By Kevin Foss Coach and Student Development Director
The last few months have been a challenge for us all. Trying to adjust and wanting to support our coaches and students has been a rollercoaster and a moving target. There is no perfect solution and we don’t know what the future holds.
What we know right now is that we’re committed to helping our teens transition into healthy adults who safely and responsibly ride mountain bikes to stay healthy and have fun. Because mountain biking is RAD! And it’s good for you.
With outdoor recreation being among the first things to re-open in Washington state, we hope our students get out on the trails and ride this spring and summer. We believe mountain biking can be a low risk activity and is a valuable health opportunity during our society’s ongoing journey to deal with the pandemic and it’s fallout. I’d like to have had a little longer for our coaches to help students develop their skills, judgement, confidence, personal risk management, and leadership. We have some ideas to fill in the gap. But in the meantime, I want to pass on a few things that I share with each group of teens who have begun the transition to ride without adults.
Know the rules and etiquette where you’re going. With the current restrictions in Washington State, that means stay local, and follow all guidance from local, state, and national authorities that apply in your area. Check the status and recommendations for the trails you plan to ride before you go.
Progression comes from refining the basics, not hucking and hoping. Before you attempt a trail, feature, or maneuver, you should have a good idea of what it will take to do it and whether you possess the skills and resources to safely complete it. If not, don’t do it. Riding it out should always be a plan, not a surprise.
Be prepared. Take someone with you (a family member right now). Communicate your planned route and how long you will be gone. Carry tools and spare parts, a way to call for help, and a way to navigate out of the trails. Get some basic first aid education so you can determine when to walk out, when to call for help, and when to get back on your bike.