Raising Confident, Capable Humans

Mountain biking with kids Lazer ambassador Erich Leidums

3 Tips For Teaching Your Kids How To Bike

By Erich Leidums @ThatMountainLife


Mountain biking fosters confidence. All sports do this. I want my kids to have confidence. I think most parents want that.

I am referring towards a type of healthy, soulful confidence that includes a level of self-awareness and a humility that embraces challenges, failure and adversity.

This type of confidence doesn’t guarantee success, nor does it exempt one from failure. This confidence isn’t about ego and it doesn’t involve comparing yourself to others. This type of confidence involves a mindset and fosters the character traits associated with grit, perseverance and consistency. It’s about having a healthy relationship with self and it’s transferable to every area in life.

Mountain biking with kids lazer ambassador Erich Leidums

Mountain biking has been one of the best activities that fosters this kind of confidence in our children. As a family of five, living in the Canadian Rocky Mountains we have been riding bikes with our three children shortly after they could walk. With the culture of run/balance bikes it is absolutely incredible how young kids can get going on two wheels and enjoying rides together has become a core spring, summer and fall activity.

Here’s a YouTube video showcasing some of the best moments from our 2023 biking season:

Our kids are ages 10, 8 and 5 years old and it’s amazing to see them level up each season. None of kids are competing or pushing the limits of the sport, but we all just like to ride!

Here are three tips to keep in mind when starting to ride with young kids:

Make It a Habit - Micro Outings

Mountain biking with kids Erich Leidums lazer ambassador

Bike regularly.

If they’re young and just starting out (2-5 yeas old) it can be as little as 5-10 min/day. Get on your bike. Kids absorb what they see their parents doing.  Go around the block or find a short section of a bike trail. I think as adults it’s easy to underestimate the power of what showing up just a few minutes a day can do - especially for a toddler or a young child.

The length of the ride obviously increases with age and ability but it is incredible how much children intrinsically progress through repetition and consistency. We all know logging miles at any activity is how we develop and improve, but at young ages those miles are built through micro outings.  Showing up regularly and prioritizing this time together shows our kids that we value spending time with them and we value being active, outside and moving our bodies together. If your child is naturally more timid or cautious, short, micro bike rides will help build confidence.

Here’s our 5 year old daughter starting to really champion her own mountain bike rides:


Choose The Right Terrain

You have to choose the right trail, path, road - everything. 

If early on in your child’s bike outings they experience too much uncertainty, challenges or fear - it can turn them off. As a dad I am huge fan of helping my children “book wins.” Booking a win is simply having a successful, fun ride. In the realm of sports psychology there is often a reference to the “Flow State.” This is a concept describing a state of being for athletes where

 Flow Chart

As the parents, it is on us to lead the bike rides to be on appropriate terrain. Sometimes that may look like visiting the same pump track or trail over and over again. Only after many weeks or months do we then attempt something new, different or challenging. Over 95% of the time, I want my kids time on the saddle to be comfortable and have them increasing their speed or skills on terrain that’s appropriate for their abilities. Only after booking multiple, consecutive wins do we venture off and find a ride that takes them to the edge of their abilities.

Keep It Fun

It doesn’t matter if it’s baseball, skiing or biking. When I am coaching or teaching any sport to any child - I want that child to associate having a good time with said activity. Every adult intuitively knows that if a child is having fun, they are going to want to keep coming back for more. Unfortunately, it is easy as an adult to become hyper focussed on skills, technique or pushing a kid too far too fast which inevitably loses sight of how important it is to be having fun.

When a child’s having fun when biking, they are in uptake mode. Their state of flow allows them to operate in a state of confidence and the progression will happen organically.

How to mountain bike with your kids Lazer ambassador Erich Leidums

In this reel, our daughter is riding one of her favourite sections of trail. Its relatively flat, it has a beautiful view of the mountains.  We started “racing” when it wasnt busy. We would ride this section on repeat when she was 3 and 4 years old.


How We Started

Go often, choose the right terrain and keep it fun. That is the recipe that supersedes any teaching of any technical skills. I see biking as very intuitive sport and believe that no matter the temperament of the child, if you follow those three ingredients, kids will learn to gain the abilities and confidence required for biking. 

At around the age of 16-18 months, our kids had access to a tiny balance bike inside the house. Between 18-22 months we had our kids riding “shotgun” upfront on mellow rides on our adult bikes. They were also now riding a larger 12 inch wheel run bike on their own. Between the ages of 2.5-3 years of age, all 3 of our kids were pedal biking on their own without the use of training wheels. I can’t say enough good things about balance bikes.

Mountain biking with kids Lazer ambassador Erich Leidums

Age 4 is the last year I would have a kid riding on my bike. To be clear, we would mountain bike more often with our kids on their own bikes. We loved having them upfront on ours bikes as I believe they picked up things like line section and control. You can see how much fun it is here:


If you’re reading this and you have any burning questions about riding bikes with kids do not hesitate to reach out. Sending me a DM on Instagram is the best way to connect. I truly wish all kids and parents can experience the joy of riding bikes together.


Happy Trails,

Erich Leidums
That Mountain Life - Content Creator

Related Products