Learning to handle a dirt bike is among the most rewarding activities a kid can engage in. Your child will learn fitness, recovery, and flexibility on the road, which is an excellent base for future pursuits.
Most parents naturally worry about the safety of their little ones on machines. While the sport is not 100% risk-free, you can take precautions to protect them on the dirt road. Here are pointers for introducing your kids to dirt bikes:
Buy the Right Dirt Bike
Your kid will need a good starter bike that will accommodate their size. Go small in both the size and engine size. Most kids will be comfortable on a 50cc bike since it is light and small and will not intimidate them. Large models may fit your little one, but it will be heavy and hard to handle, especially when they turn or stop.
Kids require easy manageability, that is they need to sit properly on the bike such that their feet reach the ground. They also need to access the handlebars and controls easily. Have them test the dirt bike you want to purchase. You may find the 50cc being too small and the 100cc being too big. In this case, you can opt for an 80cc or 70cc model.
Kids tend to outgrow dirt bikes fast, and you will find that you need to keep upgrading the machine. To keep the costs manageable, you can scout for used bikes in places like the local club.
The other thing to observe is to get rid of the training wheels. The chances are that they will get used to the extra stability and will hesitate when it is time to ride without the wheels. Unless the kid is very young, teach older kids without extra help.
Begin Lessons on a Flat, Straight Trail
Your kids will be excited about riding for the first time. They will, therefore, be frustrated if you take them to an uneven terrain where they are more vulnerable to falling and crashing. Look for a flat track without any traffic and proceed to train them. Once you have them on the road, guide them to make straight runs without any complicated turns. The aim is to ensure that they are having fun so that they can be enthusiastic about learning more. You can turn your backyard to a beginner-friendly track to start before progressing to an outdoor dirt road.
One Thing at a Time
For a beginner dirt biker, there are multiple things to observe. It can be overwhelming and frustrating for your kid if you are giving one order after another. You will find yourself overloading them with information, especially if you have ridden a dirt bike for years.
Kids have a limited attention span, so aim to impact a single fundamental tip for every trip. In the first trip, for example, you can keep them in first gear and ensure they get to know how to ride in a straight line. Increase the speed and upgrade the gear in the subsequent trips as they become more confident on the bike. You can teach riding positions and form on another trip. Focus on standing positions over bumps in another session. Your kids will have a sense of accomplishment after each trip, which will only encourage them.
Implement Safety Procedures
Dirt biking is inherently dangerous, but they are measures you can take to boost the safety of your kids. To start, dirt bikes are safer than ATVs, so keep your kids on the bikes. Avoid paved roads since dirt bikes are optimized for dirt roads. Additionally, ensure that the tracks are free from any other traffic, especially cars.
Equip your little ones with riding gear to ensure their safety. A helmet is a necessity, and it needs to be of high quality. Your child’s developing brain needs protection so you should invest in a quality helmet. Other requirements include youth size googles, boots, gloves, knee and elbow pads, and motocross pants.
If you want your little ones to love the game, ensure that they are comfortable. Do not fit them with loose gloves or boots or even a helmet that does not fit. Have them riding in comfortable weather conditions that is not wet or extremely hot situations.
You should also get your kids excited about gear. You can expose them to videos of pro riders in cool jerseys so that they are more welcoming of the safety gear.
Instruct them on How to Fall
Your kids will be afraid of falling so you should guide them into being more confident about crashing. Refrain from getting frustrated when teaching them how to handle dirt bike. Being the first time, your kids will be naturally intimidated by riding heavy machines. They need to see that you are confident in their abilities to be good riders.
Assure them that it is alright if they crash. Go over crashes and accidents with them so that they know the likely scenarios of their bikes going down. Expound on the causes of different crashes and how to protect themselves. Instruct them to relax and allow the gear to do its job since most crashes result from stiffening up or trying to break the crash. You can even playfully push them over to test out their safety pads. It will boost the confidence that the gear will cushion them from impacts.
Encouragement is Necessary
Reinforce your kids’ progress with positive comments. They will not take it kindly if you are constantly focusing on what they are getting wrong. Break up the tips with some phrases of encouragement like ‘good job.’ You want your junior to feel like they are doing a good job.
Control and co-ordination take time to master. The practice is what will make them ride better, not being instructed over and over. At some point, your kid will mishandle the bike and they might get frustrated and shout back ‘I know!’ when you tell them their errors. Be patient with them.
Ensure They are Riding Within Their Abilities
If you want your young ones to keep being engaged in the sport, make them ride within their capabilities. Be aware of the challenges of each terrain to assess if they are ready for that level of difficulty. If you are experienced in the sport, it is easy to assume the technical aspects of a trail you have used before.
Take the kids to trails that are easy to start so that they can get pumped on their success. Scope out any trail first before you take them. Skip out on difficult terrains because they need all the confidence they can get. Do not demean their accomplishments, no matter how small they are.
Take a Step Back
Once your juniors get going, give them a little space. If they stall or fall, allow them a minute to figure it out. If they ask what to do, tell them that they already know which action to take. Solving a challenge in bike riding is a critical part of confidence building. Even if they look to you to help out, give them some time to assess the problem.
In the same fashion, if you spot them making a wrong move several times, you can wait to correct them until they come to you. Allow them to explore the challenge a little, as long as it is not a safety risk. If they dig more into a problem, they will spot the difference once they do it right. The goal is to understand the how and why of an action which is more effective than just dishing out orders.
Stop for Water Breaks
Once they get into the zone, your juniors will get carried away on their bikes. The adrenaline keeps them going, and they constantly sweat from the heat in the gear. The wind blows through their riding clothes, and although it keeps them cool, it leads to dehydration.
Your kids can get a hot in their safety gear, especially because of the helmet. If they are uncomfortable, they will not enjoy the trip. A way to remedy this is to have them stop for water breaks. You will notice an improvement in how much they enjoy trail rides.
Take it Slow
Learning how to handle a dirt bike is not an easy process. Remember what it was like to be a beginner, especially if you learned as a kid. Do not rush the process. Put your junior in a situation where they feel in control. Refrain from creating a competitive environment.
If they ask for a breather, allow them to take some time off. Follow their pace and only introduce a new challenge if you assess that they are ready for it. Kids need to feel like they are making progress, so teach them the basics first and upgrade over time.
If you ride dirt bikes, you are aware of how fun the sport is. It can be a fun family sport, and you can include your kids as well. Get them an appropriately-sized bike in addition to safety gear. You need to keep it fun to keep them interested in the sport. Move from one fundamental to another, while encouraging their efforts along the way.