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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Take a Kid Mountain Biking

Have you ever taken a kid mountain biking? I highly suggest it. My 11 year old nephew, Ethan was visiting so I thought he would enjoy a trip to our local mountain biking trails (Sugar Bottom). He had only been mountain biking once last summer, but was really looking forward to going. I had a day of vacation planned and it turned out to be the perfect day for our mountain biking adventure!

Getting ready to hit the trails!

I gave him my old Gary Fisher Marlin awhile back, and it’s been working really well for him (just don’t tell him it’s a “girls” bike). He made it up the long gravel climb to the south trails like a champ. I had him follow me into the singletrack and like any overbearing aunt had to stop and take pictures almost immediately.

I'm pretty sure he's thinking "come on Aunt Emily, we just started. Quit taking pictures and let me ride!"

Not even five minutes into the ride Ethan said “I can really see why you guys like mounting biking so much” – he was loving it and enjoying the scenery. It really it a beautiful place when you take a moment to look around.

Youth Mountain Biking

After stopping for more pics, I let him lead the way and he did great! He was a little hesitant at a rooty section, but went right over without any problems. He was really making his aunt proud! We made it on all the blue trails on the south side and took the gravel access road to the picnic area for a quick break. In the car on the way to the trails, he had been asking why the helmets have “holes” in them. Now he understood and was happy his helmet had many “holes” to help keep him cooler. 

Youth Mountain Biking
Taking a quick water break and enjoying the view.
There was still minor flooding, just over a small section of access road, so we decided to check it out before hitting one last trail. We were right next to the water and I was getting my camera out again when Ethan suggested we should go. I was asking why just when I saw a SNAKE popping its head out of the water. I think I may have taught Ethan a colorful new phrase, and quickly jumped back on my bike and sped way (don't worry, he was right behind me). Ugh, I HATE snakes – yuck! Ethan of course thought this was all really funny. I’m pretty sure he thinks snakes are cool, but knows how afraid of them I am. (I also confessed to his  mom what new phrase he may have learned "sh*t balls" - sorry!).

After our little excitement, we looped around to the last trail on the north side and Ethan let me lead the way. He really liked this trail; I think it was his favorite. There were a couple uphill rooty sections that he was not able to ride, but I assured him that it took me over a year to be able to ride one of them myself. I think it will give him some good motivation to come out and try again. It's always nice to have something to work at! He was very proud that he did not crash at all this time, and we headed back to our car happy, and with tired legs.

Mountain Biking
So, to help cool down, we went out for some ice cream!

Can you tell we're related?!

And after I brought him back over to my parent’s house where he was spending the week, he asked if we could do the same thing tomorrow. I knew he had a wonderful time and it made me incredibly happy to be able to share something that I love so much with him. I can’t wait to take him mountain biking again!

 I think it's so great to get kids involved in an activity like this. While challenging, it can also be so much fun and rewarding. He will eventually have more crashes and have to learn to get back up every time. He will eventually learn how to make it over rooty and other technical sections and gain confidence. And most importantly, he has found an activity that he really enjoys, that he can do for many, many years to come!

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