written by Boys Town and published in their newsletter about Capital City Cyclist’s Kids on Bikes Program & Trips for Kids.
What started out as a passion in Family-Teacher®, Brian Heck, has grown to be a source of challenge, pride and enjoyment for a group of Boys Town North Florida youth and some Tallahassee bike enthusiasts – The Capital City Cyclists (CCC).
For the past couple months, this group, as part of CCC’s Kids on Bikes program, has been meeting up and taking two to three hour mountain biking trips. The endeavor has fostered new bonds among the youth and volunteers.
“I wanted to incorporate my passion and have the kids try it out, but we didn’t have bikes,” said Heck. “I met a few avid cyclists and one happened to be Jack.”
Jack Tomassetti and fellow CCC member, Ken Foster, have been the main contacts for Heck in the building of this program.
Foster has gone on rides with the youth and seen the positive effects these trips can have. “I have seen some of the kids who didn’t think they were going to do it, or make it, or do very well, become more determined to be successful overcoming the obstacles of the trail, or not being able to ride a bike,” said Foster. “I love seeing the look on their face knowing they can do it and being more confident the second time out.”
Both Heck and Foster commented on the positive attitude the group has while biking. Whether it’s helping a fallen biker or cheering on those in the back of the group as the ride comes to a close, the youth are constantly providing amazing encouragement and showing signs of personal growth. In the process, characteristics like trust, paying attention to instructions, positive communication, self-confidence and teamwork are being reinforced.
In addition to character building, mountain biking also provides a new outlet of enjoyment among the youth. Heck says that the most rewarding part of the ride for him is before it even starts. “Right when we’re about to take off, all the kids are lined up,” said Heck. “It’s exciting to see all these kids enthusiastic about riding bikes on trails.”
As the relationship builds, Kids on Bikes continues to become more involved in the lives of the Boys Town youth. After their trail rides, the group will get together and share some food. The most recent ride was followed by burritos, courtesy of Moe’s Southwest Grill. Both Heck and Foster agree that this is a program they’d like to carry on.
According to Foster, CCC is part of an organization called Trips for Kids® (TFK®), a worldwide nonprofit that provides bikes and equipment so that more kids can have the opportunity to experience mountain biking. TFK has over 80 chapters in Canada, the United States and Israel, and has provided cycling opportunities to over 100,000 at-risk youth since 1988.
Foster says he’d encourage other Boys Town locations to seek out organizations like TFK®. “There are lots of good programs that allow kids to work more and potentially earn a bike,” he said. “There are large groups that they can go ride with around the state or country. Cycling is a great social opportunity for the kids, and they’re learning a lifelong lesson. You can ride a bicycle forever.”
Capital City to the Sea Trails Public Workshop #1 start this week! There will be two corresponding workshops, one in Leon County and one in Wakulla County. Below is the information for each workshop and the workshop flyer is also attached. You may also visit the project website at www.CC2ST.com for more information.
Public Workshop #1 for Leon County
June 20th at 6:00 PM
Jack McLean Community Center
700 Paul Russell Road, Tallahassee, FL 32301
Public Workshop #1 for Wakulla County
June 25th at 6:00 PM
Wakulla County Commission Chambers
29 Arran Road, Crawfordville, FL 32327
We encourage you all to attend one of these workshops and send this information to coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends in the region! The more people who attend, the better Capital City to the Sea Trails will be! Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.
Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CC2ST
Read Project Newsletter #1: Click to Open Pdf File
Decidedly not for sprinters, this battle royale braves mountain passes and windswept valleys of the Continental Divide from hinterlands of the Canadian Rockies to badlands of the Mexican Plateau.
Local Tallahassee Cyclists, Rick Ashton and Father-Son Duo Peter Kraft Sr. & Peter Kraft Jr. will depart on Friday June 14th for a 2745 mile, fully self-supported mountain bike race from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, NM.
The Tour Divide challenge is simple: Race the rooftop of North America by mountain bike; travel self-supported along all 2,745 miles of Adventure Cycling Association’s Great Divide Mountain Bike Route; keep moving and be moved; exist well outside one’s comfort zone in tackling a cross-continent bikepacking odyssey; finish as fast as possible without cracking.
Speed may be substance when it comes to Divide racing, but a flexible, sang-froid style is the best attack for the Route’s multiple personalities. Divide racing format requires no designated rest periods or set distances a racer must travel daily. The clock runs non-stop. She and he who can ride the fastest while making fewer, shorter stops usually hold the course records. With an average time-to-completion of three weeks in the saddle, Tour Divide is the longest–arguably most challenging–mountain bike time trial on the planet. It is a challenge for the ultra-fit, but only if ultra-prepared for myriad contingencies of backcountry biking.
Follow the race live at http://tourdivide.org/leaderboard
By: Edward Nabong
In 1972, Eddy Merckx set a world record at the time by riding 30.7 miles in one hour. In March of 2013, a young girl named her bike “Mustard” and fell over before she even rode 20 feet. Though there may not be any world champion cyclists in the Kids on Bikes program, it has been hugely rewarding to participate in. In my time working for Kids on Bikes, I’ve had the opportunity to teach children important cycling safety skills, and have hopefully helped to foster a love for sports and the outdoors by introducing them to cycling.
Some of my students do not have bicycles of their own at home and are thrilled every day they get to ride bikes at school. Many of these kids would have seen cycling as something others do, instead of a sport or mode of transportation that they could use. For all of the students, the most exciting part of the whole program is the 5th grade ride through the local neighborhood. The ability to spend time on bikes out of school and to see their community from a new perspective is a great was to help develop a passion for cycling.
Of course, the most important aspect of the Kids on Bikes program is to teach the students bicycle safety. It is always concerning to see cyclists around town without helmets, unable to signal and unaware of their surroundings. But because my students are proficient in bicycle safety, it is easier to feel confident in the student’s ability to navigate the streets safely. Recently I was lucky enough to see my effort truly pay off. I was on my way home from school, walking through my neighborhood when I noticed a child on a bike. This child was on the right side of the road, wearing a helmet, and paying attention to what she was doing. Just before she came to a turn, she looked behind her for cars. This is when I noticed that this child was one of my former students!
I am no teacher, but it is a truly satisfying experience to know that I was able to pass on a love of cycling. This program keeps kids safe when cycling, gets kids excited to exercise outside, plants the seeds for our future cycling communities, and is worth every minute of my time.
Edward Nabong was the 2013 Spring Kids on Bikes intern that taught the Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program to 3rd-5th graders in Leon County Elementary School every day and a FSU student that just graduated with a degree is Psychology and a member of the FSU Triathlon Club.