Nobody wants to go over their handlebars, but it’s one of those classic mishaps kids encounter on their BMX or Mountain Bike. Very often, the cause can be the size of their bike’s wheels.

When off-road trails are constructed, they are traditionally designed for adults, riding big 29″ wheels on large tyres. So when the average 6-8 year old arrives at a drop-off (which most inexperienced adults would simply roll over) their small 20″ wheeled kids bikes are prone to over-rotating, sometimes throwing the rider over the front.

So in many situations, to be safe – the kids actually need better bike handling skills than Mum or Dad! Techniques to use their body weight on the bike to ensure safe landings or steep hill descents are pretty important if your little one’s want to progress in the woods safely. These are some of the basic skills kids really need to know!

So this Summer holiday it was time for 6-year old Fraser and 8-year old Connor to grab their Dawes MTB Bikes and improve their skills with a days coaching on Manualling and Descending with ‘MTB Instruction‘ at Woburn Bike Park

Starting with skills evaluation so Mark (their instructor) could asses their current level, they moved onto simulated Manualling exercises on a see-saw. This was a great way to safely recreate drop-offs whilst observing and adjusting technique. Essentially ensuring a rear-wheel landing, controlled by body weight and position, instead of going over the bars!

Once the boys were happy with the correct Manual technique, they headed off into the woods to find areas to try it out for real. A few miles later, which gave plenty more opportunities to observe and improve their single-track riding, they began to test themselves on a series of drop-offs, increasing in difficulty as they went along.

After lunch, it was back on the LongSlade trail for more single-track, before working on their steep hill descent techniques.

In many ways, descending is similar to Manualling, it’s all about using body-weight to control the bike, putting the grip where it needs to be, to safely ride down drops that would be difficult to walk down. Much less speed this time, with break modulation the key to controlling the descent. The boys loved this, Mum with her Vertigo was having none of it!

The boys picked up a lot of skills and techniques from the day, with plenty of new ideas and techniques to work on during their next visit to the woods. A great day, running from 9am to 3pm. Mark and Anita were great with the kids and really keen to push them on. Most kids pick up these skills very quickly – the sooner the better and safer!

This is only the beginning…


About MTB Instruction
MTB Instruction can run courses for individuals or groups, adults or kids and women only groups. All their mountain bike instructors are approved M.I.A.S (Mountain Bike Instructors Award Scheme) level 2 qualified instructors and CRB checked.