Kids just love mountain biking!

Aside from the obvious benefit of traffic-free cycling, MTB gives the opportunity to learn a wide range of bike handling skills, all of which are still relevant to road, triathlon or cyclocross events. World Tour rider Peter Sagan (Saxo-Tinkoff) began his career winning the 2008 Junior MTB World Championship, before switching to the Road!

Dedicated venues are available right across the UK, with more opening-up all the time. The vast majority of centres use the CTC developed colour code system for their route definitions;

Green (Easy);
Intended for non-cyclists and families, children aged 4 or above riding solo, bikes with child seats or trailers, touring bikes, bikes for those with disabilities.

Blue (Moderate);
Ideal for occasional cyclists with some experience of road use or easy trails, reasonably fit families, children aged 10 or above riding solo, suitable for mountain bikes, hybrids or robust touring bikes.

Red (Difficult);
Intended for regular cyclists with experience of moderate trails suitable for off-road quality mountain bikes.

Black (Severe);
Suitable for expert mountain bikers who will expect and relish technical challenges.

Many of these venues run Coaching sessions for kids, so its worth enquiring if you want to introduce your kids to this fantastic discipline. Most kids will be fine on Green and Blue routes, but if you intend to venture onto Red and Black routes, coaching is highly recommended beforehand.

Kids MTB bikes have really come on a long way. For younger kids aiming for Green/Blue route riding – solid fork ATB Bikes are perfectly good enough. If you intend to venture onto more technical Red and Black routes, suspension is a must with Front Suspension (XC Hardtail) the most popular MTB Bikes.

Obviously the kit they use is very important and like any other discipline, we believe lightweight and proportional are key to your child getting the most from their MTB riding. We’ve sourced a range of Kids MTB Kit which we believe are just that.

There is now a fantastic choice of proper MTB cycling shoes available for kids. CLICK HERE for info. Suitable multi-direction release MTB cleats for older kids doing XC riding are also a musts.

Just like any other cycling, the right protection is all important. Helmets are critical, full-face is recommended if your kids take on technically challenging trails or downhills. Body Armour is also very sensible from the simple EVOC back protection to the superb front/rear/shoulder and neck vest by Leatt. Full fingered gloves are also recommended.

With short, sharp climbs – often in the shelter of trees (little wind cooling effect) MTB riding can be hot, thirsty work. The child-specific EVOC Joyride Hydration Pack means they can re-hydrate constantly, offering a degree of back protection too.

Alongside the larger venues running their own in-house coaching courses, here a few more options;

Singletrack School
SMTB Coaching
MTB Instruction
Boars On Bikes

List of UK MTB Venues;

The MoreDirt website has a great directory of MTB venues across the UK, which you can filter to find a centre near you – CLICK HERE to take a look.

Kids MTB Racing;
Take a look at the events directory on the British Cycling website for a kids MTB race near you (scroll through the directory and take a look at the events marked ‘MTB XC’ in the Event Type column). CLICK HERE for the directory. We can recommend the Mud, Sweat & Gears (East) series for kids, which involves a coaching session for over an hour on the course they race beforehand.

So what can a 6-year old and his 8-year old brother get up to on their Mountain Bikes? A short video of their half-term holiday at Cannock Chase, Chicksands and Haleigh Park, taking in a round of the MSG race series