Kids rev up with Red Riders program

The Honda Junior Red Riders training program give kids aged six to 12 a chance to learn how to ride a motorcycle

by Jessica Kirby

A young boy riding a motorcycle.

Popkum Motor Park's Honda Junior Red Riders program is aimed at six to 12 year olds who want to learn the basics and have a ton of fun riding. — Photo courtesy of Popkum Motor Park

The Honda Junior Red Riders training program give kids aged six to 12 years a chance to fulfill their dream of learning how to ride a motorcycle in a safe, controlled manner, said Scott Ponuick, marketing and promotions co-ordinator for Popkum MotorPark.

“We are here to help them have fun and teach them the fundamentals of how to operate a motorcycle safely,” he said. “They aren’t going to leave the program jumping after one day on the bike.”

The program is approximately three hours in length and takes place in a two-acre dedicated riding facility. The varied terrain includes modified hills, inclines of varying slope, sections of river rock, sand and natural features that emulate the obstacles a rider can experience while out in the wilderness or on the track.

“We all know kids learn quickly, but it’s something special to see a six-year-old riding a bike for the first time and mom and dad are watching his or her progress from the viewing area,” said Ponuick. “It’s a good time and a fun experience. And with the latest in safety gear available, riding doesn’t have to become such a worrisome issue for parents. ”

Honda's Red Rider Evolution training

Popkum also offers Honda’s Red Rider Evolution training, which is geared to teenagers and beginners of all ages with experience ranging from none at all to intermediate and ready to grow. 

“The curriculum is refined, structured and based on over a decade of practical application,” said Poniuck. “We are also able to tailor the program to suit the specific student needs.”

Well trained instructors

Most of Popkum’s instructors come from motocross and racing backgrounds and are also able to provide private lessons. Younger groups match four students per instructor and five per instructor for the older riders.

“With more instructors we can monitor the group better, help a specific child if they need it, and it prevent kids from crashing into an object or one another, which could be a concern for parents,” said Ponuick.

The riding area offers instructors and parents a 360-degree unobstructed view of the students, he said. “Parents can take plenty of pictures from one of the viewing areas. It’s great to see their enthusiasm as their child learns to ride.”

Popkum Motor Park offers riding areas for all ages and skill levels

Popkum Motor Park opened in 2009 and staff and owners have been building its amenities ever since. With tracks for experienced riders, families and beginners, the park is a one-stop mecca of sweet riding and everything off-road with a fully serviced shop, storage facility and many other plans in the works. With loss of riding areas presenting a growing problem in B.C., Popkum is set to provide a safe, all-encompassing alternative for off-road enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.

“We are working with our partners to grow the park in future and expand the riding areas to enable single track off-road riding, an area for ATVs, UTVs, and side-by-sides, and then to develop an extensive trail network into the neighbouring mountain range if we can get all necessary approvals in place,” said Poniuck.

Also under consideration is a women’s only Learn to Ride training program, an additional, grassy viewing and riding area for families, and further expansion of the park’s existing RV and camping facilities.

“If we can present a variety of options that fits the needs of a variety of different off-road disciplines, it gives everyone a place to go and play while helping us create a place that is successful and long term,” said Ponuick.

Honda Canada sponsoring the Junior Red Riders training program

Popkum Motor Park recently signed an agreement with Honda Canada to administer the  Junior Red Riders and Red Riders Evolution training programs—the first of their kind in Western Canada.

Popkum will use Honda CRF model off-road motorcycles as part of its training programs, and will also be offering a wide range of Honda off-road and motocross bikes for rental.

Honda also provided 18 off-road and MX bikes and five ATVs for use in training and around the park.

Aimed primarily at kids who have never ridden a motorcycle but can ride a bicycle, the program is developed to cater to youngsters’ attention spans and thirst for excitement.

“When the kids show up they are met at the gate, go up and get signed in, and get all geared up,” said Scott Ponuick, marketing and promotions co-ordinator for Popkum MotorPark. “We just finished a deal with PTi Graffix and now all the bikes will be decaled up to look like factory Honda race bikes. The Fox jerseys will be imprinted with sponsors logos, just like the pros. Students will have the opportunity to buy that jersey and have it customized with their name and favorite number. It’s a great keepsake and something special for the kids”

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