After visiting 1,800 students from 15 schools this spring, Cycling BC’s HopOn program partnered with Westshore Parks and Recreation and the City of Victoria to help local youth further explore and develop confidence and friendships through cycling.
“Marie-Pierre and Chancellor are fantastic coaches, and our students love the skill development activities.” – Teacher Liz, Maple Bay Elementary.
Over the past year, the HopOn 3-day school program has doubled its presence in southern Vancouver Island and allocated two bike fleets (60+ bikes) to connect elementary and middle school students with our games-based curriculum during their Physical and Health Education (PHE) classes. These efforts were helped largely through our relationships with local cycling instructors from Nolan Riding and the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program.
Funded by generous donors, viaSport funding and program fees, the in-school program helps all students expand their abilities so they have the riding skills to fully participate in future cycling activities, from teacher-led bike trips to other youth bike programs, or simply to ride with family and friends in the neighbourhood.
Victoria has several options for community-based cycling programs, including PISE’s Kids on Wheels program, The Cycling Co and Nolan Riding for youth mountain bikers, Tripleshot Youth program for youth road and velodrome riders, and most recently, the Topaz and Jordi Lunn Bike Parks for kids interested in pump track. Capital Bike also provides cycling safety clinics for all ages.
To help fill the few programming gaps in the community, HopOn partnered with Westshore Parks and Recreation and the City of Victoria to provide three HopOn summer camps.
“I just wanted to drop a comment on how impressed we were with Marie-Pierre and the program this week. The amount of cycling styles and activities that our son experienced was tremendous. Getting him on a few different types of bikes was fantastic. The kids loved MP. Thank-you!” – Chris (parent)
The first camp focused on youth ages 6-9 and explored the local community via the Galloping Goose trail, plus two swimming sessions at Westshore Rec. Throughout the week, the campers explored the Victoria BMX track, the Esquimalt Lagoon and Royal Roads University grounds and mastered basic brake modulation, descending, and group riding skills. As the camp progressed, each rider received the opportunity to lead the group for a portion of the ride, helping them practice their understanding of safe group leadership and trail etiquette.
“I enjoyed watching the kids apply the new skills they learned when we took them on rides. It was great to see the kids support and motivate each other.” – Chancellor Amos, HopOn Instructor
The second camp focused on youth ages 9-12 and explored more challenging terrain, including a daily morning session on the Victoria Velodrome. Thanks to the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association each child was able to ride a track bike to learn how to pedal a fixed-gear bicycle and experience the thrill of riding the banked corners.
“I never knew how much faster you can go when you drop from the highest to the lowest part of the track! It was like a rollercoaster! – Lily, camp participant
The third and final camp, in partnership with the City of Victoria, was at the brand-new Topaz Bike Park. This camp again focused on younger participants ages 6-9 and provided a 3-hour half-day experience to build confidence on the many bumps and jumps at this new facility.
“We also focused on playing some of the HopOn games the participants remembered from their in-school experience. It was so cool to hear and see riders who were inspired by the school program and then joined us in the summer sessions” – Marie-Pierre, HopOn Instructor
To help connect your child with the HopOn program in 2024, contact us to learn how to bring the in-school program to your area or community centre.
Swipe to view more Images