Students at Robson Community School had the opportunity to participate in the iRide cycling program last week.

iRide cycling program rides into Robson school

Students at Robson Community School participated in Cycling BC's iRide program last week.

Cycling BC’s iRide program rode into town last week with plans to expand throughout the region next year.

Professional cyclist and former Canadian National Criterium Champion (2012) Ben Chaddock brought the program, along with 25 bicycles and all the safety gear to go with them to Robson Community School for three days. During the program each grade 3-7 class got a 45-60 minute session of cycling training.

After a head injury sidelined his competitive career, Chaddock, known to the kids as Captain Cookie, found a new passion as the iRide program coordinator. “I’m here to get people excited and introduced to the program,” he said.

The iRide program is designed to introduce students aged 6-16 to cycling with a fun and free event during school gym class. According to their website their goal “is to provide all young people in BC with physical literacy through a positive cycling experience and to help create a pathway from the playground to the highest level of the sport they wish to pursue.”

Mark Jennings from Castlegar Parks and Trails was instrumental in bringing the program to Castlegar and has labeled himself an iRide champion. “Given our culture around here, I don’t think it will be a problem getting people on board with the concept,” he said. “This was sort of a pilot project, and now I would like to take it to the next level.”

“The focus of the program is safety, fun and learning through games,” explained Chaddock. The aim is to improve a student’s riding ability, no matter what level they are starting at. Those who don’t know how to ride at all are taught the basics, and those with more experience work on improving and expanding their skills. More advanced skills include navigating obstacles, ramps, stunts and other things one would experience out in the natural environment. “We finish each day with a game, reinforcing the skills we learned,” added Chaddock.

“We teach them to ride a bike first on a school ground in a safe environment with their friends, building friendships with their peers,” said Chaddock.

The program was first developed in 2008 and has grown tremendously since, especially in the past few years. In 2014, 2000 kids participated in the progam. In 2015, the number jumped to 10,000, and the expectation for this year is about the same.

Organizers plan to expand the program throughout School Districts 20 and 8 next year. Plans also include something they call the iRide games, which is a team cycling competition that would see teams from different schools compete against each other.

“All we want to do is get kids excited about biking,” said Chaddock. “In time, these people become more willing to ride to work, have a healthier lifestyle, now that they have been empowered with the ability to ride a bike… combine the friends, with the comfort level that the skills provide and you are starting to change society over the long term.”

If you are interested in helping with the program or becoming a coach contact iRide@cyclingbc.net.

 

 

Just Posted

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

PHOTOS: Castlegar swimmers at Trail meet

Castlegar swimmers took part in the Greater Trail Stingrays meet last weekend.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

Castlegar watering restrictions start this week

No watering or car washing allowed between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Fish free on Family Fishing Weekend

Family Fishing Weekend events take place June 14 to 16 with organized events in the Kootenays.

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Most Read