In 2019 we partnered with the Vamos Outdoors Project, a local organization whose mission is to build community through access to outdoor education. We built and donated 10 bikes for the program to keep and teach kids that come from challenging backgrounds how to ride. The kids are also taught how to build and maintain trails, ensuring they have a stake in their local environment.
We just received the report from Vamos’ first year in action and wanted to share some of the results.
“This bike program has run through a full year cycle. The returning kids are excited and very engaged, and it doesn’t take but a few rides for newcomer boys and girls to catch the mountain bike bug. We have cultivated a solid group of 23 participants. At the beginning of this idea, last fall, the kids were shy, reticent and not too sure what to make of this sport. We would often have only a handful of kids show up.
“Over time, though, and through active participation and word of mouth we now regularly have 12-16 kids coming each week. Some of the kids have embraced mountain biking to the point where it is the only bright light in their lives. This is why we love doing this and why your contribution means so much!
By providing mountain bikes and access to Galbraith Mountain and the trails gives the kids the opportunity to learn basic mountain bike skills, and work on progressions. One of the components I found interesting and most challenging for the kids and safety was that most of the kids had to learn how to control their speed on the bike in relation to the trail difficulty, a learned skill, and one we riders take for granted. Having not been exposed to that type of experience before meant hard work for them to learn it. Attaining that skill was/is so empowering.
We have offered 26 ride opportunities over the span of this last year. 23 participants attending, some not missing one of those days. 2019 served 286 rider days.” -Char Waller, Director of Education liaison for the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition