It’s great to be a kid!
Best rides for kids:
The pump track and bike park at Lunch Loop, along with Kid’s Meal and Hop, Skip and a Jump. While trails at Lunch Loop tend to be rockier than most, we’ve seen plenty of kids enjoying themselves out there. The pump track is perfect for kids practicing on their balance bikes and the beginner trails here provide signs and tips for riding. There are easy, intermediate and advanced options in some sections of Kid’s Meal which allow for a fun ride here for members of the whole family.
Rustler’s Loop, Kokopelli Trail area
Rustler’s Loop is a classic ride and a great one for kids who can endure a full 3 miles of riding. The trail has a few mild areas of exposure, but for the most part kids can enjoy pedaling along high above the Colorado River. Like Kid’s Meal, there are signs throughout the ride here providing tips and information on how to ride particular sections of trail.
Kessel Run or Vegetarian, 18 Road
Quite often when riding at 18 Road during the spring and fall, we’ll come upon a group of kids led by one or two brave adults. While the upper part of the trail does have some tight twists and turns, lower Kessel is mostly smooth and flowing. So many kids end this ride with big grins on their faces! Vegetarian can be found by riding down the hill towards Prime Cut. Instead of turning left, continue straight over or around the cow pond. Vegetarian is an almost flat section of singletrack, perfect for practicing riding on a narrow strip of dirt. Once riders make it to the top, the ride back down can be pretty fast!
Area Bike Parks
Along with the bike park at Lunch Loop, there are also bike parks in Fruita, off of Hwy 340 across from the James M. Robb State Park, and in Palisade at the eastern end of Riverside Park.
Grand Valley Youth Cycling:
GVYC has been supporting and developing high school mountain bike teams in the Fruita, Grand Junction and Palisade areas since 2011. Last year they started a middle school weekly group ride. The riding season has historically been in the fall to coincide with the Colorado High School Cycling League racing season. In 2016 the group is looking forward to increased growth and ridership from all the valley high schools and growing the middle school weekly ride program. GVYC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to empower youth through cycling by supporting the interscholastic teams and using the bicycle as a vehicle for lessons in goal setting, achievement, health, fitness, and environmental awareness through the development of practical skills and the simple act of having fun. Visit http://www.grandvalleymtb.com for more information!
Tips for having a great bike ride with your kids:
1. Always have plenty of snacks.
2. Choose a ride suitable for their age and abilities. The ones listed above, along with the Spanish Trail or Highline Lake trail are good beginner options.
3. An appropriately sized bike can make a big difference in comfort (this is a tip for all ages!).
4. Always be encouraging.
5. Be in the moment. That look on your child’s face after conquering an obstacle? Priceless.
6. Volunteer! We’ve seen plenty of kids volunteering to help reclaim old trails or build new ones. It’s never too early to help kids appreciate the fulfillment of volunteering on a trail project.