By Travis Blue
Coach, Icicle Bicycle Club
I’ve worked with kids in some capacity for at least 25 years, from middle and high school youth groups to teaching and coaching middle and high school. Living in Leavenworth I have witnessed the positive effects of fostering positive character in our youth, and its direct effect on everyone.
Being passionate about the mountains and really enjoying mountain biking, it seemed the perfect fit to start a mountain bike club for our youth. There were students on bikes, but not as many as one would think. I had young daughters and I thought how cool it would be if there was a mountain bike program set up for them and their friends when they got to middle school.
“But it’s in these toughest times, where things don’t go the way we expect that we can teach the largest lessons to our students”.
Coaches Race – Roslyn, WA
Our team experience has been amazing, we’ve grown from 8 students to 47 and our community has rallied behind a growing team. But the most amazing and beautiful thing is what it’s done for our community. Kids are getting out riding with their peers and parents more than ever! Kids are spending more time with their families doing healthy, fun riding. And families are teaming up and spending more time with each other riding, camping, going to WSCL races. There are middle school students getting up before school (before we were canceled for the year) to go ride a 1 hour loop. Before school! Middle school students!
I connected with Lisa Miller in 2013 and she helped me form Icicle Bicycle Club. I think a major reason it took off for us was that Lisa and I had the same vision, help foster a group of student leaders, in the community and the bike was the vehicle.
The development of our whole Icicle Bicycle program might seem mostly organic, however we would not be where we are without the Washington Student Cycling League. It provided the framework, foundation, insurance, idea, and encouragement to grow into the flourishing program we have today.
And it’s bigger than our little community, right? It’s all of us. That’s the thing. While we can be fiercely loyal to our team, students, and coaches, WSCL is about more than just our immediate community. It’s about how we connect our smaller team communities, students and coaches with the larger community of coaches and students. There’s nothing sweeter than watching students encourage each other to clean a feature, ride a steep berm, clean that climb, especially when they are from different teams. It’s amazing watching all the teams rally around the finish line for the student finishing first AND the student finishing 47th!
And that’s what it’s about, ALL of that. It’s about connecting our local kids with each other, connecting our kids with their families for more quality time, connecting families with other families, connecting parent coaches with their kids peers, connecting our student riders with yours, connecting our coaches with yours, connecting our families with yours which all manifests with students achieving more than they ever thought they could, students becoming healthier, happier, more confident and more connected with their peers, family, and community!
Times are tough for lots of people right now. I’m just as bummed as the next coach that our students can’t ride together as a team or race together as a larger community. But it’s in these toughest times, where things don’t go the way we expect that we can teach the largest lessons to our students.
What lessons are you teaching them during this time?