By Kendra Hinkson, Evergreen Parks and Recreation District
The Evergreen Park & Recreation District’s Junior Mountain Bike Program started in 2011. The district developed the program in an effort to provide kids between the ages of 8-13 an opportunity to develop proper trail riding skills, learn and practice good trail etiquette, and build a love for mountain biking. The program is unique to Evergreen and has been incredibly well received by the community, reaching our capacity over the last 4 years (Approx 60 kids per year).
The program meets twice a week for 8 weeks from June to August at various trailheads in the Evergreen area. Due to the size and diversity of ages and skill sets, we break the riders into groups of 10 or less for training rides, each group lead by an experienced coach and trailed by a parent volunteer acting as a “sweeper”. Over the course of almost 20 group rides, we have virtually never experienced a negative interaction with other trail users, were able to significantly increase the skill level of all the kids, and have built a very strong foundation of young riders who we believe will become cyclists for life.
In relationship to Team Evergreen, it is the District’s desire that our Junior Mountain Bike Program become a feeder program to the Evergreen High School mountain bike program that we know Team Evergreen strongly supports. We also see our program as a way to develop a higher level of bicycle advocacy in our community and will continue to encourage kids and adults to ride and race with Team Evergreen in the future. Team Evergreen over the last 4 years has been very considerate and has sponsored the Junior Mountain Bike Program by donating $2000 each year. With their sponsorship, registration costs have been kept low for kids and we display the Team Evergreen logo on our jerseys.
Parents can register online at www.evergreenrecreation.com or in person at either Buchanan or Wulf Recreation Centers.
Anyone that is interested in becoming a volunteer coach or “sweeper” can contact Kendra Hinkson, Recreation Supervisor Programs at 720-880-1226.