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Dr.X

Where are the younger trail riders?

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Father’s Day 2019, Georgetown, CA (27 to 62 years old)

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Posted (edited)

Land access is definitely part of it.  As a kid I could roll down the driveway and ride.  Now that land is all developed, the nearest public riding land is a 4 hour drive, and there is one private MX track just over an hour away, so my kid can only ride when I have time to take him.  Throw in football, soccer, school projects, sleep overs at friends houses, family trips and events, fishing and wakeboarding and there's not a lot of weekends left to dedicate to a riding trips.  As for preference; I'm now well into my 40's and still love MX, but the older I get the more I lean towards trail riding, mostly because it's easier to get injured and takes longer to heal, so the risk/reward scale is changing with every year.  My son on the other hand, prefers the MX track. ;) 

Edited by sirthumpalot
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no land to ride on the cost is too high, most are doing MX, not trail, when they turn 50 they will be doing trail

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I have commented on this before. If the dad doesn't ride or take the kids riding, the only thing left is the track. All my son's friends I took riding are still riding and some their kids are.  The biggest problem I personally find is that I have to go further to get away from washboard (sideXsides) or King of the Hammers race courses or shooters. There was a rider who got a flesh wound in the shoulder out towards Barstow. The#%X# sidexsides make it easy to take the family.  I don't think it is the money,as every dealer I know sells more of them then dirt bikes. Most are $20k and then they get a toybox trailer and then spend $5-10k on upgrades.

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another theory is a money thing. young people have no money and not much time. As far as me there is no mx track very close (mid maine) which means i either ride trails or non at all. I work full time all summer and take AP classes during school. 

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And let’s be honest the younger generation are into video games and living inside. Going outside was our video games. You can buy a pretty cheap dirt bike . Won’t be brand new you can also buy pretty cheap riding gear . It’s the generation that doesn’t want to go outside. There are the few that go ride.

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I would bet money that if you ask a group of ten 12 year old kids if they could have a dirt bike or a cell phone.  9 out of 10 would say cell phone.

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'99 to 2001 I built tract homes all over Riv.Co. on my favorite riding areas,seeing in my mind where I had shaded by a lone eucalyptus,wiped clean about 4' down.I am sorry,please forgive me.

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4 minutes ago, EagleRider ADV said:

And let’s be honest the younger generation are into video games and living inside. Going outside was our video games. You can buy a pretty cheap dirt bike . Won’t be brand new you can also buy pretty cheap riding gear . It’s the generation that doesn’t want to go outside. There are the few that go ride.

Id like to disagree atleast were i live. i’d say 75% of dudes at my school have a bike or quad or something to ride. and i’d say 50% of people on the trails are <30

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29 here...I think it's a multitude of different things. I ride with a few people my age, but there definitely seems to be a shortage of younger people. 

It costs a lot of money and I think most of the people my age don't really have a lot of disposable income. If it wasn't for luck and some good career choices, I don't think I could afford to own Euro bikes and go on riding trips.

Land access sucks, it seems like "back in the day," riders could just rip around on some local vacant land until they had the resources to seriously get into real trailriding or racing. Now more land is being developed and if you ride what isn't, you'll probably run afoul of the law. OHV access is now deemed a non-politically correct activity, so less access to public lands as well.

Attitude change plays a part as well. I think society as a whole has gotten soft...we try to avoid anything that involves hard work. This is limited to millennial's either, I think this is a problem across generations. Some of my other hobbies are cross-country MTB'ing and road cycling, most people(both younger and older) think I'm a nut for doing hobbies that require you to break a sweat. Why workout, when you can be an obese tub of lard that survives on insulin and BP medications?

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37 minutes ago, William1 said:

My experience is that younger riders are less able to travel far and wide, thus they ride local. Old guys with time and money are able to get to the various massive wilderness areas and trail ride.

A lot of TT members are hard core trail riders and they ride in some amazing place on some brutal trails that only experience allows. Not about speed but 'making it' and finishing the day. Those that 'go for it' are not trail riders.

Being from the southeast (SC), I can say that this is true of 100% of the riders I know. I'm not sure if it is different in other places, but the older riders tend to take more big trips, while the younger riders prefer to stay within 2hr drive. I also think its primarily a regional occurrence. In the southeast, lots of people ride. However, 90% of riders would also be considered "redneck" or "country". These riders usually partake in an even mix of trail and mx riding, so there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of preference around me. 

This is also just my opinion, but I think out west in particular, dirtbikes blew up in the 90's and early 2000's from freestyle mx, video games, movies, and the overall culture of skaters, surfers, and mx racers being the "cool" guys. Now that just isn't the case for the most part, and dirbiking is more of just another sport or hobby. So now that the "cool kids" are focused on fitness, fashion, memes, and gaming, the die-hard fans of dirtbikes (and their kids) are what's left of the riders. I don't think the trail-riding movement is dying, it just lost the popularity it once had because it's not in the public eye... And because it costs so freakin much. 

Also, out west a lot of riding land is being lost to both corporate expansion, and militant conservation. That sort of land grabbing isn't as extreme in the east because most of the land is now privately owned. Lot's of western states have a ton of national and state owned land that keeps getting bought by companies or completely set aside as a 1000+ acre habitat for some endangered possum or something. That land loss contributes to lack of available trails, which pushes younger riders to the track. 

And you hitting jumps on the track looks cooler than a 30min gopro shot of you weaving through trees. 

All that to say the sport is very much alive amongst riders under 30 in the southeast, including me, who is scared to leave the ground more than 2ft on my bike.

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They scared. No whimper snapper wants to get shown up by no old timer lol. Last younger person I rode with was on a kx250 and I literally had to push him up the trail or ride a minute and wait ride a minute and wait. Dont get me wrong cause I'm pretty slow by probably most in heres standards but it seems like every younger person iv rode with is even slower than me. Not to mention skill level, iv noticed that younger ppl dont get a kick out of technical stuff like I do and opt to ride around where I try to figure out how to go over it even if it takes 50 11 tries and 2 hrs to do it. They just wanna wheelie and talk about mods and pokemon go where I wanna ride ride ride.  Least that's my take on it anyway. 

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Posted (edited)

I think a lot of it has to do with the economics and logistics of it. Its an expensive sport. The bike itself, the gear, supplies, tools etc. Even if someone goes the budget and cheap route it can still get expensive fast. The next sticking point, and in my opinion and the biggest one nowadays, is the logistics of storing a bike, having a workspace, transporting the bike etc. A lot of places nowadays are very expensive to live, things like houses are almost out of the question for a lot of people. Which makes having a place to even store a bike a challenge. Most people also don't have trucks nor can afford them so thats an added problem of getting the bike around. Then depending where you live the riding areas may be non-existent or require a multi-hour drive to get to which means fewer young people are exposed to even seeing someone ride a dirt bike, and getting some place to ride can be a chore.

I think in the past a lot of these issues were non-existent, most families could easily afford houses with normal middle class incomes, families could easily afford multiple vehicles (ie trucks), the "country" was just a few miles away and communities were more laid back so you could even just ride from your house to the riding area if you wanted to, and riding areas were more visible and abundant.  Which just means less people do it which makes even less people want to spend $$$ on what can amount to a "solo" activity. 

 

Personally it took me to my 30s to get to the point where the stars conveniently aligned and even then it took some focused decisions for me to make it happen. Before that I raced BMX and did Freestyle BMX (mini-ramp, vert ramp) for 2 decades, mainly because dirt biking wasn't feasible. 

From the short time Ive been on TT I feel like I see a lot of other people getting into the sport in their 30s for the same reasons.

 

When I moved to the southwest I expected to run into more people (of any age) on the trails but its a rare event. At least outside of the people that ride in the 1/2 mile around the popular staging areas. I might run into 1-2 people a month lol.

Edited by 2WheelsOffroad
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9 minutes ago, Timmae said:

I would bet money that if you ask a group of ten 12 year old kids if they could have a dirt bike or a cell phone.  9 out of 10 would say cell phone.

Guaranteed 

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I agree with the bike cost keeping the young guys out of the sport. If they can afford a used bike would you trust it to get you even ten miles out and back? LOL

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heres a few pictures of my son at 9 on his little ttr125 and then a picture of him at 11 on his crf 230f at dishpan springs (southern California) hes now 16 and sponsored by Fox, CTI, old bones therapy, liquinox and ktm of beverly hills.... 

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My observation in Southern Missouri...

2 guys in the ages between 40-60 for every 1 guy ages 10-40 are riding.

I stopped riding at the age of 26 due to moving away, lack of riding areas and riding buddies.

moved back to my hometown in my mid 40s.  My three riding buddies growing up all bought bikes within a month when they heard I was moving into town and keeping my bike.  I have 12 riding buddies all ages40-55.  They have 4 kids ages 15-20 that are riding.  My son rode when he was 10 but now only plays basketball.  Hopefully he will come around again. 

My opinion is what everyone else is saying.  In the 20’s it seems like a lack of money and time, having young kids, etc hinders a lot of people from riding.  When income is higher, kids are older, the chances are better that you’ll come back.

 

There definitely aren’t enough public riding areas where I’m at that will develop younger / inexperienced riders.  

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I’m 18 and I would agree that younger kids don’t go to many pay and ride trail areas. Most kids around here ride from there house or to another place they can ride for free. There’s enough places around me (SW PA) that you don’t pay and people don’t really care if you ride there. Besides those places most kids go to tracks. 

I wasn’t around in the 70s-90s or whenever you claim “the good days” were  to really see how many people ride but there’s one other kid in my grade from my school who rode. Other kids are either too lazy to do anything or play school sports where they can get attention for it and a lot think they need to do as many sports as possible for their resume to apply to college. 

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Posted (edited)

Video games, Doritos & Red bull.

Millennials on Track to be Most Obese Generation in History

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-labels-and-instagram-fuel-obesity#Technology-makes-a-surge

“We don’t want to put up with their temper tantrums or them inconveniencing our meal, so we throw the iPad in their face. From a young age they are given things that make them sit there, be silent, watch a screen and really encourage being sedentary,”

Edited by Drummer Rob
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