How to Ride the Bike Park with Kids

With a little planning and preparation, the bike park can be an amazing experience for the whole family!

Every parent dreams of ripping singletrack or sending their favorite lines of their local trail system with their kid(s). But hitting the trails with your kiddos isn't quite as simple as the afternoon meetup with some friends. There are many lots of factors to consider in order to make the day fun and successful for everyone. Beth and Ryan of the Loam Ranger YouTube channel have put together this video guide on several tips and tricks for riding the bike park with your kid. Give it a watch so you're ready for bike park season with your little ripper and check out the links below to some quality riding gear for your grom.

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TIP 1: Preparation is Key

  • Practice your routine at home, so everyone knows how to efficiently get the day rolling while at the bike park.
  • Make sure your kids are comfortable putting on their own gear and check for any annoying tags, fit issues, or compatibility challenges, so you don't run into issues on the trails.
  • Remember snacks in everyone's bags. A quick trailside break for a bite to eat can keep everyone happy and riding longer.

TIP 2: Get in the "Right" Zone

  • Staying close to the bike park or lift will help to reduce the rush to get ready to ride. It is also convenient for midday breaks or if you forgot something.
  • Families should try to find the quieter place to stay, so everyone can get a good night's rest and not be caught up in the hustle and bustle.
  • Hotel accomodations with kitchens are a big when to simplifying your morning routine and making sure everyone is fueled up for fun.

Tip 3: Get 'Em Up the Hill

  • If your bike park has them, use the practice lifts to familiarize your kids with loading their bikes onto the chair or gondola.
  • Come up with a system that the whole family knows for loading bikes and don't forget you can always ask for help from the lift operator.

TIP 4: Don't Try to Do It All in One Day

  • Bike parks can have lots of trails to explore. Pace yourself and your family, so you don't get burnt out or feel frantically rushed.
  • Plan for a multi-day stay/visit, so you can easily cover all the terrain and activities you want to fit in.

TIP 5: Start on Easier Trails than You Need to

  • Progression is key. Start on easy trails to build your young rider's confidence.
  • Even if your kid is a stronger or more talented rider, starting on a warm up trail helps them to get familiar with the bike park's terrain and on their bikes.

TIP 6: Slow Down and Work on Your Skills

  • Riding with your kiddo often means going slower than you normally would. Use this time riding at a reduced pace to hone your bike handling skills.
  • Look for side hits, practice bike/body separation, work on braking drills or riding with your opposite foot foward.
  • This approach to riding forces you to practice those bike skills that you'd likely put off because you'd be focused on going fast or charging harder.

TIP 7: Lessons are a Win/Win for Everyone

  • Handing your kid(s) off to a coach gives parents time to go ride the trails they want, while your grom(s) can learn new skills from a trained professional who is likely a really, really good rider.
  • Coaches can take your kid(s) to unexplored areas that you didn't know about.
  • Added bonus, often a coach is able to challenge and inspire young riders in a way that is not as easy for a parent.
  • If lessons aren't in your plans, trading which adult is on child duty or personal ride time can help spread the responsibility and fun.

TIP 8: Proper Bikes and Maintenance are Crucial

  • Using an appopriate bike for the terrain makes everyone's ride time way more awesome.
  • If you don't own the right bike, rentals are a great way to have fun and minimize wear and tear on your normal ride.
  • For all bikes, make sure everything is running right with regular bolt checks and pre-ride tune ups. Bike parks are notorious for shaking things loose.
  • Carry a multitool to make sure your ready for trailside checks and fixes.

FINAL TIP: Be Flexible

  • Bike parks are obviously an amazing place to ride but be willing to do other activities to round out the fun.
  • Listen to your kids' feedback about what they want to do and how they are feeling throughout the day. 
  • Pushing a kid that is tired or not into it can cause them to ride unsafely or make them lose their passion for riding.

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