(adapted from the International Mt. Bike Association website)
Every fall, on the first Saturday of October, the International Mt. Bike Association organizes hundreds of mountain bike events designed to get young people outside on their bikes. Known as “Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day,” the celebration is recognized across the globe. The organization has seen events registered in Australia, Canada, Italy, Botswana, Malaysia, Mexico and South Africa.
Here are 10 tips to help plan a great event:
1. Find some kids
- Coordinate with your local IMBA chapter or club
- Invite neighbors, co-workers, relatives, friends
- Talk to your riding buddies.
2. Plan for bikes and helmets
- Bring your own bike/helmet is the most common plan
- If you’d like to invite kids that might not have their own gear, try contacting local bike shops about rental options —give them plenty of lead time
3. Select a route
- Be sure to choose a ride that is fun, safe and not too long or difficult.
- The ideal route will have options where the group can head home or continue for more adventure.
4. Be prepared
- Bring extra water and food, including a healthy tasty treat for every kid
- Don’t forget other essentials such as extra tubes, pump, tire levers and a multi-tool
- Recruit plenty of adult ride guides, and make sure someone is assigned to stay behind the last young rider.
- Plan a fun activity for the end of the day. Something low-stress and relaxing, like a visit to an ice cream shop.
- Mt. biking can be a lot of work for kids. Keep your day simple and don’t try to pack in too much. Try not to double up on activities (soccer, play date, mt. biking…) and keep your route short. It’s better to have a simple, fun day that goes smoothly than to push it too much, especially if it’s your first day on the trail with the little ones.
5. Ride together
- Emphasize riding together. Re-group frequently and make sure everyone is smiling
- Ask the lead adult guide to stop at every trail intersection to minimize the chance of lost riders
6. Have fun
- Try incorporating skill games, like “slow-motion riding” and “how to bunny hop”
- Point out interesting trail features, wildlife or take a few minutes to discuss trail safety and etiquette
7. Take photos and video
- Share stories and photos about your day with parents, community leaders, local press and IMBA.
- Post your photos on IMBA’s Facebook page.
8. Make it a tradition
- Make every day a Take-a-Kid day and plan for the first Saturday in October next year to celebrate how biking with kids can be fun.
Plan to hit the trail with your favorite kiddos on your own adventure, or join in on one of these planned events:
Do you mt. bike with kids?
Do you take your kids on dirt? What are your tips for making the day fun for all ages?