School's Out For Summer! Make The Most Of The Holidays
It’s the time of year that every parent looks forward to and dreads in equal measure. A six-week break from dragging the kids out of bed every morning but also a seemingly interminable period of finding ways to occupy them. As you’d expect, we think getting the young ones out mountain biking in Dalby Forest – and anywhere else for that matter – is a great way of amusing them, enjoying family time together and tiring them out so you can enjoy some peace at the end of the day. Here are our suggestions for all the bikes, accessories and more you need to help you get out on the trails this summer.
Keeping the little ones safe while they’re having fun on the trails is priority number one. Getting them to wear a helmet used to be about as easy as getting them to clean their teeth but thankfully the safety message has sunk in and youngsters are happy wearing them nowadays. A lot of this is down to cool design, with options like this skate-style Bontrager Jet WaveCel children’s bike helmet, which comes in black, magenta, hi-vis green and white. More importantly, it meets the ASTM standards for protection and Bontrager’s excellent Crash Replacement Guarantee means you get a new one if it’s involved in a crash in the first year of ownership. For the toddlers, there’s Bontrager’s bright and colourful Little Dipper which meets the same ASTM standards and also comes with the Crash Replacement Guarantee.
Shotgun kids accessories
We love the child bike seat and towrope from Shotgun. These guys really know how to make mountain biking accessible for younger children, offering a genuinely inclusive experience that really makes them feel part of the fun. First up, the Shotgun front-mounted bike seat is perfect for two to five-year-olds, attaching to your frame with cushioning that respects your paint job. The seat comes complete with footholds and can be paired with the Shotgun child handlebars to give an even greater feeling of participation and control. For kids who ride their own bike, the Shotgun MTB tow rope is a great way to give them a helping hand – or foot – up steeper inclines or if their legs just need a bit of a rest. Load rated up to 500lb, it features shock absorbing stretch and is quick to attach using the stem loop and carabiner. These are awesome products with glowing user reviews. Come and take a closer look in store.
When they’re ready to graduate from bike seat to a ride of their own but they’re not quite up to stabiliser-free action, balance bikes are a great way to make the step up. These mini-machines allow youngsters to feel in control as they pootle along propelled by their feet and often reaching surprising speeds. All the while, balance bikes enable kids to learn the basics of balancing, riding up and down hills and other essential skills. The Trek Kickster is a hugely popular example, with a sturdy construction that makes it perfect for handing down to younger siblings. And the Frog Tadpole comes with adjustable seat post and a rear brake to get them learning the rudiments of safe stopping.
Frog kids bikes
Frog is another brand whose strength is really understanding their customers. Frog truly bring the fun of MTB life to kids with bikes that are easier to learn on and control, and with a fantastic selection of bright colours across their range. A bonus for parents: prices are genuinely affordable. Our pick of the bunch are the Frog 52 Tour de France in leader’s jersey yellow, the Frog 55 in bright orange and the Frog 62 in acid green. These bikes were born of Jerry and Shelley Lawson’s frustrating and fruitless search for suitable machines for their own children. Having cast aside existing assumptions about child bike design, everything from the geometry to the components have been created afresh with smaller users as top priority.
Trek Wahoo is a range of capable, lightweight and versatile bikes aimed at bigger kids. These are for youngsters with a little more independence who want a bike that’ll keep up with them on grass, road and tracks as they pedal to school or over to a friend’s house. Trek Wahoo comes in three models: the Wahoo 20 for kids measuring 114cm to 132cm tall (aged approximately 6 to 8), the Wahoo 24 for kids measuring 129.5cm to 149.8cm tall (8 to 12 year olds) and the Wahoo 26 for those at 134cm to 167.6cm. All of these come with a lightweight aluminium frame that’s easy for kids to pick up and control and a 1x8 drive train that simplifies gear shifting so they can focus on more important things like having fun.
Young Riders coaching session at Dalby Forest
You’ve got the bike. But do you have the skills? The Young Riders training course at Dalby Forest is aimed at aspiring young mountain bikers aged 10 to 16 years old and is designed to help them develop their riding, from the basics to more advanced techniques. The course will focus on those skills required to ride the red route, such a milestone that any rider will tell you they remember the first time they did it as a youngster. Like any activity, mountain biking is more fun if you’ve nailed the techniques and you’re able to maintain flow, and this course aims to teach riders exactly how to do that. Organised in conjunction with Dalby Forest Cycle Hub, there are 7 sessions between now and mid-September. Book your place here.
Fox kids clothing
We keep saying it but we are huge fans of the clothing range from Fox and the kids range is every bit as awesome as the adult garb. There’s a great selection of brightly coloured tees, like these pictured above, and shorts like the Fox Youth Ranger in a lovely garish orange. Of course, kids love rocking a good old hoodie and there’s plenty to choose from here too, whether it’s the Youth Apex fleece in chilli red or the Youth Legacy Moth zip fleece in black. Visit us in store to check out the fantastic selection of Fox Racing clothing for kids.
If you’re not lucky enough to live within riding distance of some top-drawer MTB country, you’re going to need transport. There are different types and models of bike rack to choose from, depending on your vehicle and how many bikes you need it to carry. Rear mounted racks are generally the most affordable as they don’t require any changes to your car; roof mounted racks allow you access to your boot or to tow a trailer or caravan; and towbar mounted racks are easy to attach and very sturdy, and are the easiest for lifting your bikes on and off. One of several racks we stock is the Thule EasyFold XT 2-bike towbar mounted bike rack, which comes pre-assembled and has a neat fold down feature to enable boot access. We also recommend the Saris Bones 2-bike rear mounted rack which is super strong and looks great too! Come and talk to us in store for advice on which rack is right for you.
The trails of Dalby Forest
Dalby Forest is Yorkshire’s MTB Mecca, with an awesome selection of trails that’ll ensure there’s always something new for the kids to try. Here’s a few for younger riders: Ellerburn Trail: A 1.7-mile green route with an optional 1.1-mile extension. The gentlest of the cycling trails at Dalby Forest, this is a multi-user pathway for disabled cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users. It is also a safe and accessible route for children learning to ride a bike and parents with pushchairs. Adderstone Cycle Trail: An 8-mile green trail with a 4-mile optional extension which is suitable for beginners or novice cyclists. This trail is a longer route that’s mostly flat or gentle slopes and is perfect for adult and child bikes, tag-alongs and bike trailers. Cycle skills area: This skills area is suitable for basic level riders, especially younger ones, who are building their confidence with humps, banks and small jumps. The cycle skills area can be found along the Ellerburn Trail from Low Dalby. Jubilee Blue Trail: This is a 6-mile route for intermediate cyclists or mountain bikers with basic off-road riding skills. Starting with a challenging climb and some fun sections in the woods, this route rewards the effort with amazing views across the valley to Low Dalby and fun downhills towards the end. Jerry Noddle Bike Trail: A 7-mile red trail which is suitable for proficient mountain bikers with good off-roading skills. Definitely one for the teenagers, this is a fast and flowing route through the woods, which offers a fantastic experience for capable riders. All of these can be found on the route map leaflets which are available from our sister store Dalby Forest Cycle Hub.
We sincerely hope that’s helpful. Good luck making it through the next six weeks. If any of the above sounds of interest, drop in to our store in Southgate, Pickering, and our friendly team will be very happy to assist and advise you as you get your little ones and not-so-little ones kitted out for the trails. It’s what summer was invented for!