Collingwood Cycling Club Youth Program!

When a program begins with a handful of kids and a few passionate volunteers and grows steadily to 60 kids and more volunteers than you can shake a stick at, you know that the organizers are getting something right! We sat down with Noelle Wansbrough, official host of the Collingwood Cycling Club Youth Program to get the dirt on this grassroots mountain biking program!

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Noelle runs Pedal Pushers Cycling out of Collingwood, Ontario. After many successful years of hosting women’s only road & cycling camps, the opportunity to expand and include a kids program presented itself. The Collingwood Cycling Club was looking for a new youth program leader, as founder Jen Scholte was stepping down from the role. She, along with many volunteers and Highlands Nordic trail builder Scott Holmes had carved out a wonderful program and the new leader would have some big boots to fill! When Noelle heard the news she knew intuitively that she had to step up, the group had done so much for her kids and she wanted to give back and ensure that the program would continue “It was a natural fit, I have my coaches designation, my kids were in the program since they started riding, I had been helping out the last 5-6 years and I was already immersed, I was motivated to keep it going, every year it was getting more interest and with the growth of the club itself, it made sense to continue and to grow the program.”.

The Collingwood Cycling Club is full of parents who want their kids to learn how to mountain bike in a safe and inclusive environment. “The majority of the members are part of the CCC and kids are showing interest in riding and they want to introduce kids to cycling, it’s a real grassroots program, our goal is to get these kids on bikes with other kids and ride. It’s that simple! This way it allows parents to introduce the sport to their children and if they can help out great, if they can’t that’s okay too. We create a couple hours of riding for kids each week.” Noelle also makes a great point that you can’t drop a 10 year old off at 3 Stage to go riding with their friends. By offering a weekly group session, parents can drop off their kids and know they are in great hands with a group of instructors and volunteers who care!

The weekly rides are held weekly on Monday nights from 6-8 PM at Highlands Nordic Center in Duntroon, Ontario. Noelle says the location is brilliant as the training loop is about 40 minutes long and it begins and ends in the same spot, making it impossible to get lost. Highland Nordic have been onboard since the very beginning and really helped to lay the foundation for the program. It’s an easy commute for many parents to make, which is huge when you are juggling a busy family life and all that encompasses!

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Another neat feature of the group is that kids that started out as youngsters in the program are now getting their coaching certification and passing their love of the sport to a new generation! “Simon Scholte, Jen’s son got his coaching certificate and is now leading some of the team rides.” This is a pretty huge piece of the success as this begins to create a natural mentorship, between the older kids and the younger ones. ”It’s all about creating connectivity, not only for the kids but also for the parents as well. Many CCC members are road cyclists and seeing their kids mountain bike sparks an interest within them, Pedal Pushers are offering a co-ed skills camp on Thursday, June 23 & Thursday, June 30 to help them do just that.”

It was only natural for Noelle to want to get more girls riding and she is really proud of the fact that they have grown from 3 girls participating to 12! “What we have done this year is get more girls in the program, our Pedal Pushers team have created a mentorship program just for girls and we are so excited to have two all female teams racing at The 6 hours of Gibraltar charity race that is taking place this July! We have registered our Pedal Pushers pink strong junior team and Pedal Pusher pink strong senior team in the event. None of them have raced mountain bikes before and have only taken up the sport in the last two years. There are also 3 boys teams and a mixed team as well.”

Noelle sums up her experience like this “I have always loved riding with my kids, I am passionate about cycling and volunteering. I am doing what I love and sharing this passion with my kid’s means so much. I wanted other parents to experience that joy, seeing your kid ride, makes you feel like a kid again yourself that sense of freedom, it all comes back to you through your children.”

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We just couldn’t agree more. Whether you ride on The Georgian Trail, hill climb up Grey Road 19 or float through 3 stage on a mountain bike, cycling is one of life’s most simple pleasures to be enjoyed!

For more information:

Pedal Pushers Cycling: http://www.pedal-pushers.ca/

Collingwood Cycling Club: http://www.collingwoodcyclingclub.ca/

Highland Nordic: http://www.highlandsnordic.ca/

6 Hours of Gibralter: www.6hrsofgibraltar.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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