My sister and I always loved our Saturday afternoon bike rides, but something was missing. We wanted to learn more about what makes our mountain bikes work, and how to get the most out of them when we’re exploring the park by our house.
I’m so glad our parents signed us up for Mountain Bike Camp. We spent a whole week outside on the nature trails at Warner Park: I felt so much more connected to nature by the end of the week. Plus, we got to learn the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [or STEM] concepts that make our bikes “tick”.
One of the coolest things about camp was getting expert instruction from a lifelong cyclist, Doug Ferrar. He should us how to repair and control our mountain bikes, and how to get past obstacles on the trail safely (and have fun while we’re at it)!
Before Camp, I only knew the basics about how to ride my bike. Now I can figure out what’s wrong with my bike when there’s a problem, and show you how to fix it!
I know it’s important to be safe on the trail, but I sometimes let my fear of obstacles get in the way of having fun and learning new techniques. When I saw my sister doing jumps and wheelies, and what a great time she was having, I wanted to join! Now I know how controlling the bike and knowing the right navigation tricks can help you overcome the little bumps along the way and fuel your sense of adventure.
We learned all the nuts and bolts of our bikes (literally)! Here are just a few of the themes of our sessions (and some of the cool tricks we got to learn and practice in our group games and races):
- Pressure comparison tests
- Pedal Kicks and Wheelies
- Riding the rear wheel
- Balance and positioning
- Cornering, pumping, and braking
- Pump-Distance challenge
- Step-Up challenge
- Small Jumps
- Slow races
- Mini-Trials Competitions
My sister has always been interested in science, and her favorite part of Camp was learning how STEM concepts help you to be a better cyclist. Understanding things like friction, force, and energy can help you go faster without getting exhausted. Finding your center of gravity means you won’t lose your balance. And knowing how to use leverage when you move helps you do jumps and tricks safely. She’s really excited to tell her physics teacher what she learned, and it helped me get more excited for my science classes when I realized that I can learn the things I learn in class when I’m having fun on the trail.
I met a lot of new friends who love cycling, too. Our groups were competitive which is always fun, but the sportsmanship was awesome, and our number one focus was having a great time. It was really relaxing to be surrounded by the beauty of nature, and I feel a lot more confident on my bike now than I did before coming to Camp. I can’t wait to come back next summer.
OK- time to get back on the trail!