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Take a kid mountain biking day

El Oso Niño Kids Fat Bike: http://amzn.to/28PBGEy
Line 24 Kids Hardtail: http://amzn.to/1Y3q0dU

How to host this event in your community https://www.imba.com/kids

This is Sebastian, and mountain biking has already taught him the most important lesson a kid could learn. When you fall, you need to brush yourself off and get back up. Consequently, this has happened quite a few times today.

We’re here in Miami for Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day. Any local trail that wants to hold this event can get a starter kit from IMBA, the International Mountain Biking Association. It’s up the local community to do the rest.

As it turns out, it’s quite feasible to get support for an event when it involves kids. Bike Tech, Big Wheel Cycle, and even the Parks Department came through to make this event all sorts of awesome. Diamondback sent me a whole box of stuff, as well as two ridiculous kids bikes.

At 7 years old, I don’t think my brain could have processed either of these. This 24 inch Line hardtail is like a mini version of my bike, and the 20 inch El Oso Niño would make most kids wreck their diaper. I only wish stuff like this existed when I was a kid.

Being relatively small people, my sister and I decided to take these out on the trails for a proper test. I’ll do a more extensive review on both bikes next time, but I’m not gonna lie when I say I really enjoyed myself—maybe a little too much. I don’t care if you have the most violent and demonic kid in the world, they’re gonna have a hard time breaking either of these bikes. This is good because I brought these for everyone to ride.

As expected the Line 24 was a huge hit, since it’s like a perfectly scaled down version of a full sized hardtail. Still it was the fat bike that was the life of the party. Sebastian and his father already do a ton of volunteer work at Virginia Key Park, so he’s no stranger to riding trails. I think the El Oso actually increased his confidence, since the tires provide so much traction and stability. Even when everyone else was eating or waiting for another activity, Sebastian was getting in another turn on the fat bike.

Indeed, a fat tire bike might be the perfect configuration for Oleta River State Park; Its location along the river means that loose sand, puddles, and mud are likely to pop up almost anywhere. For a kid especially, the big tires can be a lot more beneficial than suspension.

I think all of the parents at the event were pretty sold on mountain biking as a great activity for their kids. Although my opinion is heavily biased, I can’t think of an activity that teaches so many life lessons for such a low cost. Compared to the cost of summer camp, or a self defense class, a $500 kids bike seems pretty reasonable. Mountain biking can teach a kid about self improvement, and give them a huge confidence boost. Getting through a patch of roots or a rock garden means choosing your own line, an important lesson in decisiveness and self reliance. Participating in trail maintenance teaches kids about community, and how great things can be built through teamwork.

Let’s also not forget about exercise. We tend to blame society or tablets for kids being inactive, but I think it’s just them emulating their parents. All of the kids here seem very active, and that’s made possible by their parents' involvement. It might take dedication and a little money, you can’t expect a little kid to buy a bike and get themselves to the trails. By starting these kids young, they’ll grow up with a healthy outlet for their energy, and a group of lifelong friends who share the same values.

At the end of the day we had a huge raffle to give away water bottles, shirts, and of course, bikes. Our Diamondback Line 24 found a great home, as well as the bikes that the local shops provided. By contributing to the communities they serve, these shops can expect a healthy mountain biking scene for years to come.

The organizers of the event wanted to give someone the title of “trail ambassador”. This is a kid who represents everything a local trail stands for. We chose Sebastian, for his volunteer work, persistence, and high degree of enthusiasm for mountain biking. As happy as he seemed to have this title, we were pretty sure of what Sebastian really wanted.

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