When we make the effort and take the time to go for a ride with kids, we want it to be an enjoyable experience. To have a ‘great day’ on the bike with kids there are simple things to think about, plan and do.
In this story we are riding in the – Rotorua Mountain Bike Park (Whakarewa Forest) in Rotorua on some of the beginner to intermediate tracks with Sam 13 yrs old – who mountain bikes recreationaly and Hollie 11yrs old – who mountain bikes occasionally but is becoming more confident in the mountain bike environment and Mum and Dad who are intermediate mountain bikers.
Where is it. The main entrance to the park is off state highway 5. Waipa Carpark. There are other car parks available to offer easier access to other parts of the mountain bike park
What is there? Simply great facilities. Masses of car parking but don’t be fooled it still can get quite full, toilets/showers, cafe, wash down station for bikes, bike hire and repair, Map boards showing the multiple trails for all riding levels, skills park.
Shuttles are also available to take you and your bike further into the park. Check out all the info – where/how/times etc here. Tickets can be pre-purchased or you can pay by cash/eftpos/visa on the bus. A great way to get the kids further into the park.
Dodzy Skills Area
Shuttle bus and trailer taking all ages up into the park.
Bike wash down…so easy and your bike is ready to ride for next time.
Is it doable?
This park has something for everyone. It is a matter of working out what will work best for your family.
Biking Distance: The length of this ride is entirely at your discretion you have an extensive network of tracks spread out over a large area. These tracks range from grade 1 through to grade 6 advanced. It is about you picking the level that suits your family. Trails range from approximately 0.5km through to 4km.
Biking Surface/Biking Skills required/Level of biking fitness: The surface, the level of skills required as well as your fitness requirement will depend on the level of difficulty of that particular trail. Match the trail to your requirements.
Can you ride with Kids Attached: Some additional support may help get the kids riding in the Rotorua Mountain Bike Park.
- For independent riders : The Towhee Tow Rope may help assist getting them up a hill, or keeping up with the siblings.
- Attached to your bike: The Shotgun offers you the ability to enjoy the mountain biking park with your younger kids. You will need to ride to your ability making sure you are keeping them safe. A rear bike seat could also be used by an experienced rider on Grade 1 or Grade 2 Trails.
Some of the Trails that our family experienced and enjoyed.
For younger and/or less confident riders: From the Waipa Carpark there lots of fun little loops to create on the Kids Loop/Tahi/The Dipper/Pig Track. Bike along the Very Safe Trail and gain access into Ball and Chain/Purarenga and Yellow Brick Road Trails. The Dodzy Skills Park can be a great place to have a play. You can tailor the skills area to your level of skill development.
For intermediate riders: There are just so many options -that is the joy. Here is a few we loved Challenge,Tokorangi, Turkish Delight, Split Enz, Roller Coaster,B Rude not 2 and more. Basically you need to come and give them a go and find your favourites. We all enjoyed the intermediate trails everyone in our family got something from them.
It doesn’t matter what ride you are doing or where you are going, you will always want to feel comfortable. Check out the goRide guide How to have a “great day’ on the bike for general information on how to make sure you are comfortable on the bike.
Water – you will need enough to last the time you are in the park…there is always an option to return to the carpark for a top up if required.
Protection – As they are in a mountain biking environment there is a chance for accidents – bike gloves, covered arms, covered legs, good helmets are some protection options. Please make them wear shoes. Comfort on the seat can be a big factor so consider padded bike underwear – goUnders for Kids, see photo to right. Worn under their shorts or leggings these ‘undies’ protect soft tissue & prevent chaffing.
As you are riding for a period of time…the weather can change make sure you carry options for keeping warm, dry and protected from the sun depending on the time of year you ride and the conditions on the day.
Food – A muesli bar or a bit of chocolate can be a great motivator or reward as well as some sustenance to keep them riding.
It doesn’t matter what ride you are doing or where you are going, you will always want to be safe. Check out the goRide guide How to have a “great day’ on the bike for general information on how to make sure you are safe on the bike.
Map There is a map board at the carpark and maps can be purchased.The trail is well signposted with name and level of difficulty once in the park. My kids had great fun planning what trails we were going to ride.
First Aid – Carry a basic biking first aid kit in your bag or on your bike. Have a more comprehensive kit in the car or a refill pack incase serious patch ups are required. Grazed knees, elbows and irrigation for eyes are the most common minor biking accidents.
You – Am I safe to Mountain Bike Ride? A checklist to complete that ensures YOU are safe to goRide.
Bike – goRide pre-ride bike safety check – is it safe? A simple checklist to complete pre-ride so that you know your bike is in working order.
If you have worked through the points above then you will be more likely to enjoy and have fun on your ride. There is so much fun to be had on a bike – the pace you go, being close and connected with nature, your ease to detour from the trail…I wonder what is around this corner, and your ability to stop and get off your bike means you get to discover all sorts of things along the way. Sometimes you will know about and plan to enjoy things and then there are those wonderful surprise discoveries.
Some things to look out for on the
- Dodzy Skills Park is a great play area on the bike for all levels.
- Let the kids lead the way. Let them find the tracks and work out what signs and names they should look for along the way. The signs in this mountain bike park are really well done so are perfect for those new to map reading.
- If you get high enough there are some neat views over the lake to enjoy
Does it fit?
Does the ride fit with what you want to achieve?
The extensive network of varying trails in the Rotorua Mountain Bike Park makes it easy to match to your needs. Match the difficulty of the trails, match the time spent on the trail to your needs and enjoy.
Did you ride the … ? Did you have a great day on the bike?
What went well? What could you work on next time? It’s all about taking steps and small gains…oh the places you’ll go, the things you will see.
We would love to here about your ‘great days’ on the bike.
get Inspired and goRide – Rotorua Mountain Bike Park with Kids
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