Saturday the 13th of October, the 7th multiplier event of the Movement, Environment & Wellbeing project took place in the Netherlands, organized by IMBA Europe. The existing concept of IMBA’s global Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (TKMBD) was adjusted and converted into a family style, active leisure mountain biking activity.

Different from the regular approach, this TKMBD did not only targeted kids to go out riding but also their parents. Reaching out to parents through their kids and showing them how much fun it can be to exercise together turned out to be a successful approach with a group of about 40 participants. Kids activities are low-threshold and therefore suitable for parents that lack experience in riding mountain bikes or might not have that much stamina yet.
To make the activity more accessible, rental bikes were provided for those participants that had no mountain bike themselves. The start of the event was at the training ground of the local bicycling club, located on the edge of the municipal forest, still close to residential areas. The activity started with a basic riding skills training to make sure all participants felt save and confident on the bike. In four smaller groups, the parents and their children started the day with some exercises off and on the bike.
The environmental aspect of the MEW project was addressed after the skills training when the group visited the local forest manager. The forester explained the value of the forest area and Natura 2000 site, showing the kids an antler of a red deer and inform all participants about access rules, trail etiquette and how to join as volunteer to maintain local trails.

Another important aspect to make mountain biking as accessible as possible are bike facilities in (semi) urban green spaces, preferably with connector trails that lead into the countryside. The municipality of Harderwijk, where the event took place, meets these criteria pretty well. After the basic skills training and the visit to the forest manager, the group continued their way into the forest, riding parts of the newly built beginner mountain bike trail to complete this first Take a Kid & Parent Mountain Biking Day.

To promote the event and target the right audience, IMBA collaborated with the local municipality and ZorgDat, the welfare organization of Harderwijk. Promotion was made by distribution of posters and flyers and sharing the event through online channels, including social media. The multiplier event was also published in the event section of GA Harderwijk, the online platform of the city to promote events in the field of sports, culture and movement. One of the aldermen of the city council took part in the event.
An online survey that was taken afterwards should the following general characteristics of the group of adults taking part in the event. Mainly people in the age group 35-44 year with jobs that involve sitting most of the day, average of 1-2 days per week involved in physical activities (moderate to intensive effort) and a clear preference for outdoor physical activities (instead of indoor). While most respondents say they exercise alone or informally with friends, the concept of being involved in active leisure activities with their kids was highly valued.
Moreover, the outcomes of the event were shared with civil servants of the 21 municipalities of the Veluwe region and through IMBA Europe’s email newsletters, reaching member organisations and other stakeholders in approx. 22 countries. After the event, all participants received information where and how they could continue mountain biking (individually or in structured group activities provided by the local bicycling club) and how to get involved as volunteer in maintaining & cleaning local mountain bike trails.