woom bikes are designed to go far beyond the boundaries of asphalt and concrete. Off-road riding is a fun way to change up routines, add entertaining scenery, and get out into nature. It’s also a way to improve bike handling skills, increasing young riders’ safety and confidence anywhere they want to ride—whether it’s on or off the pavement.
When to go
You can begin taking kids out on the trail on the woom 1 or woom 1 Plus balance bikes, but woom 2 riders are at an especially good stage to gradually introduce dirt and gravel surfaces.
Where to Start
Gravel park roads and jeep tracks, crushed granite running paths, and smooth singletrack trails are all great intro experiences for riders new to off-road riding.
What’s Different About Off-Road
On gravel and other loose surfaces, braking and turning require greater caution. Explain to your child that the bike will feel different and sometimes act differently on gravel and dirt; movements and actions must be slower and more controlled to prevent sliding. It’s best to start at slow speeds and even grades until your child is comfortable with the new setting.
Teach your child to stay on the trail as much as possible. This helps avoid punctures while also imparting the lesson of good trail stewardship. Bonus: if there’s poison ivy around, your child won’t be the one to find it!
Ways to Make It Fun
Turn an off-road ride into an opportunity for exploration; let your child lead and pick which way to turn. Stop to check out cool bugs and pretty views. Kids will also enjoy a special waypoint or end destination like a park, swimming hole, climbing tree, or picnic.
Kids love learning by doing—as you guide experiments with off-road riding, tackle new challenges and teach new skills (the opportunities are endless). Children also have a way of learning amazing techniques on their own, of course. They may even teach you a thing or two!
What to Bring
Since off-road riding can often take you miles away from the nearest water fountain or snack machine, pack plenty of food and water. Your child should be wearing a good-quality helmet, bike gloves, and closed-toe shoes. Other useful extras: smartphone, bug spray, sunscreen, bike bell, hydration pack, waterproof bag, baby wipes.
woom bikes don’t look as rugged as traditional mountain bikes, but they don’t need to. Young children are roughly a quarter of the size of adults, and what works best for them isn’t always the same. We’ve found, as with on-road use, that for young riders woom’s light weight and maneuverability make learning to ride on varied terrain much more successful. Features that add substantial weight, such as overly wide or grippy tires or low-quality suspension, can sometimes do more to hinder progress than support it.
woom 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 have Kenda Small Block 1.5" tires, a supple tire that offers good shock absorption, good rolling performance, and plenty of grip; these tires remain comfortable on pavement while also offering the ability to take on most types of off-road riding. Starting with the woom4, our first geared bike, we offer the option of a wider 1.95" tire. The key question to consider is the primary use of the bike: how often will your woom be on the trails? Will you also use it for commuting to and from school by road? Consider the pros and cons of increased width versus increased weight and a more durable but slower tire.
Tire pressure can make a big difference in comfort and handling when riding off-road. Tires should be set at a lower pressure that’s proportional to the child’s weight.
Happy trails to you and your family!
At woom bikes USA, we offer lightweight, high-quality woom bikes for children of all ages, starting at one and half and going up to 14-year-olds. View all of our bikes and accessories here.