As you might read elsewhere on JuniorMoto, I am a big fan of training techniques on level ground.
When I write “level ground”, I mean a large open area without obstacles like rocks, fences, or trees. This could be a field, a sports field, or something similar.
Brake and steering a Trial motorcycle.
When I introduce a technique or a concept we will be training, I prefer that we are alone.
It helps keep the child calm and focused when there are not lots of things to divert his or her attention.
We constantly come back to cone training on flat ground.
We do this both to train new techniques and to practice old ones. Obviously, this is natural when we are talking about Toddler Trial, but I actually think you can continue this training until they are much older.
Actually, many older (routine) riders might benefit from repeating the simple techniques again.
Do not forget the elementary.
Because we tend to forget the elementary stuff, when building more complex elements into the training. The cones are an important tool in this type of training, and we always bring cones to training. Therefore, remember to return to cone training regularly.
There are different types of cones, but we use 2 different types originally made for football.
One type is a flat cone for laying on the ground. It can withstand being run over, and it is not easily blow away by the wind. You may want to have several different colors. We have about 50 of these in our training box.’
The other type is a “real” cone. It is more wind-sensitive, making it less useful – but has the advantage of being taller. It can also withstand being run over without breaking. We have 10 of this type in our training box.
You don’t need 2 different types. However, they may come in handy if you are trying to show different things in one training session, using the 2 cone types. For example, flat cones for gates, and tall cones for turning points.
One of the first things to check before letting your child out among other kids at a training, is that the child can brake the motorcycle. There are two types of brakes – the engine brake (which is very efficient on an electric motorcycle) and the mechanical brakes. It can be difficult for the little ones to activate the mechanical brakes, so in the beginning they will primarily use the engine brake.
Remember to adjust the bakes for your kid – most brakes levers are adjustable!
The simplest way to practice braking, is by setting up 4 cones. The child rides toward the cones and slows when passing the first set of cones. The motorcycle must be stopped before reaching the second set of cones.
The difficulty can be varied by reducing the distance between the two cone sets.
Be aware that most people (both children and adults) tend to go off the gas before reaching the first cone set. Therefore, this is also a good way to practice keeping the gas on the motorcycle.
Alternatively, you can use a cone set. It is the same exercise, but the child decides when to activate the brake. The point of the exercise is to stop as close to the cone gate as possible.
A third way is to use an object. The child needs to stop close enough to the object that the child can touch it.
To make this exercise a little more fun, we have made some stands where we have mounted a small bell.
When standing completely still next to the stand, the rider hits the bell before continuing on.