Watching Your Kids Push Their Limits

by Andy Amick on October 8, 2016

in Bikepacking, Kids

One of the best things in life is watching your child accomplish a task they deem impossible. Of course, it’s even better when that something involves a bike.


Earlier this summer, my 12 year old son and I headed out for an overnight bikepacking trip. While we rode the trails toward Chatfield State Park (the same State Park we visited for our first bikepacking trip when he was 3 years old), I watched him attack the turns and downhills more aggressively then normal. Being loaded down with his sleeping gear and food did not slow him down.

Just before entering the park, we crossed a set of railroad tracks and faced a steep downhill full of chunky rocks and a drop-off on the right side. I navigated my way down first, stopping at the bottom to talk him through riding his bike down.

conquer fear

“I can’t do this! It’s too steep,” he yelled down to me.

“Yes you can.”

“No, I can’t.”

“Yes you can. Just take it slow.”

“No. I’m going to walk down.”

“Hold on. You can do this. I know you can. Walk down the steepest part and then get on your bike,” I said to him as I walked up the hill towards him.

He looked at the loose rocks littering the trail. Then he looked down to the bottom of the hill.


“You can do this.”

We continued this Yes and No conversation for another minute or two before he straddled his bike, and gingerly walked a few inches down the hill.

“Good, keep going.”

“Dad, I can’t do this.”

“Keep walking down. You can ride this.”

He crept down the hill a few more inches, getting a feel for the loose rocks. I watched his steps, fully expecting him to back out.

He stopped.

“You can do this.”

His right foot lifted and landed on his pedal. His hands reached out to grip the brakes tighter.

Is he going to ride this? I watched in silence.

Without warning, he eased off the brakes, and put his left foot on the pedals. The bike jerked left as a rock moved underneath the front tire. The kept his balance, and eased off the brakes ever so slightly.

I envisioned him falling and receiving deep cuts from the rocks. Please don’t go over the edge I said to myself as he picked up speed. The bike bounced right, then back left.

Then he let go of the brakes, picking up speed as he rode smoothly to the bottom of the hill.

He didn’t fall. He didn’t put his foot down.

At the bottom, he turned to look at me with the biggest smile on his face! Now he knew he could ride challenging terrain. The barrier he created in his mind was gone.


About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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