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rusty cheap heavy bikes. No wonder that after the first or at most the second shared tour, the youngsters are happier back on the couch with their Wii. Better to invest from the start in a high quality child’s mountain bike and age-appropriate, practical kit! You’ll be glad of that decision for the rest of your life. And: a high quality bike can be sold for a surprisingly good price once the youngster has grown out of it.
SIXTH COMMANDMENT: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH FOOD AND DRINK ON BOARD!
Kids’ built-in power packs work very efficiently but need a whole lot of fuel. It follows that parents’ backpacks need to be stuffed full of energy bars, chocolate, apples, bananas etc. And don’t forget the drinks! Children’s bikes should be fitted with a drinking bottle, preferably filled with fresh tap water. You can’t beat the taste of pure water up on the top of a pass!
SEVENTH COMMANDMENT: ALWAYS LOOK OUT FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S WELFARE!
The mountain bike ride should end with a high-five in a burger place, not in the emergency room. So do a proper kit check before the tour and plan the route carefully as well! Medical bills are always more expensive than a high quality, perfectly fitting helmet, good sunglasses (a must against small stones and insects!), long-fingered gloves and knee and back protection.
EIGHTH COMMANDMENT: ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU PROVIDE THREE THINGS: FUN, JOY AND LAUGHTER!
Mountain biking is a hugely enjoyable sport. And the whole thing is even cooler when you go on a ride together rather than alone. But to ensure there are no tears at the end, you all have to be willing to compromise and rein in your own wishes where necessary. The weakest in the group calls the shots! Excessive parental ambition often backfires. The most important factor: fun for all!
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.