Kids on Bikes - Youth Cycling Program Exploration
More kids on bikes is a good thing. Fort Wayne has been missing a youth cycling program and there is a growing sense among parents that now is a great time to see whether there is interest in getting one started. Youth cycling, particularly middle and high school age cycling leagues are the fastest growing youth sports leagues in the nation. Check out NationalMTB.org for more info. There is now a NE Indiana Composite team that will race in the newly formed Indiana Chapter of NICA. We’re not there yet, but we can start here.
Team NeighborLink, Fort Wayne Outfitters, and several other local cycling parents are organizing a series of kids only rides at Franke Park this spring to gauge interest, hear your questions, and begin discussions about what a youth program could look like for the kids most interested in learning more. We’re inviting kids age 6 years and older to join us for these initial rides. We’ll split up into two groups based on age & ability and have a ride formatted for both groups. Parents, we request you to come and stick around for the hour long ride. Bring your own bike if you’d like and get involved.
May 28 - June 4 - June 11 - 6:30p - 7:30p - Franke Park (Derby Hill Parking Lot)
We’ll ride around Franke Park on a mixture of gravel, grass, light trail, and the paved loop around the center of the park. For the beginner group, we’ll just focus on some bike safety, learning to ride in a group, and some basic skills. We’ll learn how to ride and turn in gravel, how to ride trails, work on turning, and will increase skills as time and progress of riders allows. For the kids that have been riding for awhile, are older, or even have some race experience, we’ll focus on increasing speed, group riding dynamics, and more advanced skills.
These initial three practices will be pretty basic and focus more on building community and building skills and confidence on the bike. These rides will lead into Team NeighborLink’s Hot Laps Short Track Mountain Bike series, which are free for juniors under 16 and welcome to kids 8 and older who want to see what racing is all about. Three weeks of practices followed by six weeks of more competitive and workout driven riding.
Any bike will do at this point. If you have a kid interested in riding, but doesn’t have a bike or could use a bigger bike but aren’t in a position to buy one, Fort Wayne Outfitters has agreed to bring some extra used kids bikes out for kids to ride the day of the practice. They’ll only have a few, so we ask that you reach out to us to let us know you’re coming and need a bike so we can ensure to have a bike available. Parents of kids that have multiple bikes, consider brining an extra incase someone shows up and could use a bike to ride. We encourage you to have your bike inspected/tuned up before coming out as we can’t guarantee a mechanic will be onsite, but we’ll try our best to make that happen. Nothing worse than showing up with a bike that doesn’t work.
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please send me a note.
We’d LOVE an RSVP via email if you can.
Andrew Hoffman - Andrew@nlfw.org