Connect Kids with Nature through Mountain Biking

We’ve talked before in this space about the importance of getting kids involved in individual sports such as cycling, swimming or running which they can take into their lives though adulthood. I wanted to let our readers know about Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day which is a great opportunity to introduce mountain biking to the kids in your life.

Bikes are a great way to stay fit, but they also give kids a degree of independence. I don’t know about you, but I remember riding my bike to friends’ houses in the neighborhood and when I was a bit older even going outside the immediate neighborhood.

Mountain biking in particular connects kids with nature. The following passage from the book, Last Child in the Woods, particularly struck me because it so eloquently described why children need to be in nature.

Unlike television, nature does not seal time; it amplifies it. Nature offers healing for a child living in a destructive family or neighborhood. It serves as a blank slate upon which a child draws and reinterprets the culture’s fantasies. Nature inspires creativity in a child by demanding visualization and the full use of the senses. Given a chance, a child will bring the confusion of the world to the woods, wash it in the creek, turn it over to see what live on the unseen side of that confusion. In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant form the adult world, a separate peace.

Mountain biking allows you to connect with nature in a new way. It allows you to use objects as a spring board and to flow with the natural grade of the trail. Anyone who rides mountain bikes knows how invigorating that flow can feel.

Also, mountain biking allows you to cover more terrain than you might on a hike or trail run which in turn enables you to see more and go deeper into nature. You also move slower than you do on a road bike which allows you to appreciate nature even more.

If your child is a big video game fan, he or she might enjoy mountain biking more than you think. It turns out the manual dexterity that children learn from video games translates into bike handling skills.

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day is a national event sponsored by IMBA, the International Mountain Biking Association. This year, First Lady, Michelle Obama has thrown her support behind this event in an effort to support her Let’s Move campaign. In additional IMBA has pledged to get 30,000 children participating in 300 cycling events this year.

We hope that you can take your child, your neighbor’s child or even volunteer with the Boys and Girls club or Partners Mentoring Youth to give someone else’s child an opportunity to go mountain biking.

Here are the details. Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day will be held on Saturday October 1st at Lory State Park – Corral Center Bike Park in Fort Collins. The event organizers do ask that each child’s bike be in good working order and that each child has a helmet.

We’ll see you out there!

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