Turn your well intentioned enthusiasm into positive effect

It’s all too easy to get carried away when trying to get your offspring to enjoy the sport you love.

You’ll not go wrong if you stick to these ten bits of advice.

DON’T make them go in front

It seems like good sense to make the kiddo lead because you can watch them and they can set the speed. But the fact is, everything’s so new, there’s too much to take in and process.

DO let them follow your lines

You’ll soon learn the right speed, and they’ll soon learn what to look at and where to go.

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DON’T fit clipless pedals

There’s plenty to learn already without complicating things by locking their feet to the pedals. Worse, they’re likely to topple over at every opportunity and dent their confidence. Worse still, the bike can weigh more than the junior rider too, so if there’s a proper crash the bike can end up dragging Mini You like a fallen rodeo rider.

DO fit flat pedals

Instead go for a set of flats and shoes they feel comfortable in.

DON’T push junior hard

This isn’t your second stab at mountain bike greatness, so try not to expect a genius son, or daughter. It’s about fun, right? It’s also best not to tell them how to do absolutely everything, they won’t take it all in.

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DO one thing at a time

Pick one thing to focus on during each ride and concentrate on that. Start with practising getting those size threes level, or the outside foot down.

DON’T let them charge at the first jump they see

It’ll probably end in tears.

DO get them to try it on foot first

Get them off the bike and ask them to jump without bending their legs. Impossible! Tell them jumping on the bike is just the same. Then ask them to run over the jump and feel the pressure of the ground rising up under their legs — it’ll be the same on the bike.

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DON’T forget to set the bike up well

Forget twist-grip shifters on kids’ bikes — they quickly get too hard for little hands to turn. Make sure the brake levers are close in to the bar and the grips are small enough. Then fit a short stem and wide-ish bar to help slow down the steering response.

DO simplify the bike

Run a single-ring drivetrain, or singlespeed if they’re really young.