Thursday, January 9, 2014

Adventure Chat with Kids - Mountain Biking

Most of Canada and parts of the United States have been dished some crazy winter weather during December and the early parts of January.  Record lows, heavy snowfall, arctic air masses and what the media has now labelled the "Polar Vortex" is driving most people indoors.  The outdoor enthusiasts however, are loving the snow and fresh powder that makes for some fine back-country skiing, snowshoeing and downhill snowboarding.  Sadly, head to the west coast, specifically Vancouver Island, and you will be hard pressed to find happy snow seekers. 

On Vancouver Island, there is no snow to be had.  Both ski resorts, Mt. Washington and Mt Cain, have not yet opened.  Mt. Washington usually sees 1000 cm of snowfall a season.  As of today's post their snow base is 25cm.  Mt. Cain usually sees 1500cm of snowfall a season.  Today they are sitting with a whopping 60cm snow base.  The lack of snowfall effects the back-country snow seekers just as much.  I suspect snow levels on the usual snowshoe and back-country ski areas are bare as well.  So what is an outdoor enthusiasts to do?  Grab the bike and hit the trails!

Second post in the blog series 'Adventure chat with kids" is with Ben.  I sat down with Ben and we chatted about his favourite outdoor activity (when there is no snow), Mountain Biking.

The quick facts about Ben:
Age: 8
Yrs riding: 7
Current bike: Kona Shred 24
Continents mountain biked on: 2
Favorite trail: Fine China and Mary Jane at Doumont (Nanaimo, BC, Canada)

I know your pretty bummed out about not being able to downhill ski yet this season.  So, how does a boy like you fulfill the need for speed and going fast down a mountain?

Ask my mom and dad if we can go mountain biking to my special spot, Doumont.  That is my favourite spot to go riding. 

Ben's first time riding at Doumont.  April 2010

Can you list three things that make Doumont your favourite place to ride?

The three things every trail must have for it to be fun: jumps, fast flowing, and downhill. You know what I mean by fast flowing, right? A smooth trail without all the rocks and roots.  I like riding over them but they slow me down.

You have been riding your bike for quite a few years now, mostly trails.  What advice can you give parents who are looking to get their little ones riding bikes and trail ready?

Start kids on a small bike and keep moving up.  Dad and I made some little jumps and obstacles out of wood for me to practice on at home.  That helped me learn to take jumps.  If you have a back forest in your yard, make forest trails.  I have one forest trail that has rocks, roots, rounded turns, and a berm to practice riding on.  I would recommend clearing all the prickle bushes away from the trail.  It really helps my riding having you and dad ride with me too.

How would you describe mountain biking to a kid who has never been?

Its like downhill skiing, except you have wheels!

With mountain biking comes crashes.  Have you had any epic crashes?

Yeah, one time on my birthday I was cruising down a hill and then my front wheel wobbled and I crashed.  Me and my bike ended up in the ditch.

Whoa, did you get hurt?

Yes, I hurt my knee and my face but my bike was OK.

Thanks so much for sitting down with me and talking about mountain biking.  I have one more question.  If you could go mountain biking with one person, any one in the world, who would it be?

Only one?  That is hard to choose.  Probably my dad. <smile>

Ben and his dad heading out for a day on the trails in Yangshuo, China. 

Adventure chat with kids is a blog series.  If you missed past blog posts, here they are.

1 comment:

  1. I would have really liked to have done both. Reddish Knob is also a 4,000 footer and is an excellent mountain biking trip. Another time I suppose. best hydration packs running