#1: PURCHASE A GOOD BIKE THAT FITS
We can’t stress this enough – the bike matters. Off-road riding is not enjoyable on a bike designed for driveways and bike paths. Visit your local bike shop for help selecting a bike designed for trails in a size that fits your youngster. Bike fit is very important for comfort and safety.
#2: CREATE AN ADVENTURE
Don’t go for a bike ride – go on an Adventure. This might be a park, yurt, or a trail through the woods leading to an inland lake. Create a story – let their imagination run wild. Slow down. Make it interesting. Bring lots of snacks! If they get tired and begin to lose interest, keep the story alive and remind them of the destination.
#3: MAKE IT FUN
A lot of us (adults) want to get to the destination (goal) as fast as possible. We want to make it a race! We also like to critique kids – do this, do that, try to keep up! News flash – this is not fun for them and won’t be fun for you. Slow down. Enjoy the journey. If you (the adult) must have a goal – it should be to have them want to do it again.
#4: TALK LESS, LISTEN MORE
Here’s a coaching tip: Kids don’t want to hear us talk. Save the skill clinic for adults. Don’t sit on their back wheel giving orders like “elbows bent”, “level pedals”, and “attack position”. Pick a skill you’ll work on while you adventure and focus on that – but be selective and creative in how you talk about it. Ask more questions and listen to their answers, or ask questions and have them demonstrate what you’re trying to teach. When you’re riding – enjoy the silence and natural sounds.