Not Done Yet...

Aug 8, 2015 at 6:01
Aug 8, 2015
by Kevin Wood  
 
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I guess you can say I am an early adopter. I was one of those kids in the 80's that used his bike for anything but the commute to and from school. After all, it was the era of Flatland Freestyle BMX. I would spend countless hours with my crew of friends at empty parking lots practising tricks like Miami Hoppers, Cherry Pickers and Tailwhips till the sun went down. Those were the days that I remember feeling free as a kid and getting to know myself through the artistic expression of bike riding as a sport. When the Freestyle scene cooled off so did my passion for it and I spent my time Snowboarding and hiking hand-built halfpipes in its early days.

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It was not until MTB Freeriding in the mid 90's came to be that I got back into bike riding, again as an early adopter. After watching the original Kranked and New World Disorder videos on VHS, I would ride the cool, dark forests of the North Shore whenever I could. Now that I have kids, most of my riding is done at lift access parks, namely the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and we tend to spend a great amount of time there. In fact, as a family active in Winter mountain sports as well, we spend more time at Whistler during the summer than the winter because of the Bike Park. It is an expensive sport, but the value we receive sharing these experiences together is incomparable to the costs.

There is a first time for everything...4 years old. Lil Shredder
There is a first time for everything - Shepard at 4 years old in June of 2013

As a Father of 2 boys, Griffin and Shepard (8 and 6 years old), I get to share my passion of bikes with them and the community of other like-minded parents of second generation riders. It started as a mission to find Griffin, then 4 years old, a good quality mountain bike that would withstand the ruggedness of the Whistler downhill trails and I was fortunate to meet Brian from Lil Shredder Bikes early into my investigation. I think I was one of the first handful of his customers and we have a great friendship now. I mentioned the day I meet him and first saw his bikes that if he did not create such rad little machines I am pretty sure I would have in his place. Brian has gone on to sell hundreds of bikes and every time we visit the Whistler Bike Park, the Lil Shredders seem to multiple.

2015 Lil Shredder Phenom 24 - Ferrari Red
Griffin's 2015 Lil Shredder Phenom in Ferrari Red

2015 Lil Shredder Prodigy 20 - Limelight Green
Shepard's 2015 Lil Shredder Prodigy in LimeLight Green

Introducing the world of Extreme Sports at a young age is surely a concern for most. I figured out early on that a guideline was needed to be followed to reduce the chance of injury and instituted it with the boys. It is a simple 3 step process that we always follow. 1) Talk about our plan before riding and ensure we each understand and visualize what we are going to do, 2) I always ride first to show the action for guidance, 3) Respect energy levels and not be afraid to call it a day before we complete our plan. So far we have been successful with this and avoided injury. Whistler has also recently instituted similar guidelines in the park to follow - PreRide - ReRide - FreeRide.

Finn testing out his new Lil Shredder Prodigy
Griffin testing out the Lil Shredder Prodigy - August 2013 - age 6

With one of the FMB World Tour's main events of the year, Redbull Joyride at Whistler Crankworx, we have made it a mainstay family vacation to attend each year. Last year the organizers really stepped up their game with the Kidzworx events for 7-15 year olds. They added a number of disciplined events that mimic the pro level equivalent which is a great way to introduce the world of professional mountain biking and allows the kids to find the style of riding that suits them and feel part of the big show.

Shep waiting for the Kidzworx fun laps on Crankworx Pump Track
Shepard waiting for the Kidsworx fun laps on the Ultimate Pump Track in August 2014 - age 5

The boys started BMX racing this year and are loving it. It is a good time for the parent in me to come out and teach them about respect in sport and to win and lose with grace. Griffin is also competing in the Phat Kidz DH Race series at Whistler and hopes to follow in the footsteps of another young Prodigy, Whistler local Finn Iles, who at 15 seems just years away from becoming the next Canadian World Champion once he is actually eligible to compete in the UCI World Cup series.

Enjoying the Whistler bike park.
Griffin maneuvering through the rocks and roots of Samurai Pizza Cat - May 2015 - age 7

I am 42 years old now and I keep waiting for the mid-life crisis thing to come along. But to be honest, I don't see it anywhere in the future. I still feel that kid inside of me, stoked to ride, the same feeling I had back on my Haro in the 80's. I am pretty sure I still have some of those old tricks in the bag, but I will wait for a resurgence of the Freestyle BMX scene before I go out and kick it Old School. For now I am enjoying my time riding alongside my kids, my new crew, watching them express themselves and feeling free. I guess I am just not done yet...

Birthday Photo - Turns at 42.
Birthday Photo - June 2015 - Turns at 42

See you on the mountain,
Kevin Wood


MENTIONS: @Sorrymom_Groms @LilShredderBikes @FinnIles

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32 Comments

  • + 12
 Kevin, this is a great article. Miami hopper, cherry pickers... haha.. i too was an old school BMXer - doing tricks like around the world, frame stands, endos...

As a father of 2, I also enjoy sharing my passion of mountain biking with my girls. Teaching my girls the art of mountain biking (confidence, fitness, fun, respect, nature, friendships, etc). My oldest has the Transition RipCord and is totally loving it. My youngest is still on the Trek, but likely next year will move into the Norco Fluid 4.3.

I had the pleasure of riding with both Griffin and Shepard early this year and the skills they have today are amazing! To watch both kids clean and shred A-Line is truly mind blowing!!!
  • + 8
 The other day I was following a little dude maybe 9 or 10, and damnn, he was so fast, I mean I was breaking behind him but his center of gravity is so low that he was cornering faster than me. Pretty happy to see these little boys riding mtb !
  • + 3
 Great work Kevin, and great article

I don't have kids, but got my wife into cycling and she absolutely loves riding, we have some great cycling experiences together.

It's taken it from being a solo / selfish experience (with like-minded buddies) to a shared, family experience
  • + 3
 Awesome article Kevin. I'm on a similar path, I can still remember being super stoked riding my 21 speed specialized hard rock as a kid. I drifted away from riding and it wasn't until my neighbor a few years after college asked me to go riding one day that I thought to myself why did it take me so long to get back to it! My son will be 2 this September and I can't wait for the day he gets to shred with me like your kiddos. Your definitely doing it the right way!!
  • + 3
 Good fun. As a father of two boys 15 and 18 I can tell you from experience it's one of there greatest pleasures in my life to still ride with them. They both kick my ass and a good percentage of everyone else in town. I vowed to myself when they were born that I would maintain my fitness and health as I got older just so I could participate with them on some great adventures, many I had done years ago myself. The point being to show them how awesome a sport biking, skiing etc can be, with regular trips to Tyax, Moab, Winthrop, Oregon and Sedona. Happy to say I'm not dead yet and can still hang in there, all be it a bit further back ( I parked my ego a few years back ).

Hang in there dads ( dad bod and all ) it's the best time of your life.....and theirs too!
  • + 2
 I'm 36 and just got hooked into mountain biking. I've progressed a bit though but not as much as i would like my 5 year old daughter to have as she grows. I would really like her to learn the advanced skills which i think i can no longer develop at my age. Looking forward to ride with her on the trails one day where she would in turn show me which good lines to take.
  • + 2
 Way to go sir, that's some outstanding parenting right there.

As for that midlife crisis, some might say you've been in it for a while, and that's why you're messing about with bikes. I'm three years older than you, and looking at the toys I schlep around on trips (boards, bikes, skis) and the constant need to go use them, I'm right there with you. Beats the hell out of getting fat, lethargic or depressed or God forbid growing up Wink
  • + 2
 Love it! Just took my family to Highland for their Family Fun Day yesterday. My 9yo son has been riding with me there a bunch, though for my wife and 12yo daughter it was a first. Wife spent the morning in a beginner DH clinic and loved the instruction, and while she enjoyed her initial trip to Kingdom Trails for NEMBAFest more, she sees the importance of being a well-rounded rider. My daughter though, her day was the big win. She didn't even want to come along, and then didn't want to bring her bike. I suggested we just bring it and if she saw stuff she wanted to ride, she could. She did lap after lap in Central Park, even blowing over the back of a berm and picking up enough scrapes to warrant a quick trip to the patrol building; through it all she was all smiles, using words like "exhilarating" and "another world." I've been the sole rider in my family for a lot of years; to have everyone else getting the bug is incredible, though holy smokes I thought it was expensive when I was only buying stuff for me!
  • + 4
 Good stuff man. Still trying to get my 6-year-old back on a bike after a not-so-great first time experience. I was happy to get her riding around a tennis court this week. Smile
  • + 4
 Hope it goes well. Our 8 yearold had a few accidents a few years back, one requiring an ER trip, but he somehow worked up his own courage to keep riding. I think buying him new gloves and a bike bell is what made him stoked.
  • + 5
 Kids love armor, makes 'em feel cool.
  • + 3
 Hmm... might have to try some armor, just like dad. That might work. We live on a cul-de-sac at the bottom of a very gradual hill. She started rolling down the hill as I jogged next to her and she freaked out--let go of the bars and reached out for me with both hands. Didn't even think that the speed on that little incline would be too much. Thankfully it was just some bumps and scrapes. I'm glad she seems to be getting excited about it again though. Anyone know who makes some pink armor that fits a 6-year-old? Smile
  • + 2
 Great article that resonates with me, my 12 year old has been leaving me in his dust for a couple of years now... The time we spend together on the mountain is beyond price. Quick edit - I see this is a 'Not Better Than Dad' production. That boat sailed for me way back, even with me sneaking in extra practice sessions. Still it keeps me riding lol.
  • + 2
 Great article! I wanted to do something like this too when my son was that age. These will be memories you will all have forever. Worth every penny. My son is turns 18 today. ..and we still rip whistler together...and he's STILL in front of me.
  • + 4
 I wish i could do all this as a kid too, its great to see that there are kids out there who get to ride at such a young age and that they are riding so well
  • + 2
 As someone who's baby daughter just turned 1 day old I wanted to say thanks for outlining how the outdoors are perfectly matched and ready for our future family time adventures. So many kids these days don't get to experience the thrill of the outdoors and I'm so psyched that biking and rock climbing have played such a formative role in my life. I can't wait to share the adventure with my daughter as she breaks new ground and excitedly discovers the amazing world that's out there!
  • + 3
 Lol every bike on PB is better than mine. Hopefully the kids still love it when it's time for them to start paying lol
  • + 2
 Fair play to you and kids.great video and article...future W.C contenders..?
8 and 6 yr old....downhill at whistler and staying in the pan Pacific. .Living the dream. ...
  • + 2
 That is a cool video. Just reminds me of how is used to be as a kid, not a care in the world and no fear. Shred on little dudes!
  • + 3
 Ps now off to watch my kids race against the worlds best at crankworx. Proud dad.
  • + 2
 "Not Better than Dad Productions" - awesome video man! Makes me stoked thinking about having kids in the next year or so and sharing the love or riding with them.
  • + 3
 So awesome! I'm preparing for when my baby girl is ready. Oh to be that young...amazing.
  • + 3
 Excellent article, from a dad of a 15 month old looking forward in anticipation.
  • + 3
 That sick moment when something you built get's featured in a video on the home page.
  • + 2
 Both their bikes better than mine... But seriously keep it up. You have some fortunate kiddos.
  • + 2
 Every time my kids go riding with me there's a mixture of pride and pucker factor. Gotta find a comfortable balance there.
  • + 3
 Dad of the year candidate!
  • + 2
 Awesome article Kevin!!! Thanks
  • + 2
 great article! Yinz are awesome!
  • + 2
 Great article! Cool video. Good job Kevin.
  • + 2
 Excellent man, props!!
  • + 2
 Brilliant video !

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