More schools and families discover joy of trail riding
Special to The Union
Getting more kids — and now moms — on mountain bikes has been a passion of Jet Lowe’s since she first organized YBONC (Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County) in 2008.
At the time, her son was a student at Nevada Union High School and wasn’t interested in the standard team sports offered. Instead, he gravitated toward the mountain biking club and inspired his mom along the way.
Though her kids are now young college-age adults, Lowe remains committed to getting Nevada County kids riding off-road.
“You’re outdoors. You’re in nature. It’s great physical fitness for any age,” Lowe said.
On Oct. 4, YBONC will host its fifth annual “Take A Kid and Mom Mountain Biking Day” at the network of dirt trails winding behind the campus of Lyman Gilmore Middle School, 10837 Rough and Ready Highway, Grass Valley.
“They’re right adjacent to Condon Park and it’s perfect for beginners. … We’re trying to get more moms to ride,” Lowe said.
The event will include a bike rodeo with seven stations that focus on things like bike etiquette and safety. Students from Nevada Union High School connected to the mountain bike team will act as mentors to the younger kids.
“They’re used to parents giving them instructions so this is a role reversal for them,” Lowe said.
For extra fun, three other activities are planned: T-shirt painting with recycled bike parts, fruit smoothie-making with the stationary bike equipped with a blender known as the “fender blender,” and a key ring-making station using bike chains.
Once kids have mastered a series of elevated wooden features on the blacktop and received their safety certificate, they’ll file in line for a “bike train” trail group ride.
It’s all about building confidence, says Lowe.
Since Lowe started YBONC six years ago, she has watched family interest in mountain bicycling blossom. Eight middle schools and one high school in the community now have after school bike clubs or teams with enthusiasm growing all the time.
“We’ve grown to over 250 kids riding after school in bike clubs. Part of our mission is to the start the seed and get the clubs started. Bike shops are more busy. Kids are riding more. Parents are riding,” Lowe said.
Jon Pritchett, president of Bicyclists of Nevada County goes out at least three days a week on rides with his family. His children are ages 6, 8 and 10. His oldest was riding a bike at age 3.
“It’s a great family activity and we ride together several times a week. It’s our bonding time. We get to chat about life, school or sometimes we just ride in silence and enjoy that, too,” said Pritchett.
They all learned on a strider (a bike with no pedals) and progressed to pedal bikes when their balance was ready.
“Anyone can learn to ride and learning young is the best time. I’ll encourage kids who are timid to wear knee and elbow pads and a helmet, of course,” Pritchett said.
In Nevada County, miles of trails provide opportunities for family rides, but many young people prefer the challenges of a bike park like the one in Truckee, and willingly pay the gas money to visit it.
This weekend BONC will host its third annual Grousefest, rerouting Crooked Lakes Trail between Upper Rock Lake and Penner Lake. Groups will camp at Lindsey Lake campground Friday through Monday, putting in the hardest day of trail work Saturday.
“Take A Kid and Mom Mountain Biking Day” check-in starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 4. A helmet and bike check starts at 9:15 a.m. The cost is $5.
Goodie bags, T-shirts and water bottles are available on a limited basis, first come, first serve. Riders are required to register and parents must sign a waiver. Bring a bike and a helmet.
Mountain bike trail riding begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by a catered lunch at 11:30 a.m. Register by Sept. 26 by sending an email to: email@example.com; in subject line write last name, number of youth and number of adults.
For more information visit: http://ybonc.org/events/bike-safety-rodeo/
Contact Freelance Writer Laura Petersen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-913-3067.
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