Eco-friendly Dirt Bike or ATV Trail Riding with the Kids
In my experience, as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate more and more the tranquility of hiking, and the exercise benefits it provides. Kids, on the other hand, have much less patience for taking a stroll through the woods: they get tired, they got hot, and they complain. This is only natural.
A great compromise, I’ve discovered - as soon as I had kids that were old enough to participate - is ATV or dirtbike trail riding. (Well, I can’t really call it a compromise, because I love it too).
Regardless, trail riding has become one of our family’s favorite outdoor activities throughout the warmer months, and we’ve traveled to nearly every nook and cranny of Wisconsin checking out different trails.
The kids love it, and it’s easy to understand why: they’re not walking, so they don’t complain about being bored or getting tired. More importantly, having their own dirtbike or ATV really gives them a sense of freedom and responsibility. This is important when trying to get your kids interested in the outdoors, as you don’t want them to feel as though you’re simply dragging them along on something that you want to do.
A major thing to consider when thinking about getting your kids into ATV riding, is not spoiling them. I know several parents who have gone out and spent thousands on top-of-the-line dirtbikes and quads for their 12, 10, or even 8 year old kids.
In my opinion, there’s no need for that.
Another major concern, at least for folks like myself who attempt to be eco-conscious, is pollution.
Granted, the amount of pollution created by gas-powered ATVs and dirtbikes is negligible when compared to automobiles, but it’s a concern nonetheless. Personally, I see just a little bit of fraud in the sense of riding along an ATV trail, enjoying nature, while burning gasoline and giving off carbon monoxide.
Fortunately, there’s a way to get around the concerns of both cost and pollution: go electric.
Because of their ease-of-use, safety, and limited capacities for speed, electric dirtbikes and ATVs are a great option for younger children, from ages 5 to 14 or so.
Once my oldest son had gotten to the age where he began complaining about hiking (pretty much as soon as he could walk!), I considered the idea of getting him a small ATV or dirtbike as a major Christmas or birthday gift.
I had been into trail riding before having kids, and I figured it might be a good option and generate excitement about wanting to get outdoors and hit the trails with me, without having to hike.
For him, I settled on the Razor SX500 McGrath edition electric dirtbike. Online SX500 reviews will show that it really is a well-made product, and with a top speed of around 15mph, it is a thrill for any kid up to about 14 years old.
The authenticity of this bike is really what will make it special and exciting for your child – its steel frame, front and rear disc brakes, chain-driven motor, and twist throttle really gives the feel of an authentic, fully-powered gas dirtbike.
Not to mention, the frame design and geometry, as well as the large tires and appropriate wheelbase, make the bike a true performer out on real trails: it can climb, hop, and ride over rocks and rough terrain surprisingly well.
Of course, once I made the decision and bought the bike for my oldest boy, I had to consider getting one for his younger brother as well.
After talking with a friend who had bought one for his son, I decided on a Razor Dirt Quad for the younger one. (This is the same Razor company that became so popular in the scooter market).
This four-wheeler is better suited for younger riders, with a top speed of only around 10mph.
It doesn’t perform quite as well as the SX500 dirtbike, but for a small quad made for a young child (ages 6+), I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to. Not to mention, I don’t particularly want my 8 year old flying through the trail at 20mph on a full-performance quad.
With both the dirtbike and the quad at a price of right around $500, they’re a relatively substantial expense in regards to a gift for your kid, but if it gets them excited about hitting the trails and being outdoors, and it means we all get to be out there together, then I’m all for it.
Not to mention, you can have a clear conscious about not polluting or single-handedly destroying the forest while you’re riding through. ;)
~ Mr. General