Pedal Progression 'Little Rippers' - Mountain Biking for Kids in Bristol. - Pedal Progression


20 January 2017

Pedal Progression ‘Little Rippers’ – Mountain Biking for Kids in Bristol.

Our ‘Little Rippers’ rides are designed to get kids out on their bikes in the woods. To give them a taste of mountain biking and hopefully to plant the seed of a lifelong passion for the sport. We aim to coach young riders to become more confident and get maximum enjoyment from their experience. We also have young riders who want to take it to the next level, riding faster, jumping higher and maybe even getting prepared for competitions. Your child can join us for an Open Session or for the Fundamentals 5-week course, or even mix and match the two. Some kids may benefit from trying an Open Session before committing to the 5-week course, or vice versa, coming back to the Open Sessions once they have done the Fundamentals course to continue to practice their new skills. Read on to find out what both types of sessions have to offer and what may be best for your child…

We are excited to announce that for summer 2017 we will be offering a full holiday programs. Including courses for 7-10 year olds, 11-14 year olds, and loads of open sessions for 5-6 year olds. Scroll down for more details….

Scroll through for FAQs…

How does the Open Session work?

The Open Sessions are regular sessions open to all. Whether your child wants to come to one just to see what mountain biking is all about or come regularly to improve their skills and ride with their peers.  If you are unsure whether your child is ready, refer to the section FAQs below. Every session follows the same format, sessions are designed to be enjoyed by mountain bike beginners while also being challenging for more experienced riders.

We always start with a bike check and safety briefing. This gives the instructor a chance to make sure all participants have suitable, safe bikes and also gets the kids into good habits for the future. It also helps to reduce the risk of any accidents that can be caused by poor maintenance or mechanical malfunction.

Following this, we will get the riding underway on a flat, wide, soft trail which helps the kids to warm up, get to know each other and gives time for the instructor to begin to assess the ability of the individuals in the group. We will be looking for how well they are able to control the speed and direction of their bike – this isn’t a test, this about making sure we take the group on appropriate trails and work on the right skills.

We then progress to work on technique. The skills we work on differ in each session depending on what the instructor thinks will suit best. Working on mountain bike technique is just like any other sport – to get better takes practice, we often do this practice on grass, or easier, wider sections of fire road to perfect technique in a safe and controlled way before taking it to the trails. Working with mixed ability groups means that those who are less experienced can learn from the more experienced riders as well as the instructor. The more experienced riders can benefit from continued practice and feedback from the instructor whilst helping the others to learn by demonstrating good technique. Our key aim here is to create a positive group working environment where all participants are supported in their learning at the correct level. Because we keep the group deliberately small this can be done very effectively.

Finally, we will ride a fun section of trail. This gives a chance for the kids to apply their new technique and see how much of a difference their learning and practice has made.

If you like the sound of this and think your kids will too, for dates and booking  – Click Here

Read on to find out about the Fundamentals 5-Week course…..

Little Rippers Fundamentals 5 week Course. 

The fundamentals course is a fast track for kids to really start to get to grips with mountain bike technique quickly. It is run over 5 weeks with a focus on a specific skill every week. What makes it different to the Open Session is we are able to work together with a set group to coach the kids through a progressive syllabus. This leads to faster learning and very effective consolidation of skills. We are able to go into more depth with technique so the kids start to understand not just what to do but why they are doing it. This can really help when progressing to more advanced technique further down line. Getting the kids out every week also works to really build their stamina on the bike, resulting in an ability to ride further, for longer with less wasted energy. So if you are looking to get your child up to speed for a summer of family bike rides this could be just the thing.

The techniques covered are; braking, effective use of gears for speed and efficiency, body position, cornering, pumping, riding as a group and group management.

After the final session, we will award your child with a certificate for participation and a goody bag = smiles for miles!!

It is not essential that your child joins us for an Open Session before signing up to Fundamentals, but if they have no experience of mountain biking, it is advisable to make sure it will be something they enjoy before committing to the 5 weeks. Another option would be to take them for a quick spin round Ashton Court,  Leigh Woods trails – if they are less confident, get them on the fire roads rather than the proper mountain bike trails to begin with. Once your child has completed the Fundamentals course they are welcome and will benefit from joining us for further Open Sessions where they will be able to continue to practice and develop their technique.

We dont currently have a fundamentals 5-week course scheduled but fear not! We will be running fundamentals courses throughout the summer holidays – see below.

Did you know we also do Fundamentals courses for adults Click Here to find out more and book.

Little Rippers Holiday Club 2017

For summer 2017 we are offering something new! For the older age groups, 7-10s and 11-14s we will be offering longer (5 hour) sessions. This will give you time to drop them off and get (almost) a days work done whilst your kid gets out and active in woods! Your child can attend just one of these sessions and it will work as a stand-alone open session. Or they can add 2 sessions together to complete a full course. If your child completes a full course they will receive a certificate and a goody bag!

The syllabus for 7-10 will be the same as our 5 week fundamentals as described above. If you want them to complete the course you need to book them onto a fundamentals part one and part 2. Or if they cant make both, either part will make a super fun and valuable stand-alone session.

We tend to find the 11-14 year olds are slightly stronger riders and have aspirations to learn more advanced technique so we will be offering our jumps and drops syllabus, again in 2 parts. Book part one and part two for them to complete the course, or if they cant make both, either part will make a super fun and valuable stand-alone session. If your child is in this age group and keen to have a go but you unsure if they have enough experience just give us a call, or drop me an email

And we are adding more! The longer sessions for the older age groups gives us more time to cover some other new stuff. Over the last 2 years of running Little Rippers courses, we have found the kids often have a keen interest in how their bikes work. To reflect this we will be adding a short session on maintenance to the usual safety check and also a specific mechanical lesson. This will be either a lesson on puncture repair or a lesson on repairing and replacing a broken chain. Our aim here is to add variety to the session and also to start to prepare the next generation of riders to be able to be self-sufficient on the trail. It won’t be long before these kids are going to want to get out on their own and now is a great time to start to teach them the skills they need to repair their own bikes should the inevitable, broken bike a long way from home scenario eventually happen! We want to equip them with the skills to get home safely and quickly in this situation.

And don’t worry we haven’t forgotten about the 5-6-year-olds. We will have loads of open sessions. We won’t be running these for a longer period of time as don’t feel it right for this age group but we have increased the frequency through August. We are also open to running more of these if the first batch get booked up really quickly.

To book any of our summer sessions for this link to find the booking page with more details of times and dates.

A few F.A.Qs

How much experience of off road riding does my child need? – They do not need to have been mountain biking before but they should be able to ride confidently across grass and gravel without stabilisers, they should be able to sustain the momentum of their bike and feel in control of the speed. The most important thing is that they should have some understanding of what off-road riding is and have a desire to take part!

What kit do they need? – They will need their own bike which is functioning well. In the youngest age group the kids will have usually have single speed bikes. For the older age groups 7+, we recommend a bike with gears. Their bike does not need to be a mountain bike but should have some grip on the tires. A helmet is compulsory, gloves are highly recommended. Other pads (knee, elbow) can be used and will minimise injury if your child has an accident. We do have a small number of kids bikes and helmets available for hire – If you require hire please let us know at time of booking the sessions.

Can parents come along? – We do not have a strict policy on this. Although parents do not usually join us we are open to having them along if a child is too nervous to go alone – we would definitely rather they come with a parent than not at all! Most kids will be a bit nervous, especially the first time, but once we have done intro’s and warmed up they relax and enjoy the session. If you do want to join us please call to let us know before you book as we have limited sessions spaces to have parents along.

How do the age groups work? – We recognise that all kids are different. We have created age groups as a guide and to help us create appropriate length sessions. If your child has a lot of experience mountain biking it may be that they can ride with the older age group. If this is the first time for your child and they are at the lower end of the age group it may be worth signing them up for the younger group. If you have any questions on this and want to make a booking outside of the age guide please contact us first and we can give our recommendation.

Is mountain biking dangerous? – Like any cycling there is a risk of injury – we do everything we can to minimise the risk by ensuring that we keep the groups small, assess the ability of all riders in the group before taking them on mountain bike trails. We ensure that no pressure is put on any child by the instructor or other participants to try something they are not ready for. Our instructors are fully trained trail cycle leaders, have outdoor first aid qualifications and are enhanced DBS checked.

If you have ANY other question please drop us a line, or drop me an email:

Ollie Cain

Written by:

Ollie Cain