A family mountain biking adventure is a brilliant idea. It’s definitely not boring, and it gives you an opportunity to encourage your kids to enjoy the outdoors. But before you get a bike rack for your 4×4 truck, determine where should you go on your first mountain biking adventure.
Should you go somewhere fun but safe or challenging but not dangerous? Online trail directories have the answers if you know what to look for.
Mountain biking trail directories
The easiest way to begin your search is through online directories, like singletracks.com and mtbproject.com. These sites will provide you a detailed profile of each mountain trail, including description, obstacles present as well as users’ ratings, tips, and comments.
You’ll also find data on distance, elevation, and altitude. Start by searching the site for “family-friendly trails.”
Now that you know where to look, remember these three things when scrutinizing trails to visit: itinerary, difficulty, and attraction.
Itinerary: How much time do you have?
<>First things first, how long do you intend this trip to be? And will it just be a biking adventure or will you have recreational activities on the side?
In choosing a trail, know the amount of time it would take your family to complete a course. Consider everyone’s skill level and possible sources of delay; if you plan on having a lengthy ride, check if there are pit stops in case someone needs to take a break.
Difficulty: Choose obstacles that challenge your comfort zone.
Ideally, you should already know your kids’ skill level in biking. A trail should be challenging—it has obstacles that would allow them to go out of their comfort zone—but not dangerous. Getting a scratch or bruise is normal, but you obviously don’t want them to roll over a steep mountain.
If you and your spouse are experienced bikers, you’d want a site that offers a number of trails. Spend the day on the easier trail with the kids, and then take up the steeper route toward the evening.
Choose a trail with minimal elevation gain at a safe altitude level for your kids ; going high up can affect your breathing.
Don’t underestimate the level of difficulty of a trail. Obstacles like swamps to cross and hiking paths also make it more difficult.
Attraction: Check it out for interesting sights and fun activities.
Make the most of your trip by choosing a new and interesting place. Think of what your kids appreciate. Do they love bodies of water? How about wildlife and insects?
Wildlife reserves and forests are great if you’re looking for fun rivers, a canopy of gigantic forest trees, and wildlife. Some also offer a combination of activities, like camping, hiking, horseback riding, and paragliding.
Giving a verdict
Finally, the best way to find out if a location is the one for your family’s first biking trip is to visit it and explore it. If it’s too far, you may not be able to do so weeks in advance. But what you can do is include this trial in your itinerary.
Family trips don’t always go as planned, especially adventures like this one where there are too many factors that come into play. But at least you know where to start.