Any ideas for starting a 7/8 yr old in off road biking?

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  • Any ideas for starting a 7/8 yr old in off road biking?
  • Premier Icon watly_biker

    Have got my 5 yr old going off road – would suggest flat and short routes to start. I have been surprised how children will just keep pedalling over anything and love going through puddles.
    We have used the ridgeway when dry – in short sections. I found any hill is often too much hard work on the way up and out of control on the way back!
    Also take plenty of snacks/drinks.


    It might be a bit too formal but Go-Ride sessions seem to go down well. We have one here in Milton Keynes and the kids love it.
    Do a search to see if any local clubs offer Go-Ride sessions.

    Tbh I did’nt bother getting involved with my lad when he was that age, I think he prefered to ride around with his mates than a ride with me.
    Then last November aged 12 he suddenly dropped football and started riding with me, he comes out some Sundays but always rides Tuesday night with the adults. I’m really glad I did’nt push him and since starting six months ago his had a 1st and 2nd in cx races and already done his first road race. You can’t imagine how chuffed I am.


    My 7.5 yr old son is coming to live with me as from next week 🙂 woohooo!
    He learnt to ride last summer (taught by me) and now has a Gary Fisher Cosmo kid’s mtb. Anyone got any experience of getting a kid started on off road biking. Prob common sense but not allways. Cheers.


    I’ve found the best way is not to ride with them but go for a walk instead. Let the little fella ride at his own pace and if he’s struggling up the hills you can give him a helping hand. My little lad is 7 and we ride together sometimes but mainly on flat stuff.

    Managed about 10 miles yesterday, me walking (cant ride at the moment anyway, broken finger) and him zipping about on his bike. It gave me chance to help him with the steepish up and down bits.

    We were on a cake mission and found some nice singletrack along the way…


    cake stop


    also, little BMX tracks are fun when you’re a kid and will start to set his imagination going about what he can do on a bike, having a laugh and pissing about on a bike are more important at that age than tiring him out on long fire road rides etc IMO

    You get to sit in the sun and watch him doing laps and trying to get his wheels off the ground at the top of a rollover and he can stop and rest then have another go, try and do bits faster than last time round etc…


    Get a decent bike, light enough for them to peddle. Take lots of treats as bribes. Go for a fun route – not too flat, but not technical either. My two 7 year olds (and my 10 year old) did 17 miles at Sherwood yesterday (including all the new red route, and the downhill section…twice), with no real fuss. Took pretty much all day mind, so you need to go at their pace.

    Premier Icon Clink

    Just got back from Aviemore – did 3 days biking with kids (6 & 8). Each year they amaze us with what they cope with. They managed routes of 12 miles on mostly fireroads but with bits of singletrack. Hills are a struggle but the competitive edge between them helps! We started when young by taking them in trailer behind us, then trailer bike until now both have graduated to own bikes. I suppose they are used to coming with us. Lots of patience and chocolate seems to do the job.

    Premier Icon jam bo

    point em down a hill and let em go. my mates eight yr old rips.

    he can jump better than i can.


    Cool stuff guys. Many thanks. Definitely liking the idea of frequent cake stops.

    some great advice above already.

    i definitely agree with mike_check that bmx tracks are worth locating. i started taking my 5yr old to the local bmx/jump track over the winter and his riding skills (been riding since 3 so not bad already) increased incredibly. i’m now looking for a 16″ wheel bmx so that he can also ride in the skateparks (5yr old with a 3 bike quiver…bmx, bmx race bike and isla bein, got to smile at that!).

    beyond that my 2p is not to push him, let him play and learn at his own pace. i made the mistake of trying to push both my kids in the surf, and it was’nt until i stepped back and just let them play that they really started to enjoy it.


    jam bo – Member

    point em down a hill and let em go. my mates eight yr old rips.

    he can jump better than i can.

    I tried that last week with my five year old, he forgot to brake and I nearly killed him when he hit a wooden post and flew/spun through the air.

    Sticking to the flat stuff now, one blackeye and very bruised leg later!

    Lesson learnt.


    Yes skate parks and bmx tracks are good too, its amazing how quickly they pick thinks up, and like gavtheoldskater said the most important thing is not to push them. Let them have fun, if he enjoys it he will more inclined to stick at it.

    A full face might be worth thinking about, we got one after he face planted at the local dirt jumps. Still it doesn’t seem to have put him off.

    Skate park on the jump bike…

    BMX Track

    He also road races on the local race track, which is run by the cleveland wheelers for under 18’s, in fact sometimes its quite difficult to get him to go anywhere without a bike.

    3 bikes is normal for a 7 year old isn’t it? Actually thats one more than me, I shall have to redress the balance.

    Premier Icon Ed-O

    Flat routes or get uplifted, do a descent and get picked up at the end. Lots of breaks, chocolate, encouragement and a touch of “come on you can do it.” Good bike – but you’ve got that.

    Go to a trail centre and let him soak up the vibes and watch the bikes / see people doing jumps. Inspiration and aspiration 🙂 Go ride some skills areas. Build a little jump together.

    This is all the kind of thing I did with Nial when he was 7 and this is him now at 11

    …and building up his new frame himself

    Premier Icon Ed-O

    Filthy – Top marks to you, he looks ace.

    Me and the little fella (6yrs old) did the blue at Glentress yesterday. Other than a couple of the steeper climbs where we spun out we managed every inch. The descents were done at full speed and we were riding the berms and little jumps faster than i realised. He managed to stay less than 2ft behind me the entire 14km. Both me and my lad got back to the Hub with a big smile on our faces and he wasnt tired out at all (I was)

    Did i mention he was on a tag a long 🙂


    Awesome thread must be brill! ED-O looks like your kid got some skills already .. building his own frame at 11! That’s going to save him a few quid in the LBS when he gets older! oh and ripping it up like hat he’s bound to be a hit wih the ladies!!

    ha! at 11 i had mastered the 180 skid to fakie, a completely useless skill for everything apart from wearing out rear tires.


    Jake has been riding since he was 5 off road – has no problem with local stuff like FTD at Cannock, and has los done a few Lakes rides/trail centres (he is now 7)


    I try to check out the routes first myself that they are fairly flat and no road sections, the flatter the less that distance seems to factor in getting tired.

    Have found that ex railway routes and along rivers (obviously!) are best. Plus trying out first you can work out which end is best to start so it’s down hill back if it’s not circular.

    My eldest used to moan a lot till I took them on a black route one day, never a peep since on the flat ones.

    Premier Icon DaveP

    Cake, sweets (fruit if you like) all good ploys.
    Hills they dont like.
    camelbaks are useful aids for pulling them up hills.
    They work about at about 1/4 of my speed.
    Cwmcarn worked well – we rode up the road, so they weren’t too tired at the top.

    Getting positive comments from other riders fills them with real pride!

    Penhydd at Afan – they were spotted by a ranger and he told them to go to the office after and they could get a certificate – they loved that!

    Local tracks, etc are good for bike skills. Also built mine a couple of jumps for the garden.

    Still can’t get them to grasp that uphill pain has to be felt before downhill fun.

    Nothing like a little ‘un whooping with fun coming down Cwmcarn.

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