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Confidence going down a hill

mini-eggsmini-eggs Posts: 811
My 5year old son has only just really got into cycling. On the flat he goes fine, and very slight incline he's fine. Even round the kids skills area of Afan argoed, he's totally fine and happy.

He did have an issue of pulling his brakes, but I cracked that by taking him down gentle slopes and let him play with braking gently and hard and get the general feel. These slopes he is fine with.

But any sort of sizeable hill he panics like mad, and starts screaming and crying. We think the root cause is the one time he did launch himself down a hill panic'd and didn't pull the brakes, letting go of the bars and pedals, which ended up in a fall. This has stuck in his mind and now freaks out on every hill...even though his riding, skills and confidence has come on hugely and it really should be easy for him.

Anybody got suggestions on building up his confidence on hills??
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  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023
    Lots of gentle hill descents encouraging him to go faster as he gets more practice and then, if they're available, slightly less gentle slopes, especially if they're shorter. Other than than, the answer is time.
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
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  • tallmansixtallmansix Posts: 57
    Sounds like your son is doing really well at his age and I expect, because he has your tuition in cycling, he is already much more competent than most his age even if a little too safety conscious on the hills.

    My idea is for you to undertake an equally fearsome challenge for yourself, however explaining it is a calculated risk that is reasonably safe and show how you prepare and think it through before you go for it, maybe by you doing a much steeper or difficult descent than you would normally consider. It might be useful if he starts by taking the whole hill with the brake engaged a little bit at least to help feel in control, but he is young and doing well already.

    I tried hard to teach my kids safe cycling on roads etc, nagging them almost to the point they hated cycling with me :shock: :? . Anyway last summer I got a phone call from the police saying my 10 yr old lad had an accident on his bike. The worst flashed through my head but thankfully he was ok. He was on a locally named concrete ramp known as the hump by a sluice gate on the river Mersey, really good fun on a bike, I do the ramps myself when taking the dog out but I never did it with the kids. Anyway my lad was there with his mates, on his mates bike, went down too fast, took a big tumble, no t-shirt on [no helmet] and scraped the whole of his chest and stomach while sliding at speed down a ridged concrete ramp. All that ensued was tears, tlc, and scabs and all was ok, but it happened a police officer was nearby and helped him.

    I wished I had shown my lad how to enjoy fun bike stunts safely, I concentrated on the roads knowing it was the most dangerous and today he cycles to school aged 11 crossing a busy a-road into Manc so I'm glad I taught him to be cautious on the roads even if he isn't off-road, don't worry about your lad, as a boy he will soon have a much more adventurous streak and I bet soon you will be back to telling him to take a bit slower down them hills :D
    FCN=10 Carrera Subway II with touring kit = rack, 2x Panniers and a bottle.
    No car, just a bike for everything 100+ miles / week. Commute daily Chorlton-Manchester or Chorlton-Horwich
  • mini-eggsmini-eggs Posts: 811
    Excellent, thanks for your comments.

    Having read around online and on here, whilst watching a few downhill films, I've come up with a plan.

    Will approach it like a pro would......
    Walk the course (in this case, the descent)
    talk about what to do,
    maybe walk down with the bike,
    then roll down slowly with feet on floor / brakes on
    then hopefully build up the speed

    and given lots of practice and time it will all come together.

    Just need the weather to be on side and I'll start trying it. :)
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  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    Another tool which you could use (in the above, or separately).

    Does he have any friends, of similar age, who are cautious* but confident going down hills. Peer group pressure can work for you as well.

    (My daughter's skills often jump quickly when riding with her friends, and similarly she's helped many of her friends take their riding to the next level - and most of the time they're all completely oblivious of what's going on).

    *The 'no fear' kid probably isn't going to help him much.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • mini-eggsmini-eggs Posts: 811
    Bit of an update

    Friday evening, went to afan and let him play around on the Rookie and skills area. It was actually quite busy there and there were lots of children riding around without fuss, and my son kept watching what they doing and trying to copy.

    Come Saturday, we had very gentle test in the garden on a very gentle small slope, and he was fine. Took him out to the hills that previously terrified him. We walked it, talked about how to do it, tried it with feet on the floor, then 1 foot on pedals.....apparently I was going too slow for him then, and he starts going down with a bit of pace and pulling a skid at the bottom (he saw some do it in afan)

    So took him to something a little steeper and longer and he was fine.

    Kids eh,...funny little things!
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