Kids on bikes… lots of them!

Bikes! Snow! Bikes + snow? = Cyclocross. This week Bend is hosting the Cyclocross National Championships… it has brought forth a profusion of cyclists young and old, large and small, professional racers and recreational riders. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ‘Cross racing, visit PDX ‘Cross for a visual representation of what might be the most diverse cycling event around. In brief, a race usually involves skinny tires, mud, a bit of running, and A LOT of smiles. I love Cyclocross because it feels like a true celebration of ‘all things bike’. Out on the course it is highly probable you will see a lycra-clad athlete riding alongside a fellow bike-lover huffing and puffing in his jeans. Seriously.

My favorite part about this week’s event is watching the kiddos. The crowds always cheer the loudest for those teeny boys and girls pedaling their little hearts out. These young cyclists warm my heart! Introducing bikes to a child early in life is a key component to developing a lifelong cyclist who rides for fitness, transport and enjoyment.

What about the non-racers? I believe strongly in providing access to bikes for ALL youth – not only those privileged enough to attend a National Championship. In that vein, for youth who simply want to give their cycling legs a trial spin, The Bend Endurance Academy created a bike rodeo featuring a skill building obstacle course, loaner bikes & helmets. Bend also is home to a fantastic Community Bike Shed that refurbishes and services bikes for low-income residents.

I’m off to watch the races. I’ll try to get some photos of the kiddos and the crowds to post later on!

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