Our goal is to have kids having a ton of fun riding mountain bikes (MTB) on the trails in Boulder County, and learning progressive skills to help them continue to improve and develop, while following the mission statement of BJC. This program has both recreational and race options, and as a lifetime sport we strive to meet the needs to all budding and experience mt bikers.
What equipment does my child need to ride mountain bikes with BJC?
- A mountain bike. Please see this BJC article about how to choose a bike.
- A certified and well fitting bike helmet. Bike helmets need to be fitted properly. You can save our coaches a ton of non-riding time if you check your child’s helmet each practice to ensure it is still snug. Here is what to look for.
- Bike Gloves: gloves protect your hands in case of a fall and take a lot of the edge off of small bumps.
- Bike Shorts and Jersey: these have some padding and protection from chafing and bumps. A BJC kit is not a “must have”, but most riders wear one. Baggy “mtb style” shorts are sometimes more popular with the kids than the racing skin tight lycra ones. A jersey is made of wicking material, helping temperature regulation. We ride in almost all weather. We may see snow and rain and scorching hot temperatures. Here’s info on ordering BJC kits.
What else do I need?
- A backpack or hydration pack: All riders need to carry a snack, a drink, a rain jacket and wear appropriate clothing on EVERY ride.
- Bike Repair Kit. This can be carried in the backpack or on the bike in a seat bag. Each rider must carry a tube that fits their bike wheel size and valve type, a pump or CO2 inflator, a multi-tool, and if not a quick release bike wheel, the tool needed to remove the wheel.
- Closed toe shoes: Cycling specific shoes are not necessary, unless the rider is in clipless (click in) pedals. Normal running shoes with a good sole are great!
Does my rider need special pedals?
- Pedals: clipless vs. flat pedals. Clipless pedals “click in” kind of like a ski binding and require specific shoes whereas flat pedals are rideable with running shoes. There is no need for riders to be on clipless pedals, and no rush to get there. IF your rider is comfortable clicking in and out on clipless that is fine, but there is no rush to go clipless. In fat there are many benefits to be on regular flat pedals, especially when learning.
Where do we ride?
- All over Boulder County. We start with basic trails and build from there. By the end of the season the riders are comfortable on almost all the trails in Boulder County: Marshall Mesa, Valmont Bike Park, Betasso, Boulder Reservoir, Heil Ranch, Picture Rock, Hall Ranch and more!
How does a ride work?
- We meet at the trailhead at the designated time and the coaches take attendance.
- We subdivide into 2-4 groups based upon age/skill/speed/peer group and the goal of that particular ride.
- Each group will have a ride plan with the trails they will be riding and the skill to be worked on that day. Skills are taught progressively and involve repetition and direct feedback to the rider. Certain trails are better suited for certain skills, and rides are planned accordingly. Ride length and overall fitness are also goals we work on. ome days will be more ride focused than skill focused.
- Coaches are in contact with each other via radios, but each group has its own lead coach each day.
- Prior to returning to the trailhead at the designated time, each group huddles up and recaps the key points of each day.
Will my child race?
- Only if they want to, but we strongly encourage it. We try and make a goal race each month, and also partake in the Short Track Race series Wednesday nights at Valmont Bike Park. Details will follow.
Can parents ride?
- We like to let the kids have fun without the parents, having a parent along can affect the dynamics for the child considerably… but that doesn’t mean you can’t ride with us occasionally. You need to have the skills, fitness and equipment to ride. If interested, please talk to the coach specifically. We will have rides where MTB friendly parents are encouraged, and occasionally we will send out requests to have parent support on a longer ride. See Family Rides Below
Please read this section, it answers a lot more questions that you may have, and is info that BJC needs you to have.
Food: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feed your rider before practice. This means a good healthy snack after school and before the ride in our spring session, and a good healthy breakfast before our summer rides. The kids ride, and they ride a lot. They burn a ton of calories so please pack a snack and water/sport drink for during the ride too. At least one full bottle of fluid should be consumed during during our ride and most kids eat at least 200-300 calories (1 sport bar + something else) during a practice.
Clothing and BJC Bag: a rain jacket and appropriate clothing for the weather is required at every ride. This can mean a hat under the helmet, a fleece, a wind / rain jacket, and warm gloves in cold weather. In hot weather it means shorts and a jersey, but with the rain jacket in the pack. Please note that the weather can change drastically from when you drop your rider off at school in the morning at school and when we ride after school. For this reason we strongly suggest a “BJC BAG” with all BJC needed items that is kept separate for school supplies. This makes it easy to always have what you need, and for the riders to be self reliant and responsible. Cotton is NEVER a good idea. It is horrible when wet, and can chaffe and offers poor insulation value.
Self reliance: we want the riders to be self reliant and responsible for themselves. This goes from having the equipment needed at each practice, to food/drink, to fixing bikes and beyond. We teach skills to help them get there, please help us by making your riders responsible for their BJC Bag, bike, and equipment at home.
Help my kid is better than me!
We hear this a lot. We work in a proven skill and fitness progression, and parents are often shocked that their children can out ride them, in skill and or fitness! REALLY!
In response to this BJC, for the first time ever, will be offering parent sessions this year to help you learn the skills need to ride with your child. BJC love the idea of you getting the basics from us and then riding with your child and having them teach you what they learned this week, or if you are an advance rider having you support our teaching methodology at home.
When a child teaches an adult a skill there is a empowerment to the child, and to teach a skill correctly means the child has a strong understanding of the skill themselves.
Family Rides: We will be offering family rides this season, where parents and siblings can come ride in a non coached ride.
Weather: There is some truth to the saying “there is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices”. We ride in most weather, our limiting factor is often trail closures due to wetness. We often adapt and make use of paved parking lots and bike paths.
Cancellations: If we have to cancel or change locations you will be informed via the TeamSnap app and email. TeamSnap is how we communicated and track riders, and is an easily downloaded app.
Coaches: Passionate mountain bikers and skilled instructors and coaches. The quality of our coaches is what sets us apart and has made us a recognized Center of Excellence by USA Cycling every year since 2008. Expect quality coaching and instruction.
Lester Pardoe – Head Coach
Lester has been with the program since before BJC even formally existed. After a degree in Physical Education, Lester attended the highly regarding National Coaching Institute of Canada, a 2 year coach development education program. Lester has coached at all levels from grassroots development to the Olympic Games, and is a certified coach across a multitude of sports. A 3x Olympic qualifier in speed skating, Lester has worked in sport development and education for Olympic Committees, multiple Olympic facilities, and numerous clubs and associations over the past 25 years.