Riders ready. Watch the gate. Beeeep…
And they’re off. Half a dozen small riders on equally small BMX bikes roll down the ramp at the Everett BMX track, taking the dirt jumps and berms with as much or little speed as they dare.
It is day three of a week-long Group Health Bike Camp and the campers are visiting McCollum Park.
“WOW. This is really fun. Like really fun,” said Rylee, a first-time camper.
The Group Health Bike Camp is a week-long YMCA Camp which introduces kids to different types of biking.
“Every day is a little different: BMX track, mountain and road riding are the basic riding styles we get to test out. It is a great camp because each camper excels at something different thus they have a great time,” said Jenny Almgren., Education Programs Assistant at Cascade Bicycle Club.
This is the second year that the camp visits McCollum BMX track, and it’s been a great success.
“The kids hands-down, love the BMX track. It is something that really gives them a chance to try something new. It’s a real challenge,” said Almgren. “I love the look on their face when they realize they can do it. It’s a real ‘ah-ha’ moment.”
The BMX portion of the camp is instructed by Big Dave, an experienced coach who has moved a lot of riders into championship positions.
“He has a great way with kids. He also brings in students he has coached to help out. The riders are nationally ranked riders and the kids love hanging out with them,” said Almgren.
The summer camp welcomes up to 12 kids, ages nine through 12, at a time, and Almgren was excited to see many returners this year.
“I knew I was coming back to camp so I went out and bought some really cool pants and gloves to ride my bike with,” said Collin, a return-camper who came back especially for the BMX day.
In addition to a day at McCollum Park, the campers also learn about road rules, go mountain biking with Trips for Kids in St. Edward State Park, attend a Freeride Stunt Course, and complete a ten-mile road ride on the Burke Gilman Trail.