up again dad?". Like teaching kids skiing, when you take your own kid, they can be "boat anchors". Bring another kid and it turns into, "wait for me kids!".

  8. #8
    see me rollin, they hatin
    Reputation: NicoleB's Avatar
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    i seem to see a lot more bmx riding, even on some of the fire roads and dirt paths
    fap

  9. #9
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    I think New England needs an indoor mountain biking park. There are hundreds of skate parks where kids bust elbows and knees trying to do tricks on BMX bikes. The next step is to create a family friendly destination that caters to mountain biking skills.

    Have you seen this place yet?

    Rays Indoor Mountain Bike Park 2011 - Milwaukee, WI Rays MTB - YouTube

    I think something like that could really prosper in the New England area. It will offer a training ground for kids to learn essential skills in a safe environment...and adults will enjoy it too. I'd much rather pay for a monthly membership to a place like that than a gym. Do it right and you could have mobile modular obstacles that could be moved around to provide a new experience every time.

  10. #10
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    It's not quite New England, but there is a place similar to Ray's in Syracuse NY called Cranx. A little closer than Cleveland for us Nor'Easters.

    Cranx

  11. #11
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    That place looks cool too, but it doesn't seem to focus on the core skills required for mountain biking specifically. It's more of a BMX dream track (aka Hell Track made out of plywood). Rye Airfield is similar. What I like about Ray's park is the log rolls, short bridges, teeter totters, and rock gardens.

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