MTB Kids Camp
NWTA’s first ever Mountain Bike Skill Builder Camp for Kids kicked off Monday July 9th, at Ventura Park in East Portland. This camp was organized in collaboration with Portland Parks and Recreation and made possible by generous grants and support from a number of businesses and sponsors. Our local bike shop, The Bike Gallery stepped up big, providing scholarship grants, and funding for a camp video to be released later this year. NWTA also received support from an IMBA Huck & Roll grant, which helped offset costs for some of the campers. The Lumberyard helped out with providing instructors and a venue for the after party held on Thursday night. Also, big thanks to Portland Bureau of Transportation for providing bikes for all our young rippers. These kids are in for a real treat!
20 kids joined us early Monday for an intro session, followed by a short trip to Ventura Park, for the grand opening of Portland’s first public pumptrack, with a few inspiring words from NWTA Advocacy Director Tom Archer and Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish. Our volunteer instructors started with the basics, providing skilled instruction on basic bike handling – body position, braking, cornering and maneuvering - skills which would prove useful later in the week. The pumptrack was designed and built by NWTA, whose members put in over 500 hours over the past year, moving and shaping dirt, and installing landscaping and signage. After the ceremony, the kids got to keep riding the track to their hearts’ content.
"Jim Labbe from Portland Audubon shows the kids the wonders of Powell Butte"
Tuesday, it was off to the new easyCLIMB trail system at Cascade Locks, built by NWTA specifically for the beginner and intermediate rider (and built with over 500 hours of volunteer labor by NWTA members and others). Perched alongside the Columbia River gorge, these trails make for a very fun and scenic riding venue. The kids really got to put their newly learned skills to work and the group was all smiles.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the precious time and knowledge of our instructors – Michelle Emmons and Matt McPharlin from the Dirt Dojo in Oakridge, Hillary Hutchens and Joshua Hutchens from The Lumberyard, and Bicycle Transportation Alliance Bicycle Safety Instructor Joel Holly.
Michelle Emmons sums it up: “What an incredible experience I had as an instructor today! Three girls, first time out on trails, created an opportunity for them to learn how to ride MTB style by slowing it down, sessioning what seems like simple stuff, but breaking it down and getting into perfect form... the ladies rocked it by the end of the day - what an accomplishment!”
More fun on Wednesday as the group visited Powell Butte Nature Park to meet trail contractor Kent Howes of Treadwerks, and get a firsthand look at the trail improvements in the works. They were also visited by Jim Labbe of the Audubon Society, who taught the kids the importance of conserving the natural species, which are so important to our quality of life. Thursday, it was off to our local Gem Sandy Ridge for some insight into sustainable trail design and constructions from BLM's Adam Minor, followed by a few runs down lower Hide and Seek. To cap off a week full of riding fun, the kids and their parents met for an afterparty and ride session at The Lumberyard. Don’t you want to be a kid again?