Pro mountain biker Aaron Chase is here to teach us all a thing or two about raising rippers. In the latest drop from GoPro, Chase passes the two-wheeled torch to his son, Bode, and his nephew, Finn. The result is two-and-a-half hilarious minutes of POV adventure on pump tracks and downhill runs from the eyes of a three-year-old. If Bode and Finn continue to be all in on the trails, someday this video — where they tell the camera that it’s time to go “to the mownton” — could be the first addition to a pro highlight reel. “These kids are only three years old but those bikes have opened their world and allowed them to be independent and adventurous,” Chase says. “And they had a blast that day.”
In the video, the duo take their Strider bikes to the Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield, New Hampshire, for a day out on the cross-country trails. According to Chase, it was the first of its kind, with park areas designated specifically for kids who want to ride, a truck shuttle to different trail accesses, and a chair lift that drops riders off at the start of easy lines on the mountain. That makes it simple for parents who want to bring their little ones along for a day out on two wheels.
“Parents are allowed to be young and cool and get on with the things that they love in their lives, and in this case, that means you can get your kids involved in biking and everyone gets to enjoy it together all summer,” says Chase. “It’s fun to show them the ropes and relive your passion for a sport through teaching them to love it.”
The International Mountain Bicycling Association is also on board when it comes to encouraging kids to try the sport out. It's all about listening to your child's individual needs and appropriately gauging their skill level. A three-year-old could be more advanced than a six-year-old, but both require a parent's attention to make sure they have the proper gear to stay safe. The IMBA released a guide called "Take a Kid Mountain Biking," which states that there is no one-size-fits-all answer when choosing the right time to teach a kid to ride a bike. "Learning to ride a bike should be the kid’s idea," the guide states. "The more excited kids are to learn, the easier it will be to teach them. Some kids are eager to learn early, while others may take a little longer to get comfortable with the idea. Only you and your child will know when the time is right."
And for Bode Chase, it was never too early to learn to love hitting the trails. By the time Bode was two, he was riding a bike with no training wheels. He learned to walk by holding on to the handlebars with his Strider bike in between his legs. And now, he has moved on to riding a Lil Shredder downhill bike with hand brakes.
It’s all about balancing the safety of his kids while encouraging them to learn and have fun outdoors. “Bikes are so specific these days — there is an option for every kid at every age,” Chase says. “There are downhill bikes with full suspension and disc brakes, and there are bikes with remote control kill switches in case your kid gets crazy and starts to ride toward the bushes. I just look and find the right equipment so I can teach my kids while they’re young so someday if they want to do bigger stuff, they’ve already taken the small steps to get there.”
As Chase points out, learning about the outdoors is just as important as learning your ABCs and 123s. “There’s a lot of benefit in teaching your kids to get out in the woods. They’re burning energy and have an outlet to learn about the rawness of nature. Mountain biking is just as good as swimming or hiking when it comes to finding a perfect activity to get your kids outdoors.”
But what about the crashes? Chase, who himself has suffered severe injuries (he broke his L1 vertebrae in 2007), understands the fine line between being adventurous and managing risk. “It’s a tough balance, but I always make sure my kids’ equipment is built right and fits right. I encourage them to just have fun on their bikes and don’t push them."
Whether the footage captures the first moments of their future pro careers, or just a hilarious family video that went viral, either way, it’s “going to be a priceless moment for later in life when they have cars and girlfriends,” Chase says.
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