Ride a motorcycle: how to get your child on two wheels


Introducing youngsters to riding is a pretty exciting moment, not just for the children but also mum and dad too. MCM has put together a guide of the training available out there that gives your kids a proper taste of life on two wheels…

Words: Melanie Falconer

The normal route for youngsters to try out riding a bike for the first time is off-road. Trials, motocross and enduro options are all available, from try-out days to one-to-one expert tuition at kid-specific training schools at a variety of locations around the country. Parents can also get involved, be it riding alongside their child or offering encouragement from the sidelines. Tarmac wise, there’s also a few young rider track training schools too. Here’s MCM’s pick of what’s available:

Motocross Training

Geoff Mayes’ Try-Out Days

These popular days are run by former British MX champion Geoff Mayes and include expert tuition from Geoff and other ACU qualified instructors. The bikes used are all Kawasakis: for the youngsters there are KX65s and KX85s, depending on age.
The Junior days are normally held on Saturdays at WildTracks, a big off-road facility near Newmarket, Cambs, for kids aged seven and up and at least 4ft 2in tall. As long as they can ride a bicycle, they can take part. Two sessions are normally held per day and teach kids basic riding techniques, progressing onto a more challenging course with a variety of obstacles to tackle.
What’s included: All safety gear is provided, along with bikes, fuel and third party insurance cover.
Cost: Starts at £90 for one session
Contact: Mark Parker: (07747) 055253 or www.mxtryout.co.uk/ www.wildtracksltd.co.uk

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Washbrook Farm Try-Out Days
This well-known motocross track based in Doddington March, Cambs, offers youngsters aged 6-16 years old with no previous riding experience the chance to try out motocross in a safe, supervised environment with ACU coaches. Bikes used are Yamaha PW50s, Honda CRF 50s, Yamaha TTR125s and Honda CRF100s.
Once the basics have been mastered, kids will have the opportunity to try out the oval and junior tracks: the oval is flat and simple to ride, ideal for the smallest riders while the junior track has small berms and jumps to try out. Available Saturdays (and Wednesdays when open) through the year from 11am till 4pm.
What’s included: All safety equipment, bikes, fuel, tuition
Cost: £75 for the day
Contact: 01354 740442 / www.washbrookfarmmx.co.uk/tryout

Chiltern Young Riders Motocross Courses
Chiltern Young Riders is the only motocross school in the country focusing on children from the age of four years old. Based in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, CYR teach on an hour per child basis Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 3pm and each course consists of four, one-hour lessons. CYR have successfully operated every weekend for 21 years and have taught in excess of 13,000 children. Bikes used are Yamaha PW50s for four – six year olds, Jianshe JS80PYs for novice riders of six-plus years and Kawasaki KX60/65s for intermediate riders 6-12 years old. Kids learn to ride on a purpose-designed motocross track with a flavour of a supercross circuit, which includes three different sections for different skill levels.
What’s included: Bikes, all safety gear, fuel, tuition, public liability insurance
Cost: £145 per course
Contact: 01494 728618 / 07957 200471 or www.cyr.org.uk

Newham Docklands Motorcycle Project
The NDMP in East London is a registered charity originally set up to provide training and recreational activity to disadvantaged children in Newham. Their off-road riding experience offers youth training from six – 17 years old on their purpose-built supercross training track, from one-to-one tuition up to groups of six. There are two sessions on Saturdays, running from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 1pm till 4pm. The track is about half a kilometre long and has a few jumps and tabletops. Training is delivered by ACU qualified coaches.
What’s included: Bikes, safety gear, fuel, tuition
Cost: Varies, please call
Contact: 020 7473 4434 or www.ndmp.org.uk (click the motocross training sessions tab under facilities)

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Tony Moto Motocross Park Experience Days
Set in 40 acres of countryside near Winchester, Hampshire, Tony Moto offers three purpose-built tracks for the beginner through to the expert rider. Their experience days are available for kids aged six years and up, with a full day’s instruction available from 9am–3.30pm. Junior bikes used are Yamahas – either PW50cc autos, PW80cc semi-autos or TTR125s depending on age. The aim is to enable children to try out the sport of motocross at their own pace and in an enjoyable environment. Also available is a trials arena that caters for youth riders of all abilities.
What’s included: The bike, all required off-road kit, fuel, and tuition.
Cost: £150 for the full day
Contact: 01962 882005 / 07729 827981 or www.tonymoto.co.uk

Wheeldon Off-Road Centre Junior Training Academy

Located in the South Hams in Devon, the Wheeldon Off Road Junior Training Academy offers ACU accredited motocross training courses designed specifically for children from seven years old. Training starts with an appraisal so subsequent training can be adjusted to suit individual needs. The Academy runs every Tuesday and Thursday during the school holidays, offering morning, afternoon or full day sessions. The children use the purpose-built junior track and the 30,000sq ft main indoor arena.
What’s included: Bikes, all safety gear, fuel, tuition
Cost: £70 per session
Contact: 01548 821784 / www.wheeldontwo.co.uk

Enduro/trail Training

Yamaha Off-Road Experience
Based in the beautiful countryside around Llanidloes in mid Wales, this established and well-known enduro school offers two-hour junior / beginner try-out sessions. Aimed at children from eight years up, the range of learner bikes used are Yamaha PW 50, PW 80, RT 100, TTR 90, TTR 125 and DT125s, depending on age and ability. Three sessions are run: 9-11am, 1-3pm and 5-7pm daily and can normally be booked at short notice. Instructors include 10-times British enduro champion Geraint Jones and his sons, Dylan and Rowan, who also have both competed internationally in enduro and have all taught for many years.
What’s included: Bikes, all safety gear and riding kit, fuel, tuition, public liability insurance
Cost: Varies, please call
Contact: 01686 413324 / www.yamaha-offroad-experience.co.uk

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90-One Education
A leading provider of school-based road safety education, their new off-road training facility in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire offers youngsters aged 14 and up the chance to get a qualification whilst learning to ride too. Each course is 12 two-hour sessions, either weekly or in one block of four to five days and aims to provide a thorough introduction to off-road riding using ACU instructors. They start on a Saturday and run during school holidays. Riders start with the basics and progress at their own pace – maximum number of riders on a course is eight.
What’s included: Bikes, all safety gear, fuel, tuition, public liability insurance
Cost: Varies – please call to discuss
Contact: 01604 626291 / www.90-one.com

Rieju Ride A Trail
Located in the heart of Devon, Ride A Trail not only offers trail riding for adults but also has a 200-acre private land site that includes open fields, tracks, woodlands and quarries. This is perfect for teenagers who haven’t undergone their CBT and for complete beginners to learn how to ride off-road safely. Bikes offered include brand new Rieju MRT 50, 125 and 200s. In addition, a separate area is set aside just for children to learn on semi-automatic small capacity machines. An ideal day out for all the family.
What’s included: Bikes, all safety gear, fuel, tuition
Cost: Varies, please call
Contact: 07736 164705 / 07725 572804 or www.rideatrail.com

Immingham Motorcycle Project
IMP in Lincolnshire is an off-road training track, open to anyone age five years and over, offering training with qualified coaches and working with the local authority, including local schools, police and the local community. From November – March (different times available April – October) the centre is open at the weekends to the public during term time and also during the week in school holidays. School groups are welcome four days a week during term time. Disabled youngsters are also welcome.
What’s included: Bikes, fuel, tuition
Cost: £10 for a one-hour session, plus £5 for all safety gear hire
Contact: 01469 573899 / www.imminghammotorcycleproject.club.officelive.com

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Electric Bike Training

Oset Electric Bikes
These mini electric trials bikes have riders as young as two and a half years old riding them. There are two bike sizes available: a 12.5in wheel bike for two-five year olds and a 16in wheel bike for 5-10 year olds. Each bike has fully adjustable speed dials, suspension and handlebars. The bikes can run on a single battery pack for over two hours of normal stop-start riding and can be switched to a backup pack in about a minute. Designed and engineered in the USA, these are non-intimidating, silent, with no hot engine/exhaust parts to worry about, plus a full cover chain guard. Can be ridden pretty much anywhere.
Cost: Varies depending on model chosen – please call
Contact: 0843 289 2890 or www.osetbikes.co.uk

Little Bikers UK
Based near Reading in Berkshire, Little Bikers offer children aged five
to ten years of age the chance to ride an electric motorbike. Lessons take kids through learning to ride bike safely, conquer obstacles and progress onto stand-up riding, riding over ramps, wheelies and bunny hops. The speed of the bike is controlled at all times by the qualified instructors and one-off trial lessons plus birthday parties are available too. Open Saturdays during term time, lessons last 45 minutes.
What’s included: Bike, training, full safety gear, public liability insurance
Cost: £15 per trial lesson
Contact: 07879 552000 / 0118 9462748 or www.littlebikersuk.com

Trials Training

BUMPY (Birstall Urban Motorcycle Project for Youth)
A nine-acre trials park in Birstall, West Yorkshire provides off-road riding lessons for children aged six – 16 at weekends and school holidays. The training progresses children, starting with the basics on tarmac training areas, before moving onto the beginner, intermediate and expert areas of the trials park. Bronze, silver and gold awards in off-road riding are offered and trained instructors
will help kids throughout. Open seven days a week depending on time of year and weather conditions.
What’s included: Bikes, fuel, tuition, safety gear
Cost: £25 per person per hour, £20 for each additional person
up to a maximum three people per group.
Contact: 01924 470432 / www.bumpy.org.uk

Saunders Extreme Sport Trials Try-Outs

Ten-times British trials champion Steve Saunders runs trials schools for all abilities across the country and has been doing so for 15 years. He also offers try-out sessions with full tuition for children aged five years and up using electric Oset bikes. These bikes are fully adjustable on the power delivery so the bikes can be tuned for each individual child. Helmets, gloves boots are also available to hire. Once youngsters can ride competently, the Oset bikes are also available to hire to ride at trials venues.
What’s included: Bikes, fuel, tuition, safety gear (to hire)
Cost: Varies according to number of hours you wish to book
Contact: 07973 632786 / www.saundersextremesports.co.uk

Track Training

Mick Boddice Track Training School
Based in Darley Moor near Ashbourne in Derbyshire, this track training school is for young riders aged from 11-17 years old who want to try riding a Honda CBR 125R properly in a track environment. This course isn’t for beginners: all riders must
pass a basic competence riding test before commencing the track day. On-track sessions deals with steering, how to make a bike turn quickly, brake smoothly and safely, and correct race safety protocols. Laps are supervised and feedback comes from the team of ACU qualified road race instructors. Days are from 9.15am – 4.00pm and only four places are normally available.
What’s included: Bikes, fuel, tuition, one-piece leathers, gloves, boots and helmet
Cost: £250 per day
Contact: 01562 751770 / 07966 514747 www.boddicedarleytraining.co.uk

Silverstone Rookie Ride Experience
The new course for junior riders at Silverstone aims to introduce teens to motorbikes for the first time. Teenagers aged 13 years and upwards ride 50cc Yamahas and learn from fully qualified instructors during the day’s training. It starts with a comprehensive safety briefing, progressing onto learning the riding basics, ranging from fundamental controls and stopping safely, to navigating a simple course layout. Riders will then try out a more advanced course under continuous supervision from their instructor.
What’s included: Bike, fuel, coaching, full safety gear
Cost: £50 Rookie Super Choice Voucher (Christmas offer)
Contact: 0844 3728 270 or www.silverstone.co.uk

UPCOMING SHOWS (with young rider experiences)

The Carole Nash Motorcycle Live show runs at the NEC in Birmingham 27 Nov–5 Dec and features Honda’s ever-popular ‘My First Licence’ (from 5-11 years old) and the Suzuki Off-Road Experience try-out sessions for rider aged six and over on DR-Z70 or DR-Z125 machines. Yamaha will also be there with its indoor and outdoor Off-Road Experiences.
Contact: www.motorcyclelive.co.uk for more info/book tickets

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