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SO, YOU HAVE A YOUNG RIDER: Opportunities For Young Riders in NWA

Today is the first school day of a new year for most kids in NWA. This has many parents thinking about bike-related education for their young riders. Regularly, Mojo employees are asked about training or classes. Until recently, we threw our arms up. It’s been frustrating to have a coherent picture. That’s about to change.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Ciara Logan. She’s the recently appointed Project Manager for NWA’s Trail Blazers. Part of her voluminous job description entails coordinating events & classes that’ll aid kids with their cycling goals. Ciara is a firebrand & wasted no time getting projects, classes & other activities coordinated. Our interview began with Ciara talking about a project in which my wife, Becci Neal, is involved. Janie Darr Elementary School in Rogers will host an in-school pilot project for kids in the 2nd to 5th grade range. Known as the Trail Blazer BMX Program it will focus on teaching kids basic bike handling skills. To accomplish this goal, a full complement of brand new BMX bikes have been provided to the school. This program begins this new semester, as school gets under-way.

If you’re not lucky enough to live in the Janie Darr area, don’t fret. Funds have been allocated for a new Arkansas-wide program, called Bike Club. (The first rule of Bike Club is to not talk about Bike Club . . . Hahahaha.) The goal of Bike Club is to introduce kids around the state to the cycling lifestyle. The program is planned to be organized by elementary schools throughout the state & will teach bike handling techniques. Classes will take place after school. To accomplish the lofty goal of reaching all Arkansas students, there will be a focus on lower-income & minority riders. Personal bikes will be provided to students who do not own one, so that they can participate. To learn if your school has joined the program, contact your kid’s school administration. If they have yet to opt in, petition for them to join.

NICA is still strong, & growing, in NWA. NICA is for 6th – 12th graders & is a race-oriented program, teaching kids to ride competitively while placing them in a team environment. NICA is a great place for kids who want to be part of a team environment, but are not the stereotypical football or basketball player. Additionally, NICA has been responsible for training NUMEROUS riders in the NWA area who have proceeded to the university sphere on bike-racing scholarships. To learn about this program, contact your kid’s school coach. The program is not administered by the school system, but is based upon school areas, so local school systems are well-aware of how to get you in-touch with your local coaches. You can also contact NICA on-line.

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