Thank you for organizing a group event for IMBA's Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day! Take a Kid events have ranged in size from a few kids and families to several hundred gathering at a local park or trailhead. IMBA clubs and chapters, retail shops, Trips for Kids, schools, scouts and community groups are encouraged to host events. We'll give you advice and tips to structure an event that makes sense for you and your community. Please read on for more information and ideas to help you make your day a success.
In the words of Jedi Master Yoda, "Size matters not." Start with a group size that you can manage--all sizes of events are welcome. Consider forming an organizing team of willing parents or interested families. Develop a plan for how you would like your day to look and feel. Think about the ages of kids you'll be inviting (and parents!) and develop a plan so that there is adequate adult supervision. We've seen strider (pedal-less) bike rides with toddlers on up to teenagers on mountain bikes; and everything in between.
Pick a location where there are smooth natural surface trails, if possible. Beginner level trails or smooth bike paths are suggested for kids and adults that may not have riding experience. A trailhead, open space or park with multi-use trials suited to all abilities is best. This type of location allows groups to split up based on ability level. If you know the ability levels of your group, pick a trail or riding area appropriate for them. Ask permission from the local authorities, if required.
If you don't have any trails near your neighborhood or town, pick a school, bike path, quiet dirt road, ball field, yard or park that is bike friendly. At a field or quiet parking lot, you can set up a skills area with typical sports equipment, such as cones, flags or other markers. Mountain bike "obstacles" can be created by laying 2x6 boards flat on the ground, simulating "bumps". We recommend setting alternative lines through obstacle courses, so kids can ride an easy path or add more challenge if they choose. Use your imagination but keep safety and "challenge by choice" in mind. Encourage the kids to participate fully and look for experiences to stretch, learn and grow.
If you are thinking you need bikes to share or demo with kids that may not have a bike, consider contacting a local bike rental shop, Trips for Kids Chapter, YMCA Y-riders program, Boys or Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or school bike program.
If you are interested in partnering on an event check out retailers, clubs and IMBA affiliates near you. Or stay tuned to our calendar of events, that will grow as events are registered.
Activities and Education
If you are expecting a crowd, consider planning some activities or educational "stations". We've seen this work well when events include topics such as hydration, nutrition, sunscreen, helmet fitting, safety, skills and bike handling, rules of the trail, etc. This can be as casual as passing around the tube of sunscreen, making sure helmets are on correctly and sharing some snacks.
With willing adult leaders to lead and sweep (follow), take small groups 4-8 kids (with two adults) out on an easy route. For trail rides, splitting kids up by age and ability seems to work best, but always encourage the slowest rider to set the pace. Another option is to set a loop skills course, supervised by a couple of adult "coaches". Kids can cycle through the course and get tips while they build their skills and confidence. This works great for the young ones while the older kids go out on the trail. The sky's the limit and the most important thing is to have fun!
Treats always seem to help in motivating kids so stock up on your favorites (we like M&M's)--but make sure you check with parents about allergies. It's always a good idea for leaders to carry a small first aid kit and cel phone, especially if you are heading out for any distance from the trailhead.
If you are an organization conducting a Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day ride (club, chapter, shop or other), IMBA recommends you have parents fill out your organization's acknowledgment of risk and release of liability form for all participants.
If you need help publicizing your event - we've created two different posters in PDF form, which you are welcome to download and print out to use as you see fit. Save the posters to disk and take them to your local print shop and have them enlarged to full poster size, or just print them out on your own color printer. You can fill in your own event information with a Magic Marker or Sharpie and post them in local schools, bike shops, or community centers where kids and parents will see them.
Download our ready-made PDF poster (2016 version coming soon!) which allow you to fill-in the details of your event!
Sample Email Blast
A sample email invitation to blast to your group members, friends and other contacts to promote the event is available. You can edit the information and language and include photos, sponsor logos, etc…
Sample Press Release
A sample press release template that you can send to your local papers, and radio and television stations is also available. After you send the press release, it's a good idea to call to follow up and ask them to publicize the event beforehand in a story or listing in their community events board, and then request they send a reporter to cover the event.
Registration and additional information available now.
Take pictures of your event and post them to Facebook (don't forget to tag IMBA), Instagram (#TKMBD) and send them to us, at events [at] imba [dot] com.