Motorcycle Feature

10 Things to consider when enrolling children in a riding clinic

Rule No. 2: Parents must not freak out when their kid falls from the bike
PHOTO: MX Messiah Fairgrounds

You might have already heard about the MX Messiah Fairgrounds (MMF), a venue in Taytay, Rizal, that trains children aged three years old and up to ride motorbikes. Among the success stories are brothers TJ and Troy Alberto, who are now racing abroad; champion motocross riders Mclean Aguilar and Jacob Orbe; and Philippine Superbike riders Ompong and Pia Gabriel, just to name a few.

On October 28, MMF founder and current head coach Sam Tamayo will debut a new batch of future motorcycle racing champions. They will battle for honors in the first leg of the 2018 Mini Moto Olympics. He’s expecting 50 to 70 participants aged eight to 14 to join. But before your kid can race, he must first learn how to ride.

Tamayo shares the 10 things parents need to remember before they herd their kids to a motocross riding clinic:

1) Be ready with protective gear. As they say in extreme sports, dress for the crash. Tamayo says kids usually feel uncomfortable wearing riding gear like boots, helmets, and body armor. These items are not as comfortable as basketball shoes or baseball caps, but they serve their purpose, and that is to protect your child from injury.

2) Do not freak out when your kid falls off the bike. Parents, particularly Filipino ones, are known to be overly protective of their children compared with their western counterparts. According to Tamayo, this will only delay the maturity of the kid. “Falling or crashing is part of any extreme sport. Therefore, accept it because your kid will surely learn from it,” he said.

3) Be ready to invest in good protective gear and equipment. There are lots of protective gear available in the market. Don’t go for substandard items, which are mostly imitations, because they might compromise your child’s safety.

4) Choose the right bike for your kid. Nowadays, kids grow up really fast: 9 years old and below can ride 50cc bikes, 10- and 11-year-old kids can go for 65cc, and 12- to 14-year-old riders can opt for 85cc. You don’t want to invest in a motorcycle just to find out your kid is too big for it after only a year. Get a bike that your kid can use for two to three years.

5) Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. Motocross is a physically demanding sport. This requires a lot of energy, so riders need to fuel up. But this doesn’t mean they should take heavy meals before the race. You wouldn’t want to see your child vomiting in the middle of the racetrack.

6) Wear sunblock. Sun protection must be applied to the child’s skin before he heads to the track. Training takes lots of hours under the sun. Too much exposure to sunlight and heat is not good for anyone, especially your kid.

7) Parents must take care of themselves, too. Make sure you wear a long-sleeved top and shorts (preferably made of dry-fit materials) because you’ll be sweating a lot while on the track. Always bring an umbrella, a cap, and sunglasses. Be ready with comfortable footwear that will protect your feet from dirt and rocks.

8) Prime your kid’s emotions. Teach them that hard work is the key to winning in any sport or activity. Tell these youngsters not to be intimidated by other kids their age already flying over jumps. Be ready to explain to them that the others have already undergone the basic training and exercises.

9) Do not lose patience. Most kids would ask their coach too soon when they can learn how to jump. There are no shortcuts to success. There must be consistency to progress in the conduct of different exercises. Body strength and muscle memory are given emphasis before a student can move up to the next level of training.

10) Allow your kids to race. It is natural for human beings to measure their abilities against others however they can. Therefore, once they fall in love with riding, you can’t stop them from joining fun races to track their learning and hard work.

If you’re thinking of enrolling your child in a riding class, visit the Mini Moto Olympics race events on November 23 (second leg) and December 9 (third and final leg) to see what it’s all about.

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PHOTO: MX Messiah Fairgrounds
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