International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (TKMBD) is an annual event that seeks to introduce the joy of mountain biking to the next generation.

Mountain biking, although more fun with friends, can be a great social and physical distanced activity. Wisconsin has some great trails and beautiful scenery to get out and enjoy while the leaves and weather changes.

The Wisconsin DNR lists many trails around the state on their website. Check before you go on conditions, if it’s too muddy and wet be respectful and don’t ride, which damages some trails. Always make sure to check if the trail requires a trail pass (which you can buy on our website). Note that kids under 16 do not need a pass, hence a great day to take them with!

young child rides a pedal less bike on grassy trail
Young riders should start out on “green trails” – Photo by Mike McGarry

Interview With An Expert

We reached out to friend, and National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Coach Licensing Manager, Mike McGarry for some thoughts on TKMBD and NICA.

WBF: How have numbers grown for NICA in WI in the recent past? And what do you possibly attribute that too?

MM: The growth in youth MTB in Wisconsin can be attributed to the NICA programs across the state that focus on FUN and student-athlete progression. MTB is a sport that helps student-athletes set and achieve their own goals in a fun and inclusive team environment.

WBF: Best way for someone with a kid who is interested to get involved?

MM: Check out www.wisconsinmtb.org to find a team near you or start a team!

WBF: Do you have any tips for younger mtb riders?

MM: Make sure that you bring lots of snacks! Keep the trails easy, so the kids feel safe and can have fun. Avoid really technical trails when introducing kids to MTB. Look for fun flowy ‘green’ trails that allow kids to progress slowly and provide space for challenge by choice. Keep the riding time responsible for young athletes. Riding in the dirt is awesome but it is also harder than riding on asphalt.

WBF: Any other tips you want to let people know?

MM: The most important things for kids to learn is how to stand up on their pedals when they are not pedaling. Help them learn to stand up on level pedals before you head out to singletrack trails. Avoid coaching kids from behind! If you are talking at them from behind they will focus on what is happening behind them and not in front of them!

young kid rides on dirt trail in the woods
Riding on dirt is more tiring than asphalt. Bring snacks and take breaks.
Photo by Mike McGarry

You can check out more about TKMBD on IMBA’s website here.

Read more on our site about some new trails in West Bend and Wausau!

NICA has provided us with a platform to engage kids in meaningful, inclusive, active, character-building outdoor activity that has truly brought families together, gotten adults active again, and made a positive impact on the community.

Josh Shivley – NICA Coach