We've had such a great response to our programme that we've expanded outside of the Taupo region! So, we've rebranded and changed our name from MTB Skills Taupo to Bike Craft

Guide for Parents

Craters Young Pinners: Youth Programme…a few things to help you and your budding Young Pinner out…

COACHES: Craters Young Pinners will be with a Professional Mountain Bike Instructors Association (PMBIA) Qualified Coach which is an internationally recognised qualification.  All Coaches have a First Aid Certificate and operate according to our Audited Safety Management System as your Young Pinners safety is paramount to us.    All Coaches carry a basic tool kit and first aid.

LOCATION: We will be riding at Craters MTB Park for the most part, but we may do a few sessions at some parks and reserves around Taupo which have some good features for learning on. 

Our meeting place each week will be The Hub carpark (across the road from the The Hub Café – corner of Thermal Explorer Highway and Huka Falls Road) unless the Coach emails you and advises another location to meet.

MUST HAVES for each session:

  • Must be riding a mountain bike
  • Each riders mountain bike must be in good condition with both the front brake and rear brake working properly
  • A helmet that fits properly
  • Appropriate cycling attire and footwear (no jandals) – if in doubt please ask
  • A bottle of water (or water in camelbak)
  • A small backpack or camelbak with a small snack as we will take a short break during the session for the kids to recharge
  • Inner tube that fits their bike tyres please, or a gas cannister if they are running a tubeless set-up.  There are lots of blackberries on the trails and punctures are quite frequent so tubes are a necessity so that we can continue the sessions (and we don’t really want to have to walk all the way back!! 😊)
  • Rain jacket (not required every week so just keep an eye on the weather) – if in doubt ask.

NOTE: The kids are all bound to fall off at some stage but if we can minimise equipment as a cause wherever possible, that is MTB Skills Taupo’s approach – so for safety reasons we cannot permit your child to ride if their bike is not considered safe. 

Parents/Caregivers are asked to stay for the first 10 minutes while we do a bike check, helmet and gear check make sure your child is safe to ride.  Then leave them in my care and return at the end of the session.

INCIDENTS/ACCIDENTS

Coaches carry a first aid kit at all times and basic tools.  Coaches have a current First Aid Certificate. In the event that an injury or incident occurs, please be assured that we have Worksafe NZ Approved processes in place to handle such occurrences. 

GROUP MANAGEMENT: On the trails, ratios are 1 Coach to 6 riders - above 6 riders we will have a Tail End Rider or Assistant Coach accompany the group up to a maximum of 10 riders.  And as we all know kids can be unpredictable, each rider will be given a cell phone to put in their backpack for the duration of the session (subject to availability as we have a limited supply😊).  The cellphone has a GPS tracker linked to the Coaches phone so at any stage of the ride they can see where each rider is.  Please note this is a backup tool for the Coaches only - they will be using good guiding protocol first and foremost.  But it is added peace of mind for Coaches, and peace of mind for you as a parent/caregiver 😊.

PAYMENT: Your child’s position in the programme is secured upon receipt of payment in full. 

REFUND POLICY: No refunds will be given once the programme has commenced

Absences: If your child is not able to attend a session, please contact the Session Coach before the session commences.  We are not able to offer refunds or make up sessions, so please endeavour to get your young pinner to every session they are enrolled for.

Weather and Cancellations: Craters Young Pinners Youth Program runs rain, hail or shine but if it is looking really horrible and no fun for anyone, we do have some flexibility to cancel sessions in weeks and defer them to another week so we still have all sessions in the programme.  Risk management and rider safety is paramount to us so we will operate within conditions that we are comfortable with.  We will endeavour to email you by 2:00pm the day of your session if we are cancelling.

Bike Check:  Your young pinners safety is paramount to us, therefore we highly recommend that you have their bike in supreme condition before they come along to their first session and that their bike is kept in great riding condition throughout the term.  If in doubt, please get it serviced at one of our awesome local bike shops. 

How a session runs:   At the commencement of all of our sessions we will be conducting a bike check and we will teach your child the basics of checking over their own bike.  If we have any safety concerns over your child’s bike at the start of the session they will be unable to participate in the session, so please don’t disappoint the young ones - ensure their bike is in mint running condition...happy kids = happy parents 😊​.

Our aim with the Youth Programme is to get our youth out enjoying the trails, riding with their peers, learning new skills along the way and learning from each other.  For young riders they develop naturally the more time they spend just riding their bike – the more they ride, the more confident they become and the more open they are to learning and trying new skills and techniques. 

Our Youth Programme will focus primarily on fundamental skills which are Position and Balance (stability, balance, range of movement, centre of mass on the bike, body position) and Operation of Controls (braking, changing gears, efficiency of gears, speed control).  Once we have got those nailed we will progress to Terrain Awareness (trail scanning, decision making) and Direction Control (cornering, angulation, rotation) and lots of other cool stuff like riding over rocks and tree roots and small drops.  And if these Young Pinners are keen to progress further we can help prepare them for events for fun or competitively with age appropriate coaching and instruction.

We also like to teach our young riders to respect our trails and appreciate the awesome network of people in Bike Taupo and the Taupo Mountain Bike Club that work hard to create and maintain Craters Mountain Bike Park for us all to enjoy, so every so often we may undertake some track maintenance to do our part and give back to our local mountain biking community.

Rider Safety
It is no secret that mountain biking has inherent risk.  Learning to ride a bike has risk…learning a new skill has risk.  Children’s body development, particularly through to around 10 years of age is ‘top heavy’, so they are naturally prone to falling off their bike rather randomly and this may result in them injuring themselves.  Our Coaches will make every effort to minimise the risk of your child falling off their bike and each child will be encouraged to ride at their own pace and progress at their own pace – building confidence is key.  All Coaches will carry a first aid kit, should the need arise to use it.  We ask that parents ensure their children’s bikes and helmets are in safe riding condition prior to each session. 

Parents Participation
These sessions are an opportunity for our youth to develop some cool skills in an environment with like-minded peers, so we ask that parents keep your role in these sessions to:

  • ensuring that your young pinner gets to their sessions on-time;
  • their bike is in great working order;
  • their helmet is in perfect condition;
  • they have all the items listed in the section about on ‘What to Bring’; and
  • you are on-time at the end of the session to pick-up your tired but happy mountain biker 😊.

Please note that places are limited.  In instances where sessions are over-subscribed we will endeavour to add further sessions to accommodate riders.