If you love mountain biking, and want to share it with the family, here are 10 tips for having a MTB holiday everyone will enjoy.
One of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is a love of adventure and the great outdoors. Planning fun family adventures is a great way to instill this appreciation. It’s all about creating wonderful memories you will all share for the rest of your life.
Family mountain bike trips are an excellent way to start. It’s a way of moving quickly through a landscape so you can see many sights, but without it completely exhausting everyone. If you have little ones, you can pull them behind you in a trailer. Here’s how to plan a memorable family MTB holiday.
1. Start out at home
It’s good to get everyone MTBing at home before heading away on a MTB holiday. This gives everyone a chance to mentally and physically prepare. Don’t expect your kids to enjoy a seven day bike trip if they’ve never done it before. Build up at home first.
2. Set goals together
Family holidays are a good time to try new things, but make sure you don’t expect too much from your kids and partner. Don’t be the demanding parent who pushes everyone so much they end up secretly hating it. Instead, talk together about what everyone is expecting from the holiday. And make sure everyone is satisfied with the plan and will have their needs met.
3. Choose trails for everyone
Make sure you stick to easy to moderate trails, or S0 to S2 grades if you’re following the Single Track Scale (STS). This will help keep everyone safe, and ensure it’s on the edge of everyone’s comfort zone, which is where the magic happens.
4. Find family friendly accommodation
Keep the kids happy by finding accommodation with a swimming pool and/or playground. Take turns with your partner minding them, and while they play in the pool most of the day, you can tear it up on the trail.
5. Use Sports Tracker heat maps to find trails
If you’re new to an area, login to your handy Sports Tracker app to find popular local mountain bike trails. Press the button to select the different map types, then in the Heatmap section, select Mountain biking to see the popular trails. Choose other map types to get the lay of the land. Make sure there’s not too much ascent for kids!
6. Try a bike park
Bike parks and trail centres are good places to introduce MTB to the family. All the trails are graded, so everyone in the family can find something that suits them. Many of the parks have instructors and bikes available to rent.
7. Get rental bikes
The quality of adult rental bikes is generally getting better and better so renting is not usually a problem. But it’s better to take your kid’s bikes so they are comfortable. Make sure you test your rental bikes nearby before heading far away on them. Sometimes they have wobbly seats or other annoying problems that can be easily fixed.
8. Stay safe
Helmets are a must. Again, choose a destination with a variety of bike paths, with different grades, and avoid areas where you might have to ride through vehicle traffic. Wear colourful helmets and clothing so you are all easily seen from a distance. Have flashing red lights or flags on the back of your kid’s bikes to increase their visibility.
9. Keep them interested
It’s not always easy keeping children interested in one thing. They tend to get distracted by almost everything. Find little objectives and rewards to keep them interested. Ice cream in the next village, for example, or swimming at the next beach. Find small rewards to break up the ride.
10 .Food is key
Another way to keep kids happy is to make sure you have plenty of food and drinks on standby for them. Have a snack’s container at the ready! There is nothing more likely to end in tears than hungry and tired kids! Keep them fuelled!