Another local track closes-And how to get youth riding again

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10/23/2018 10:27 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/23/2018 10:41 AM

Rocky Mountain Raceway in the heart of the Salt Lake City valley closed a few weeks ago. It was in an industrial area but from what I understand the property became valuable and the owners decided to sell. The motocross track, drag strip and racing oval all closed down after many decades of service.

Remember when bicycles were the gateway to motorcycles? Well kids barely ride bikes anymore. If they don't ride bikes they probably don't do much in the way of unorganized sports(skateboarding, skiing, motorcycling, etc.)

I ask my kids which of their friends mountain bike and the answer is not too many. High school MTB teams here in Utah are going off which is great but most of the training rides are organized. Kids just aren't going out of their own accord and ripping like we used to. It takes parents who pretty much force their kids to ride or take them camping, etc. to get them out to ride.

My buddy told me today about a new electric bike for toddlers, which seems like a good way to get little kids out riding places other than their driveway to start the progression. https://www.stacyc.com

And E-mountain bikes could revolutionize biking since you don't need to suffer on the climbs. Of course they're much more expensive than a basic bicycle.

People talk about the expense being a barrier but I don't think that's the main issue. It's about parents basically forcing their kids off their phones and either taking them riding or making/encouraging them to ride, even if it's to a friends house. Creating that love for outdoor pursuits isn't necessarily easy but once kids get a taste they'll evolve into it. And the logical progression is then motorcycles because, well, they're the holy grail of ripping.

Anyways, enough of my rambling, what do you guys think or what has been your experience with your kids?

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10/23/2018 10:51 AM

Blame the internet cell phones and video games helicopter parents.

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10/23/2018 11:17 AM

SmokinJoe439 wrote:

Blame the internet cell phones and video games helicopter parents.

yeah id agree video games and phones, pretty sad on a sunny weekend skateparks / bmx tracks etc all empty too aside from a few old fellas on skateboards

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10/23/2018 11:41 AM

Agree with whats been said already. Phones, tablets, video games and parents not getting their kids away from that crap. I live in a neighbourhood with 3 parks and they are ghost towns. It's so bizarre. There are plenty of kids in the area, I see them waiting for the bus every morning but you'll never see them outside any other time. Kids need direction and influence to do other activities. That's what seems to be lacking.

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10/23/2018 11:59 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/23/2018 12:01 PM

When I still lived at my parents house in the neighborhood, I never saw any kids playing outside or riding bikes. I actually assumed there werent many kids here anymore. But when the schoolbus came I was in total shock, lots of kids. When I was that age the neighborhood was lit af for lack of a better term. Its sad honestly, kids and teens glued to their tech gadgets.

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10/23/2018 12:16 PM

str8line wrote:

Rocky Mountain Raceway in the heart of the Salt Lake City valley closed a few weeks ago. It was in an industrial area but from ...more

NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) is huge down here. They just held a mtb race locally and had 800 riders participate.



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10/23/2018 12:22 PM

Back in my day (late 80s and 90s), we wore the tires out on big wheels. Those were those plastic trikes with the big wheel in front with pedals attached.

After that we got Mongoose and later GT and Dyno BMX bikes. And we would spend all day every day (weather permitting) on those.

Then we got dirt bikes.

And now at 35 I mostly ride mountain bikes due to cost and easy access to trails 5 minutes away.

Every generation is different. But the MTV/tail-end Gen. Xers embraced being active. The times they are a changin', which could be the eventual extinction of local moto. Switching to four-strokes and doubling entry fees certainly hasn't helped. What can be done? Nothing at this point...

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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

10/23/2018 12:29 PM

I believe most of the blame for the screen addicted generation falls directly on the parents. People in general, including parents, are so self absorbed that they would rather their kids spend hours in front of a screen than have to stop posting selfies on social media and do any real parenting. I work in the medical field and know countless doctors who’s wives “stay at home with the kids” only to ship the kids to off to daycare so the mother can spend the day getting manicures and sipping lattes at Starbucks in athletic gear. It’s ridiculous. My childhood was spent outside riding my clapped out xr75, building forts, and catching frogs and I loved every minute of it and cherish the memories I have with my INVOLVED parents. And now that I’m old enough to appreciate the difference I thank my parents regularly for not letting me sit in front of a screen all day. My wife and I have two young boys and after working all day it would be a lot easier to let them watch cartoons than teach them how to ride a bike but one is much more rewarding than the other. Sorry, rant over.

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10/23/2018 12:41 PM

The world has changed. I believe most of us ride because we grew up in places where riding was accessible, both financially and in terms of riding areas.

I firmly believe that moto will survive, but it will change too. As long as teenage boys and testosterone still exist, there will always be a market for this sport if we can make it accessible. Electric bikes are our best hope that 100 years from now there will still be something that resembles MX/SX. If they can ever break even in terms of development and economy of scale, the numbers will be able to grow and prices could drop. Couple that with ease of maintenance and lack of noise and the sport would become more accessible.

We just aren't there quite yet. And I hope Alta's complications can be overcome, because the sport needs them.

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10/23/2018 12:46 PM

mark_swart wrote:

The world has changed. I believe most of us ride because we grew up in places where riding was accessible, both financially ...more

The future may be e-mountain bikes on BMX-style tracks in the city and suburbs. Places like Ray's MTB Park may be the new moto.

Local moto is dying, and may be about gone when the Boomers are too old to ride and Gen. Y is booted from the nest and can no longer afford to participate. Economics and demographics may be a one-two punch that the sport will not get up from.



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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

10/23/2018 12:50 PM

str8line wrote:

Rocky Mountain Raceway in the heart of the Salt Lake City valley closed a few weeks ago. It was in an industrial area but from ...more

I watch a family that does you tube that has a kid that Races there , (this is how we Bingham)they did a great job Documenting everything, he did the last series there in the 50cc class.
It looked like a nice track , they said that it was closing after the last race but never said if anything would be taking its place or where there kid may race next .

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10/23/2018 12:54 PM

MX591 wrote:

I believe most of the blame for the screen addicted generation falls directly on the parents. People in general, including ...more

Cut the cord on the WIFI and cable at home.

Let the kids pay for the devices and the monthly bill if they so choose.

That would put an end to all of that pretty quick. If something is free, people (even kids) will consume too much of it.



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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

10/23/2018 1:05 PM

I'm not sure that screen addictions are the explanation. I'm as screen addicted as my kids and I still get out and ride. Here in Canada, hockey is thriving with these screen addicted kids. I'm not saying this to justify or condone screen addiction (mine or kids'); rather, I'm just not persuaded that it's to blame for tracks closing. I'd say that cost would be a more plausible explanation - that, and kids just plain have other options. My son is into swimming, and just earned all of his lifeguard certifications so it's not like he does absolutely nothing. He's welcome to come riding with me any time and he rather enjoys my 250 sxf. But it's just not his thing, however much I wish it were. When he was young I didn't have the time or money to ride, so I suppose that it may have been different if he was introduced to the sport younger. But it's really damned expensive for a young family - if it's all you can do to pay for necessities while getting an education and then starting a career, then riding just isn't in the picture.

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Current rides: 2021 TM 144, 2008 YZ250

10/23/2018 1:11 PM

I will add to my above post, hockey is by no means inexpensive either, which is probably why there are so many soccer fields, and they're always being used. It's easy for people to lose perspective regarding what it's like for people who simply can't afford to do the things we like to do.

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Current rides: 2021 TM 144, 2008 YZ250

10/23/2018 1:17 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/23/2018 1:26 PM

You're conflating two issues: the closure of a track on valuable, commercial land and interest in motorcycling. They are mutually exclusive.

Carlsbad Raceway suffered the exact same fate, under the exact same circumstances in the early 2000's. A raceway (dragstrip and motocross track) on land owned by a family for a very long time that was located smack dab in the middle of very valuable commercial land development in Northern San Diego County. It was inevitable that the family would eventually yield to commercial interests and sell the land. This happened during a period of time when motocross in Southern California was very strong. There's absolutely no way running a motocross and drag strip is going to bring more wealth than selling that land to commercial land developers.

I venture to say the same applies to the track in Salt Lake City. Even if a track is packed every weekend, entry fees coupled with significant liability insurance costs are never going to outweigh the price of land. If the track suffered from low attendance it probably only helped further incentivize the owner(s) to sell the land but it's most assuredly something they considered for awhile, regardless of attendance. Rocky Mountain Raceway is located in the heart of Salt Lake City's industrial development. It was inevitable the owners would sell that land.

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10/23/2018 1:19 PM

MX591 wrote:

I believe most of the blame for the screen addicted generation falls directly on the parents. People in general, including ...more

Bry145 wrote:

Cut the cord on the WIFI and cable at home.

Let the kids pay for the devices and the monthly bill if they so choose.

That ...more

We could solve the obesity epidemic by making kids pay for their own food.

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Current rides: 2021 TM 144, 2008 YZ250

10/23/2018 1:24 PM

FWIW I’ve seen more and more people getting bikes in my area, just over the summer 4 of my old HS buddies have gotten bikes and a few guys I grew up racing with are also getting back into it. the local dunes seem to going up in popularity as well. (Eastern WA)

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10/23/2018 1:24 PM

MPJC wrote:

I'm not sure that screen addictions are the explanation. I'm as screen addicted as my kids and I still get out and ride. Here ...more

You hit the nail on the head.

It is an economic problem, both macro and micro.

Many more would participate if financially within reach.

I jumped off the corporate hamster wheel and am doing a blue-collar and enjoyable gig. My YZ sits. My Kona MTB is my go-to 2-wheel toy.

I'd love to grab the YZ if I had hundreds of disposable dollars to go to the local practice spot or race. I do not. It costs about $1 in gas to drive to the mountain bike trails. I can spend that $1.



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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

10/23/2018 1:38 PM

This topic is funny because all of our parents said the same things about us, as did their parents about them, and so on. Times change, either evolve or get left behind.

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10/23/2018 1:39 PM

If every guy 30-100 years old that complains about "kids these days" let 3 kids a year take a spin on their pitbike or scooter there wouldn't be a lack of interest in riding. It's an exposure problem and Instagram mxfails or failarmy popularity isn't going to solve it. Kids needs exposed to swinging a leg over a motorized bike in some form, not racing or free style or something that looks like something they couldn't accomplish. Riding a motorcycle isn't any less fun that it was 30 years ago.

Theres less kids growing up in the country and of those their families may not be as well off these days. Riding dirt bikes is a country boy activity and it probably always will be.

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10/23/2018 1:40 PM

MPJC wrote:

I'm not sure that screen addictions are the explanation. I'm as screen addicted as my kids and I still get out and ride. Here ...more

Man that sounds Familiar, I Have a 10 year old son and I always said if I ever had a kid (before I had kids)
That they would ride , but I went through about a 10 year period where I was still a huge fan but didnt have a bike myself and couldn't afford a bike for me or him due to financial struggles, so I never tried to get him into it
Still to this day he has never ridden a dirt bike and my reasons Are 100% financial.

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10/23/2018 1:58 PM

SmokinJoe439 wrote:

Blame the internet cell phones and video games helicopter parents.

cablecable wrote:

yeah id agree video games and phones, pretty sad on a sunny weekend skateparks / bmx tracks etc all empty too aside from a few ...more

idk, might be where you live,,

i've been hanging out at our local pump track/dirt jump park this summer which is right next to the skate park and its been crazy busy with kids and folks of all ages.. afternoons and weekends its a zoo.
Nice place to meet hot mom's too tongue

But, i would agree moto feels like its dead.. but mtn biking is huge around these parts

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10/23/2018 2:09 PM

early wrote:

If every guy 30-100 years old that complains about "kids these days" let 3 kids a year take a spin on their pitbike or scooter ...more

"Riding a motorcycle isn't any less fun that it was 30 years ago."

It was more affordable 30 years ago, and wages provided much more bang for the buck.

It isn't a passion problem. It's a financial and economic problem.


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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

10/23/2018 2:18 PM

Bry145 wrote:

"Riding a motorcycle isn't any less fun that it was 30 years ago."

It was more affordable 30 years ago, and wages provided ...more

I agree but it has ALWAYS been more expensive than most sports. My comment about country folks struggling financially pretty much covered this aspect.

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10/23/2018 3:05 PM

The first motorcycle my older brother got in like 1982 was this used 71 honda trail 50. From a kid up the block for $75! A year later he got a 1979 xr80 for $150! Try and do that with today's economy.

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10/23/2018 3:34 PM

SmokinJoe439 wrote:

Blame the internet cell phones and video games helicopter parents.

cablecable wrote:

yeah id agree video games and phones, pretty sad on a sunny weekend skateparks / bmx tracks etc all empty too aside from a few ...more

our local skate park and BMX facility are packed.

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10/23/2018 4:26 PM

The turn out at local races is nowhere near what it was in the 90’s. For a lot it’s definitely a money issue.

I used to see a ton of guys with a beat up pick up truck with a bike in the back, sometimes three guys in the cab and three bikes in the bed doing whatever they could to get to the track. Nowadays probably 95% have the big motor home, box trailer and either a pit bike or a golf cart. We lost that whole crowd who could just pull enough money together to get to the track on the weekend.

The costs of bikes, registration fees, and gas has gone up quicker than most peoples paychecks. The cost of health insurance has gone up probably more than anything. With no insurance or bad insurance that itself would eliminate racing for many.



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10/23/2018 4:37 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/23/2018 4:40 PM

SmokinJoe439 wrote:

Blame the internet cell phones and video games helicopter parents.

I feel like there are more mini kids making a name for themselves than ever before. If you want your kid to ride buy them a mini bike, or four wheeler if you're too nervous, and see if they enjoy it.

I would say more of an issue of getting kids to race is parents being too afraid to let their kids do anything. Let them ride bikes or skateboards around and get hurt. Kids still love motorcycles and bikes, just give them one and you'll see.

Comparing today to the 90's is dumb.. Everything was better in the 90s. And shit, I bet your parents thought everything was better in the 70s.

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10/23/2018 4:56 PM

aeffertz wrote:

I feel like there are more mini kids making a name for themselves than ever before. If you want your kid to ride buy them a ...more

My history teacher in 1999: "These are the good old days. No war and the economy is good."

He was right!

The only problem we had in the 90s was a BJ in the White House.

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"Thank God my father wasn't rich."
-Hurricane

"You wouldn't take clay to Southwick, so why take sand to Red Bud?"
-DV

"I ride a two-stroke because I am Weigandt-level cheap"
-Me

10/23/2018 6:08 PM

Once they become reliant on phones and video games, that's a problem. 99% of the time I'm on my phone its to look at, read about, or watch dirtbikes, and even that is just because I don't ride as much as I'd like.

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