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first trail centre with my lad

theslowonetheslowone Posts: 57
edited June 2017 in MTB beginners
Hi all
I was hoping for a bit of advice. I have a bit of experience with bikes mostly mountain biking some years ago and more recently as a commuter and road rider. My son is 8 years old and rides fairly well on local cycle paths. We have been invited to join some friends of mine with their slightly older children to ride the Minotaur trail at Coed y Brenin over the xmas period. I am a little concerned. Is this a suitable trail for a first mountain biking experience for my son? If so will he be OK on his own bike Islabikes Biein 20L or should I look at hiring one for him?

Posts

  • The Minotaur is a great trail for anyone and a good introduction to mountain biking. I was there about a month ago with my lot aged 7, 11 and 14. Although it is mostly single track none of it is that narrow or difficult. It's broken in 3 sections / loops giving you opportunities to take the forest road back to the trail centre.

    Cezza
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,446
    Shouldn't be a problem for the youngsters, just take it steady section by section and stick an adult at the back. I always pre warn my youngest when on new trails not to go mad and to always pull to one side for faster riders when it's safe to do so, hence the adult at the back to give a warning. Llandegla blue trail is ok for youngsters as well. Good luck and enjoy.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • Thanks for the answers.
    I am looking forward to it, good advise regarding an adult at the back.
    Do you think he will be OK on his current bike, ie. rigid? or should I look at hiring something a bit more rugged. I see that the trail centre will hire kids mountain bikes with a suspension fork.
  • He will be fine with the rigid forks on MinorTaur - its mostly smooth, dressed, gravel surface with just a few, very low steps in that are easy to roll over. I rode it on my CX bike (admittedly, I've been riding off road for years) and it was a blast. My daughter (8 years old at the time ... and the most reluctant cycling child I've ever known!) also did sections of it without complaint ... and admitted to it being 'more fun' than the green trail we'd done previously - she was riding a 20in wheel Frog 55 (similar to the Islabikes Benin 20)
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    I took my 10yo to Verderers at the Forest of Dean - she was a bit reluctant especially when the gradient pitched up (and down) but she ended up having a blast by repeating small sections over and over again - if that's what gets them motivated, let them do it. We ended up doing the qualifying section near the start several times (it's a 100 metre loop with an up and a down). We then did about half the trail before she started getting tired and we found a fast way back to the trail centre . We both had a great time.

    I tried repeating it a few weeks later by taking her round the whole trail (9 miles). She got tired and struggled on the downhills and wasn't happy by the end - learning experience for me is to introduce it in managable portions.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,446
    Leave the lad on his own bike as he knows the brakes gears etc, jump on a hire bike and to start with it will be strange for him also teh suspension forks on smaller bikes are next to useless unless more expensive air or modified forks. Don't pump his tyres up to hard as it wont be nice for him and get him to wear gloves.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • Thanks for all the advise.
    I will keep with his Islabike. Just have to wait and see how he gets on, looks like the route is reasonably easy to escape from if he finds it a bit too much, although as an 8 year old he knows no fear and the only issue may be keeping up with him!
  • hsiaolchsiaolc Posts: 492
    Cezza168 wrote:
    The Minotaur is a great trail for anyone and a good introduction to mountain biking. I was there about a month ago with my lot aged 7, 11 and 14. Although it is mostly single track none of it is that narrow or difficult. It's broken in 3 sections / loops giving you opportunities to take the forest road back to the trail centre.

    Cezza

    Ditto.

    Great Trail but a bit too short. For 8 year old I think its perfect. Of course it really depends on his skills and confidence.
  • To answer the original post, I'd say just get the kids out there, make sure it's a nice day, and all should be brilliant. Obviously don't go trying any black runs but, other than that, all should be fine!
  • theslowone wrote:
    Thanks for the answers.
    I am looking forward to it, good advise regarding an adult at the back.
    Do you think he will be OK on his current bike, ie. rigid? or should I look at hiring something a bit more rugged. I see that the trail centre will hire kids mountain bikes with a suspension fork.

    The only problem I can see with hiring a bike is that, if it is significantly better than his current bike, he might not want to get back on-board his usual bike! I can still just about remember my first shot of a "serious" mountain bike - it was a Scott Genius MC10 at Glentress, and I enjoyed it so much that I ended up buying the same sort of bike within a few months!

    Having said that, it will be good for him to try new things, and cycling is very healthy and enjoyable and, if he really likes it it can become something that you can do together for the next twenty years!
  • sancho_panzasancho_panza Posts: 183
    gonna jump on the thread if that's OK...

    ... I've done a few local centres with my son (7yrs) and he loves it (Jura and Les Gets); my question is, apart from a well fitting proper helmet and full finger gloves, what are the next important bits of protection he/we should have?

    We're on greens here in the alps and are looking forward to a summer of that, with perhaps a little more adventure.

    Thanks

    Sancho P
  • RichardSmartRichardSmart Posts: 387
    gonna jump on the thread if that's OK...

    ... I've done a few local centres with my son (7yrs) and he loves it (Jura and Les Gets); my question is, apart from a well fitting proper helmet and full finger gloves, what are the next important bits of protection he/we should have?

    We're on greens here in the alps and are looking forward to a summer of that, with perhaps a little more adventure.

    Thanks

    Sancho P

    As long as he has a helmet on, he should be fine. I wouldn't bother with body armour unless he is a) going to be riding serious downhill tracks or, b) extremely uncoordinated/clumsy. :D
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