Now there’s no better excuse to take your kid mountain biking. On OCt. 6, 2012, the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) will celebrate its eighth-annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (TKMBD), a great opportunity for parents to share their passion for pedaling with kids.
Held on the first Saturday of each October, the event, developed and coordinated by IMBA, strives to encourage communities around the world to join together and ride mountain bikes with youth. Last year, the group had more than 13,000 participants at hundreds of events across the globe, including: Italy, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Malaysia, and Mexico. Informal or formal, one child or one hundred children, TKMBD celebrates the joy of riding in the dirt.
“Besides being good, healthy fun, the goal is to develop a connection between kids and the natural world around them,” says IMBA’s Mark Eller. “Today’s children are tomorrow’s land managers and politicians — future decision-makers for important matters like recreation and access to public lands. How different might our current access landscape look today if previous generations of policy makers had grown up riding bikes on natural-surface trails?”
Every fall, on the first Saturday of October, IMBA organizes hundreds of mountain bike events designed to get young people outside on their bikes. Known as “Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day,” the celebration is recognized across the globe. In 2011, the eight edition saw more than 230 events — including rides in Australia, Canada, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico and South Africa.
In 2012, IMBA’s program will ride in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, IMBA has pledged to get 30,000 children participating in 300 cycling events on Oct. 6, and it could use your help in reaching this goal. It’s not too early to start planning …
10 tips to help plan a great event:
1. Save the date
• Clear your calendar for a few hours on Saturday, October 6, 2012
• Other dates are fine too, but you may not be eligible for IMBA-sponsored rewards
2. Find some kids
• Coordinate with your local IMBA chapter or club: imba.com/near-you
• Invite neighbors, co-workers, relatives, friends
• Contact your local YMCA or other youth groups
3. Plan for bikes and helmets
• Bring your own bike/helmet is the most common plan
• If you’d like to invite kids that might not have their own gear, try contacting local bike shops about rental options —give them plenty of lead time
4. Select a route
• Be sure to choose a ride that is fun, safe and not too long or difficult.
• The ideal route will have options where the group can head home or continue for more adventure.
5. Be prepared
• Bring extra water and food, including a tasty treat for every kid
• Don’t forget other essentials such as extra tubes, pump, tire levers and a multi-tool
• Recruit plenty of adult ride guides, and make sure someone is assigned to stay behind the last young rider
7. Ride together
• Emphasize riding together— re-group frequently and make sure everyone is smiling
• Ask the lead adult guide to stop at every trail intersection to minimize the chance of lost riders
8. Have fun
• Try incorporating skill games, like “slow-motion riding” and “how to bunny hop”
• Point out interesting trail features, wildlife or take a few minutes to discuss trail safety and etiquette
9. Take photos and video
• Share stories and photos about your day with parents, community leaders, local press and IMBA.
• Post your photos on IMBA’s Facebook page.
10. Make it a tradition
• Make every day a Take-a-Kid day and plan for the first Saturday in October next year to celebrate how Kids+Bikes=FUN!