Kids, when to put the foot down!

stormer94

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#1
I'm trying to teach my newer riding children, to achieve good balance and not "dab" all the time (or ride with feet off the pegs).

What should we be telling youngsters about when to take their feet off the pegs. Is there a rule of thumb? Or is the rule of thumb, "if you feel like your gonna flop over, put out your foot"... :scream:

The kids

Any information would be appreciated.
 

High Lord Gomer

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#2
I tell my kids, "You take your feet off the pegs when you are getting off the bike. If you take both feet off the pegs, that's what you're about to do anyway!"

Obviously (and probably thankfully) they don't listen to me. They will listen to someone unrelated to them, however, no matter how slow that person may be (not mentioning any names, Ivan :)). "...but Ivan told me..." Oops, did I say that? :p

I also tell them that when they take both feet off the pegs (common in muddy situations) that they have given up control of the bike. Similar to the first thing I mentioned above, they hear, "...wah wah wah...wah wah wah....bike...wah wah wah..."

My best advice would be to trade them to your neighbor (to whom they will listen) and you can get his kids (that, unlike your kids, probably rank you above a used cantalope in the useful-source-of-information scale).

I say all that, but Ricky (my 11 year old) actually listened to me this past weekend and was jumping his first double! It's about a 20-25' uphill double. I think I was more excited that he was!
 

bbbom

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#3
Excellent advice on trading the kids in Gomer! Unfortunately, all my neighborhood children walk on four legs and have either hooves or claws so it won't work for me!

We have gone over the same thing with our kids Stormer. I tell them to ALWAYS keep their feet on the pegs. They don't do it anyways but, it helps.

My son is 8 and rides a KX60 very well in the woods and on some really technical trails. He also MX's once in awhile but we lean towards the trails (no entry fees). He started out at 4.5 on an old MR50, clutch and all. He would take his feet (both at times) off the pegs a lot so I started explaining the whole center of gravity, loss of control..... broken ankle when your foot hits a stump/rock/log. It did sink in a bit but, I finally got fed up watching him do the flying W over too many rocky areas with my heart in my throat as he miraculously made it through so I started bribing him. I told him I was going to charge him a penny everytime his feet came off the pegs when I was following him. Small dabs were ok but the full blown, feet off the pegs before getting to the obstacle were not.

Of course when we got to the first stop after the deal was inked, I pulled up and told him he owed me $5.00. Some smart aleck behind me then said that was okay because I owed the kid $1.00!!! :p

It has been about a year since then and the kid has improved trememdously. He stands alot which really helps keep the feet on the pegs. Even sitting though, he takes some very tough hills and keeps his feet planted, except the occasional dab. He always impresses the older kids that sometimes join us because he can climb things they have problems with on their 100's & 80's.

Now, my daughter started on a LEM LX2S at age 5. Automatic clutch, no shifting at all. Same problem with little feet coming off the pegs in anticipation of an obstacle. I have explained the same reasoning and she seems to get it most of the time. We don't drag her through the same stuff as we did him (yet) because she is not quite as strong or as confident as he was. I have noticed that when she rides behind Karl's daughter (8 and at about the same level as my daugher but on a PW80) if the other girl's feet come off the pegs, my daughter will do it at the same point. If she is riding behind my son or Karl and she sees them keep their feet planted, she does much better.

As far as when should you take your feet off the pegs? I say (like Gomer) never, unless you are getting off the bike. I know there is lots of discussion about foot out for cornering, stability........from my experience at the level that I ride or that my kids ride (which is probably above my level but isn't much more than beginner spode) you are better off with your feet on the pegs and your butt off the seat than with even one foot off the peg.

I can't say that I have mastered it, I still ski through the really good mud sometimes with both feet down & sliding. But I also know that when I keep my feet on the pegs and RIDE the bike through the mud, it is easier and more fun. Just depends on if I feel like riding or sliding. Same with the technical stuff (mountain biking on technical terrain has helped me there tremendously, gotta keep your feet on the pedals or walk)

The bribe thing works well (although I never collected), since it gives them a frame of reference especially as they improve in different repeatable sections.

Like I said, about my daughter. Riding behind a good technically sound rider will improve their riding so fast it will make your head spin (as they pass you). I know my son's riding has improved 100% over the past year since we have been riding with Karl (as has mine). Just watching someone that rides smooth and balanced ahead of you is amazingly helpful.

Good luck, great pictures too!
 
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#4
What would make a kid take there feet off the pegs? Well i do it too and i cant stop it, in the deep ruts i slow to 2nd gear mid on my cr125 and putt on thru with my feet pedaling and hitting the rear tire. Ive practiced on smaller ruts, standing up and leaning the bike thru a rutted sweeter and now when the mud comes im not too bad.
 

HiG4s

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#5
I told my son that everytime he felt like putting his foot down, it ment he should have been standing up. Now he stands a lot more and hardly puts his feet down at all.
Matter of fact, in the real tight woods stuff he goes as fast with his XR100 as I do on my 125 Husky. He actually bumped my back tire a couple of weekends ago because I wasn't going fast as he was in the tight stuff. I started making him lead. I can always catch him on the straight sections.
 

bbbom

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#6
FMX_Novice, you can stop but it takes work. Your riding will improve too. Standing really helps keep your feet on the pegs because you can't take your feet off the pegs if you're standing on them. It also helps you control the bike and maintain your balance when the bike is getting bopped around by the ruts (or roots or logs or rocks).

Easier said than done! I try to remember to stand as much as I can, especially on the easy stuff. Thats where I practice shifting, braking, transferring my weight from side to side on the pegs and whatever I can think of. I find it makes it easier to stand when I get to the tougher sections. I also find that I get used to keeping my weight on the pegs instead of the seat even when I'm sitting. My butt is just barely sitting on the seat and I can stand easier when I need to.