June 25, 2015 Comments (0) Cycling News, Home Page Middle Content

Edgehill School Rips up the Trails

Last September I was hiking with Mary Payne, one of the teachers at Edgehill, and we were talking about some of the amazing things Powell River schools are doing. From the Outdoor Adventure Program at Kelly Creek to the Eco-Immersion program at James Thomson, there are some great opportunities for kids in Powell River. We wondered what we could offer at Edgehill Elementary that would be fun, physically active and unique, and voila! The Edgehill Rippers Mountain Biking Club was born!

The mountain biking club is organized and led by parent volunteers and teachers. Mike McHugh, an Edgehill parent and avid mountain biker, has taken the lead role of navigating the group through the trails. The club is fully supported by the principal and staff at Edgehill. Rippers membership is open to all students Grade 3 and older.

Our first two sessions were skills sessions held on the school field, where we ran the kids through a simulated course and taught them safety and skills using Sprockids® principles. After that, we were ready to hit the trails!

We ride on Monday afternoons after school for about 1.5 to 2 hours. On any given Monday we have 25-32 student riders and at least five teachers, as well as parents and special PRCA guests.

We really want the club to be inclusive–we are aware that not every child who might be interested can afford a mountain bike. To that end, the club has been blessed by Claire Finnamore, an EA at the school. Claire is a bike technician who has been able to repair and rebuild bikes that have been donated to the school. Club members who do not own a bike or whose bikes might not be appropriate or safe can borrow one to ride. Claire also does a safety check and tune-ups as needed right before every ride on Mondays.

The Friends of Powell River on Facebook provided amazing support by helping us get the word out for our need for donated bikes. Additionally, our club received donations via refundable bottle returns from the Sunshine Coast Health Centre to help fund our endeavours.

The Rippers also received a grant through Sustainable Schools, which we have used to purchase bike parts and build leader back-packs.

We are very excited by the amazing response we have had this year, and fully anticipate that this will be a sustainable program that we can continue to offer into the future.

Thanks for your interest and support!
Kim Leahy

Photo credit:  Jennifer Frost

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