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Teach your kid to ride!

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Enjoying my 2nd childhood on my WR400, being 45 (actually 53, but hey! Its my 2nd childhood!) I decide to buy my 6 year old granddaughter who I am raising a PW50. I have dreams of my little family ridding in the woods together. The first time she rides it she crashes because the throttle sticks. She winds up in the bushes, not hurt but scared of the bike. After I fix the throttle I take her around to different parking lots and have her do a few laps. She really does not want to ride but I make her wondering all the time if I am doing the right thing. In the beginning she usually cries a little and asks how many laps do I have to do? I usually ask for 2 to 5. If she was wailing or putting up huge resistance I would not make her ride but it seems to be a small problem and not to bad. It seems to be about the same as when I was teaching her to ride her bicycle without training wheels. This motorcycle has the training wheels attached. The first thing I taught her was to go a few feet and stop. We must have done that 20 or thirty times. She putts along for 5 feet, puts on the brake, goes another 5 feet, puts on the brake never really ridding the bike. I try to get her to keep the bike rolling but she is somewhat scared of it. She has ridden about 7 times. Sunday I try a new tactic and bring her girlfriend who is very aggressive, rides her street bike about 40MPH and I figure she will get on the PW50 and tear it up. First I put Meranda (my granddaughter) on the bike and I have to make her do a lap. She sputters around while I am walking beside the bike and coaching her to keep the throttle on and the bike moving. On the second lap she is keeping the bike moving pretty good and on the third lap I am screaming for her to slow down in the turns because I think she is going to fast. She is able to brake and slow the bike down and on the fourth lap she opens the throttle up, moves her body forward in the attack position and waves while she fly’s by. Now she won’t get off the bike. Finally we let her girlfriend ride it but she is not having much fun going 5 feet and stopping. I guess you never know when your kid is going to have that breakthrough and overcome fear. She asks everyday now, “When can we ride, Grandpa? God, love um!

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That's how it happens, Levy. They don't really improve in increments, it is more like sudden leaps (sometimes literally). Nothing helps more than letting them ride with faster kids, either.

My buddy has a nice mile-long practice track. Every time he builds bigger, badder jumps, the boys get together and GO FOR IT! Won't attempt it on their own, but in the presence of peers MUST be the conquering hero... :D Of course, WE have all outgrown that, haven't we? :D

Each fall for the past 4 years, my oldest suddenly "cranks it up" several notches all at once. The downside is that Loretta's is already history, but it still feels good. He struggled in a tight battle the first dozen races of the year, but has come on strong to win the last 15 hands down.

He is very different to coach than lil' bro. Sky needs his lessons bitter and UN-sugarcoated. Hard crashes and defeats motivate him and prompt him to listen to the old man; not accolades and trophies. Little brother gets a little gun-shy after a hard crash and he needs positive encouragement as opposed to honest criticism. The biggest hurdle is convincing a young rider that "TOO slow" makes mud, sand, ruts, hills and jumps far HARDER to do. Armor the heck out of 'em, and let them crash a few times in some soft stuff if possible. Make them hop right back on rather than give them time to cry about it. They soon realize "Hey, that didn't even hurt!" MAKE SURE MOM IS NOT PRESENT TO BABY THEM!!! 🙂

Give them small challenges: I used to put my hat beyond a jump in our yard and challenge Skyman to clear it: "Better not leave knobby tracks on my favorite hat!". This took his mind off the fear of the jump and would soon have him giggling in mid-air as he proceeded to trash my ever-farther chrome-dome cover! He, of course, aimed for it!

By the end of session, he couldn't believe how far he was jumping. Hadn't noticed. Little victories...

Keep up the good work with the kids!

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Related funny story: (sorry ,Levy, kids' riding is my favorite subject!)

Having started racing before he entered kindegarten, my oldest was pretty small. You couldn't really tell if he was standing on the pegs or sitting...

As I mentioned, we worked hard on jumping. After our first session, he was very proud of his progress, but had to confess in a whisper that it "really hurt his penis when he landed..." :D

I had bought him everything I could think of in the way of protection already, and he very proudly told his classmates as he demonstrated it all during show-and-tell that his Kevlar gear made him "Bullet-proof like cops and Superman".

But I had forgotten the family jewels!! For shame, Dad! 🙂

I stopped at the sporting goods store the next day and was amazed to actually find little tiny padded jock straps. I got home and my wife was entertaining guests, so I took him upstairs to show him how to put it on. "COOL, Dad!" I returned to living room leaving him to put his clothes back on.

A couple minutes later, he appears in living room wearing nothing but that little jock. "I am TOTALLY bulletproof now, Mom. Go ahead, hit me right here, hard as you can! It won't hurt a bit! C'mon, Mom! Do it! I wanna show ya!" he pleads.

Now Mom is usually a really good sport about humoring her childrens' requests, but "drew the line at slugging him in the...the...well, YOU know!"

Of course, a very disappointed Sky couldn't figure out why all these women (and Dad) were cracking up so bad as Mom retreated, red-faced, to the kitchen. :D

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