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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this in Passion, but I thought I would run it by you guys for more area specifics. I was going for more general ideas there but wanted to get the local yokels thoughts.

I teach at a High School (Silver Creek, West Longmont) in the Colorado Front Range. I am also an avid MTB'r and have long thought about combining my teaching with my hobby and pastime. I have been tossing around the idea of starting a Mountian Biking Club, possibly school sponsered. The school I teach at is blessed to be close to several great trails and mountian biking organizations. Besides the obvious fitness benifits I also thought I could incorperate elements of bike maintenance and building, trail conservation, trail building, and generally introduce them to the different aspects of the sport. I have been teaching for about 10 years now and have definitly seen a downward trend in fitness and eating habits, and I also see very few younger riders on the local trails. I thought this might be a way of helping.

So my questions for the masses out there:

Has anyone tried this? If so I would love to pick your brain and see what you did to make it happen and the successes and failures.

What are your ideas about a club like this? What would attract high school age kids to an activity like this? What other activities would be good?

Would any of you local hotshots like Scrublover, Ventanarama, S-Works, etc... be willing to do a little instruction (If I didn't put your name up please don't take it as an insult, I just can't remember anyone. Your all better then I am, that is why I am asking).

Should I seek local sponsorship? This would be mainly in the form of discounted jerseys and T-shirts.

Could we latch on with some of the local trail-building and conservation groups?

Do you think that the obvious dangers of mountain biking would make this impractical? Obviously safety would have to be a huge part of the class, but getting hurt gracefully seems to be an unfortunate part of the sport.

What would be some entry level competition for something like this? It seems like there would need to be a few events that would encourage the kids to progress. There are pros and cons to competition, but it could be a great tool for those that want to be involved with it.

Thanks in advance for your advice!
 

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Interesting idea.

I would call BMA http://www.boa-mtb.org/about/ and ask them some details. I do know there are issues with groups over 20 in official clubs on boulder county trails...permits are usually required. My wife has an unofficial tuesday night ride group that has up to 25 riders and she avoids the permit thing by not being an official cub with official meetings and such.

That said, I have been on plenty of BMA rides and don't remember people asking Boulder County for permission.

BMA might be able to answer the questions about liability and such.

Safety should be a huge part of the class. I can bring in my xrays of my broken collar bone and my crushed helmet to emphasize that stuff if so desired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
lidarman said:
Interesting idea.

I would call BMA http://www.boa-mtb.org/about/ and ask them some details. I do know there are issues with groups over 20 in official clubs on boulder county trails...permits are usually required. My wife has an unofficial tuesday night ride group that has up to 25 riders and she avoids the permit thing by not being an official cub with official meetings and such.

That said, I have been on plenty of BMA rides and don't remember people asking Boulder County for permission.

BMA might be able to answer the questions about liability and such.

Safety should be a huge part of the class. I can bring in my xrays of my broken collar bone and my crushed helmet to emphasize that stuff if so desired.
Thanks, I have some scars and busted helmets of my own. I don't anticipate having more then 20 kids for awhile, I have had about 7 kids tell me they would be interested. There are probably a few more that would like to know where I am riding so they could throw rocks at me or something.
 

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keep us posted

a couple of our board members (COMBA) went up to platte canyon high school last fall, as they have a mountain bike club and were looking for some advice to help build out their trail system (if memory serves correctly)...

i think it is a great idea. as for injuires (or more importantly, your liability), i'd think it would be no different than contact sports-- parental permission slips holding you harmless should something happen.

BMA would be a great place to inquire. then maybe call up to platte canyon.

fwiw, one of my initiatives this year for COMBA will be a substantial local push for the national Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day in october. :thumbsup:

good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
JRA925 said:
Yo, USA cycling could probably help get you going. www.usacycling.org has a list of clubs and info on starting a club. Just make it what you want. I'd also check out Washington State's Rad Racing and Colorado's ACA Mudskippers, two successful groups.
Thanks man, good info. I am meeting with my principal today to see what has to happen on the school end. It seems that most of the interest is coming from the younger kids, the ones that don't have their liscence yet. It seems like if you are going to get them hooked you have to do it before they get their wheels. After that all their time and money goes into that.

I'm also pretty surprised at the bikes some of these kids have. Much nicer then my first ride!
 

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I used to run a program like this

I lived in Austin and taught mountain biking for 3 years at a high school called. St. Stephens.

It was a private school with a outdoor program that also taught caving, mountaineering, and rock climbing in addition mountain biking. There was a different season for each sport. The kids received a sports credit for their participation and it was great for students that were into non-traditional sports. We had about 12 kids in the program - the other sports had 30-40.

They were fortunate enough to have their own trail system (now, most of the land was sold and developed.)
Most kids had their own bikes. For others, I arranged a discount at a local shop for those that wanted to buy them. Some kids borrowed the schools bikes - but they were beaters...and that made a big difference since some of the kids had nice full-squish bikes.

We took a cool trip to Big Bend National Park, where we camped and did some fun rides. We also took some of the kids to local MTB races. About 4 were interested in racing and they REALLY got into it. We didn't push the competitive side of the sport - just the overall experience and know-how (fitness, technical skills, repair).

Clif Bar hooked us up - so the had MUCHO energy for each ride. I gave a lot of hand-me-down clothing to the kids.

So... the outcome....the kids that got into made cycling a huge part of their lives. They started racing serious and generally became riders. The other kids kinda dropped off. They were just involved in so many other things. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that St. Stephens is a private school with kids looking to get into good colleges. As a result they were pretty over-extended. Cycling takes a long time: the actual rides, the travel to event, the maintenance...let alone the expense.

The school had a dedicated building for the program where we kept bikes and gear. They also had vehicles, trailers, camping gear - and a budget. It paid for instructors for a 3x's a week class, the trips, spare parts, and even a bike or two. All in all - probably $5000 a season - not including the building, vehicles, and trailers. This is a very reasonable amount to raise for a program - but the kids have to provide their bikes which could pose a problem for a public school since bikes and bike gear cost a lot more than most other HS sports.

I think it's a good idea for the right place. Having trails they could ride ON CAMPUS was huge. The class was 2 hours - so if we had to drive to a trail it would be a challenge to get in a good ride. Since you're in Longmont, the closest trail is Rabbit Mountain,(unless there are some super secret trails I don't' know about). Maybe if it was a once a week program that involved driving to a Boulder County Trail.

So... that's my looong post. Feel free to email me through www.adventurefit.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
KeepItSimpleSpeed said:
I lived in Austin and taught mountain biking for 3 years at a high school called. St. Stephens.

It was a private school with a outdoor program that also taught caving, mountaineering, and rock climbing in addition mountain biking. There was a different season for each sport. The kids received a sports credit for their participation and it was great for students that were into non-traditional sports. We had about 12 kids in the program - the other sports had 30-40.

They were fortunate enough to have their own trail system (now, most of the land was sold and developed.)
Most kids had their own bikes. For others, I arranged a discount at a local shop for those that wanted to buy them. Some kids borrowed the schools bikes - but they were beaters...and that made a big difference since some of the kids had nice full-squish bikes.

We took a cool trip to Big Bend National Park, where we camped and did some fun rides. We also took some of the kids to local MTB races. About 4 were interested in racing and they REALLY got into it. We didn't push the competitive side of the sport - just the overall experience and know-how (fitness, technical skills, repair).

Clif Bar hooked us up - so the had MUCHO energy for each ride. I gave a lot of hand-me-down clothing to the kids.

So... the outcome....the kids that got into made cycling a huge part of their lives. They started racing serious and generally became riders. The other kids kinda dropped off. They were just involved in so many other things. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that St. Stephens is a private school with kids looking to get into good colleges. As a result they were pretty over-extended. Cycling takes a long time: the actual rides, the travel to event, the maintenance...let alone the expense.

The school had a dedicated building for the program where we kept bikes and gear. They also had vehicles, trailers, camping gear - and a budget. It paid for instructors for a 3x's a week class, the trips, spare parts, and even a bike or two. All in all - probably $5000 a season - not including the building, vehicles, and trailers. This is a very reasonable amount to raise for a program - but the kids have to provide their bikes which could pose a problem for a public school since bikes and bike gear cost a lot more than most other HS sports.

I think it's a good idea for the right place. Having trails they could ride ON CAMPUS was huge. The class was 2 hours - so if we had to drive to a trail it would be a challenge to get in a good ride. Since you're in Longmont, the closest trail is Rabbit Mountain,(unless there are some super secret trails I don't' know about). Maybe if it was a once a week program that involved driving to a Boulder County Trail.

So... that's my looong post. Feel free to email me through www.adventurefit.com
Did you start the club? If so, what did you do to gain interest? It sounds like you pretty much have the ideal program. Rabbit Mountain, Hall Ranch, and Heil ranch are all about 10min away, the boulder stuff is 30 to 40 minutes. Walker seems to take a long time, maybe I don't know the shortcuts.

How did you get Clif Bars to sponsor you? That is way cool.

I think I may have a couple of sponsors lined up, I think that is pretty exciting. Hopefully I can get the kids to justify it all!
 

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At the time, I had a outdoor fitness training business. The company taught cycling, adventure racing clinic, outdoor personal training...all sorts. Our instructors were all personal trainers that had a specialty - mine was MTB. One of the kid's mothers asked me to talk to the director of the outdoor program about adding mountain biking to the program.

I don't teach it anymore. I kinda ran it's course. Participation dropped off after awhile.

As for promotion, I was able to put up posters and they made announcements in school.

I raced for many years with sponsors which I told about the program and they pitched in. It's a pretty noble cause, so I don't think it would be too hard to round up some support.

Good luck with you program - let me know if you have any other questions.
 

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local sponsorship

call rick @ 303-772-5105. i'm sure you'll get (at the very least) a discount on parts & accessories. probably a token discount on bikes as well. my only advice is that kids ( and adults) often need reminding that sponsorships are a 2 way street & they aren't 'owed' anything by anybody no matter how well they ride. at least that's what i've seen in various shops over the years, especially with bmx (& road racing)........
 

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I'm Interested.....

I live/work in Longmont and have long thought how cool it would be to combine my love of cycling (and it's physical/mental benefits) and my knack for teaching. I'd love to kick around some ideas on clubs for youth. Lemme know if you're interested in brainstorming.

I have a 2.5 yo (boy) and one on the way (girl) and I of course fantasize that they'll be champion mountain biker racers. So, if I can get started early and learn how to motivate them, all the better!

PS - I work at Seagate, right across the street from Silver Creek HS I know lots of guys here that are avid riders/racers....

Get a hold of me and we'll talk....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
yogidave said:
I live/work in Longmont and have long thought how cool it would be to combine my love of cycling (and it's physical/mental benefits) and my knack for teaching. I'd love to kick around some ideas on clubs for youth. Lemme know if you're interested in brainstorming.

I have a 2.5 yo (boy) and one on the way (girl) and I of course fantasize that they'll be champion mountain biker racers. So, if I can get started early and learn how to motivate them, all the better!

PS - I work at Seagate, right across the street from Silver Creek HS I know lots of guys here that are avid riders/racers....

Get a hold of me and we'll talk....
Hey, thanks for the note! I haven't checked the board for a few days so I didn't see your post.

Sounds like we are in about the same situation, I have a 2.7 year old. I'll be happy to get him on a bike, but out of diapers would be a good first step.

I have talked with Rick from Bike and Hike, and he seems interested in helping out. He seemed very nice and interested in working with the community. Unfortunatly the district isn't allowing me to have it as a school sponsered club. They say it is too dangerous. I'm not sure if I sold it hard enough, but I imagine that it may be restrictive through the school as well. I still have interested kids, so I am not sure what direction we should take it from this point.

I'm also disappointed that the Winter Park Fat Tire Classic was cancelled. I was kind of thinking that could be one of the big events for the group, seeing how it was non competitive and had lots of options as far as technical ability.

Always looking for riding partners and people that can school me. Too many breakfast burritos lately. Drop me a PM, we will hook up!
 
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