The Cycle Effect hopes to empower young Routt County women with mountain biking pilot program
The Cycle Effect, a charity that empowers young women through cycling, is bringing a girls’ mountain bike pilot program to Routt County this summer.
The Cycle Effect already has full-time programs in Eagle, Summit and Mesa counties, providing mountain bike opportunities to 285 young women, 75% of which are from minority families or identify with an at-risk factor such as low-income.
“We try to remove every possible barrier so they can get on a bike and enjoy it,” Program Director Peter Barclay said. “We provide bikes, helmets, snacks, high-trained coaches, gear. If they end up racing, we provide race entries. We have everything in a trailer we pull up, and we teach them how to use it, how to have fun and be safe on it, and we ride trails. What’s really key with that, the mountain bike is really the tool. We’re really about building relationships and connections with the athletes that are in our program.”
The program will be based at Howelsen Hill, with miles of trails of all difficulties at its disposal. The six-week program will feature two classes a week throughout the summer.
Participants don’t need to have any experience or any equipment. The Cycle Effect not only provides everything a rider could need but also has coaches and mentors that weave life lessons into each class.
“A really good example we use a lot is going up a mountain bike hill,” said Barclay. “It can be difficult, but you can choose to get off your bike, and you can choose to push your bike to the top and that’s OK. But the next time you do that trail, you might get a little further, and the next time, you might get a little further. So, by the end, you’ll be at the top. That perseverance, that grit, that determination that we build on a bike, we believe transfers to everyday skills in life.”
The local pilot program is being funded through a grant awarded by The Moniker Foundation, a private, family foundation that is expanding its efforts to Routt County. Through its work in Summit and Eagle counties, the foundation learned about The Cycle Effect a year ago and is happy to finally be involved with the program.
“We just think what they’re doing is so valuable in other communities that are similar to ours,” said Rachel Sinton, a Moniker Foundation leader. “There’s definitely a need for it in our community, providing these great biking opportunities and biking opportunities to young women here. We’re super excited about it, and we would love to see it grow into a full-time program here in Routt County.”
The Cycle Effect has been around for 10 years, starting in 2010 in Eagle County. The year-round programming includes live workouts, community service, college readiness and nutritional education. One hundred percent of participants who have been part of the program for three years or more have gone to college, and 75% are the first in their families to do so. Additionally, girls who graduate high school and have been part of the program for three years get to keep a bike, courtesy of The Cycle Effect.
“We’re very excited to give this a go in a pilot program and serve the community there and bring our resources up to Routt County and enjoy that special place and make connections with the community,” Barclay said.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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