The Chainlink

Chainlink Ride Report: 2016 IMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

By Eric Alexander

Overview:
In hopes to teach safety, and promote responsible riding among young off-road cyclists, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) organizes their annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.

In IMBA's own words:

"Bicycling is good, healthy fun, and a gateway to healthy lifestyles. IMBA strives to develop a connection between kids, bikes and the natural world around them while touching on themes such as bike safety, skills, rider etiquette, nutrition, hydration and sun protection."

Typically held in October, this year's event took place on June 11th at dozens of mountain bike trails throughout the country. Our local event was hosted by Chicago Area Mountain Bikers (CAMBR) at the popular Palos trail system that CAMBR volunteers maintain.

Last year, the temps were low and it was jacket weather. This year was the complete opposite, topping out at a muggy 95 degrees. Friday night, I asked my three children if they wanted to go on Saturday. My Twins were game, but my daughter Nora wanted to stay home with her mother. So at this time I’m going to turn the column over to my 9-year old twins, Lily and Evan, written from their perspective.

This year's IMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day drew dozens of area munchkins ready to shred some Palos gnar.

Lily Alexander tackling some smooth singletrack.

The Ride:
Lily: The ride I went to was Take a Kid Mountain Biking. I went with my brother and Dad.

Evan: The ride was muddy and had lots of roots especially on a few of the hills. Also, it was hard on one of the long gravel hills but, going downhill was one of the easiest parts of the ride. Another hard part was the muddy sections because it was slippery. Also, there was a bit of traffic.

Evan Alexander looking smooth and confident.

The Gear:
Lily: I brought a mountain bike. Water was nice to have on the trails. We took about 2 or 3 breaks so people could catch up. One of the things that you needed to bring was a helmet to keep safe.

Evan: It was pretty simple, all you need is a bike frame, tires and yourself, and a helmet.

Big kid Eric Alexander proving that he's some sort of knobby-tired pied piper.

The Journey:
Lily: There was only one spot that we had to walk that was not mud. There was 2 or 3 spots of mud and I got a little muddy. It took us about an hour to get back.

Evan: The ride was fun and difficult in some areas, mostly the muddy areas were difficult. And the rest of it was fun.

Lily's matching bike/helmet/water bottle game was on point.

The Conclusion:
Lily: When you got back from the ride they gave everyone a bell. They also had food and drinks at the end, you could also bring your own food and drinks.

Evan: Afterward there was food and snacks and they gave us all a free water bottle. So I would recommend that you go next year.

Visit imba.com to learn more about the International Mountain Bicycling Association and their programs.

Visit cambr.org to learn more about Chicago Area Mountains Bikers, volunteer opportunities, and for local trail conditions.

About the author:

Eric Alexander is The Chainlink's gravel and adventure contributor. We first encountered Eric a few years back on the final stretch of a particularly windy, cold, and rainy gravel ride called the Dirty Mudd'r. Since then, he's proven time and time again, when the going gets tough and you're deep into a difficult day in the saddle, he's definitely someone you want pedaling by your side. Eric participates/competes in various endurance riding events as a member of Team Twin Six.

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