FAQs for Devo Mountain Bike Program

FAQ for the BJC Devo Mountain Bike Program

What about Coronavirus?

  • We have implemented a number of safety protocols including small groups, distancing, staggered times and locations, and many other steps recommended by health officials. We will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of expert medical sources, and follow the recommendations of CDC and BVSD. Read our Corona Precautions and Policies.

Where do we meet and ride?

  • We meet and ride at trails all over Boulder County. We announce the locations each week by email, and we rotate locations nearly every practice. Possible locations include Marshall Mesa, Valmont Bike Park, Betasso, Boulder Reservoir, Heil Ranch, Picture Rock, Hall Ranch and more! Advanced groups will occasionally ride further afield (Nederland, Loveland, Peak to Peak) to access a wider variety of terrain.  We do not provide transportation but will help facilitate car pooling.  Click here for a full list of locations and maps.

How does a ride work?

  • We meet at the trailhead at the designated time and the coaches take attendance. To avoid trailhead crowding our groups are often staggered, and will leave the trailhead promptly.
  • 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.  Some days will be more ride focused than skill focused.  The goal is not maximum mileage in a day but a combination of skills and fitness, while having a great time.
  • Coaches are often in contact with each other via radios or cell phone, 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.

What is your weather policy?

  • We almost NEVER cancel practice due to bad weather. We ride in the rain and snow! Be ready! Please dress for the conditions that day! This will range from very hot to very cold, and include rain, snow, wind, sleet, etc. When trails are too muddy to ride, we’ll ride other locations. In the case of extreme weather we will cancel practice, but it almost never happens. We do not provide make up days. There is some truth to the saying “there is no bad weather, just bad clothing choices”. Learn all about clothing choices here.

How will BJC communicate with me? 

  • BJC uses TeamSnap for registration and communication.  This app must be installed on parent and rider mobile phones as this is how we send out alerts and other related information.

Does BJC Offer scholarships, financial support, or equipment support?

  • Yes! We strongly encourage families to contact us about assistance paying for program fees, equipment/clothing costs, and racing costs. Finances should never be a reason a family can’t join our team! BJC has a scholarship fund set aside for this purpose, and we are honored to provide nearly $20,000 in financial scholarships and equipment every year. While some BJC programs sell out very quickly, we always hold spots open for those kids who might be a scholarship candidate. You won’t lose your spot on the team! Applications are welcome anytime, but we prefer to receive them at least a month in advance of the program start date if possible. We look forward to all inquiries.

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 significant non-riding time if you check your child’s helmet each practice to ensure it is still snug. Here is a quick video on fitting a helmet and a step by step of what to look for when buying a helmet.
  • A backpack or hydration pack: All riders need to carry a snack(s), a drink, a rain jacket and wear appropriate clothing on EVERY ride.  One water bottle equivalent of water is needed per hour of ride time.  We find a camelbak system the most effective way for riders to stay hydrated. Snack(s) should be nutritious and quick and easy to eat and around 200-300 calories for spring/fall rides.   For the longer summer rides 300-400 calories are required.  Think a Clif Bar, PB&J Sandwich, fruit.  Avoid candy, chocolate, and chips.
  • 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 it is not a quick release bike wheel, the tool needed to remove the wheel.  Note: even riders with tubeless tires must carry a tube.  
  • Bike Gloves: gloves protect your hands in case of a fall and take a lot of the edge off of small bumps.   
  • Glasses: we strongly suggest sunglasses or riding glasses to protect from the sun and dust and debris
  • Bike Shorts and Jersey: shorts 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 so you may see snow and rain and scorching hot temperatures. Here’s info on ordering BJC kits. We ride in all weather conditions, check out this video for tips on cold and wet weather.
  • 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!
  • This video shows you everything you need to pack on a BJC ride

Does my rider need special pedals?  When should my rider go “clipless”?

  • 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 BJC Devo coaches strongly encourage riders to be able to do the following skills before shifting to clipless pedals.  
  1. Be able to comfortably wheelie (ride on your back wheel) for 8 pedal strokes.  
  2. Be able to bunnyhop higher than a curb comfortably at speed. 
  3. Be comfortable lifting the front wheel by doing a basic manual. 
  4. Be comfortable dropping and stepping up a 18- 24 inch height.   
  • If you are unsure of what these skills are, chances are your rider should be on flat pedals.   Check out the BJC Video library for examples of these skills, and how to learn them.    These are key skills that are taught in BJC MTB Devo, and being on clipless pedals hinders learning these skills.

What are “tubeless” tires?

  • Tubeless tires are highly recommended, as it significantly decreases the number of flats a rider will have in a season.  This involves using sealant inside the tire instead of a tube.  This video explains all you need to know about it.  The Trek Store Boulder or any local bike shop can help you with a tubeless set up.  Another option is to add a product called slime to your tubes, this video explains how to do this.

What is a Dropper Post?

  • Droppers are a way for riders to raise and lower their seat while peddling the bike, by using a thumb lever on the handle bars.   This is a great addition to a bike, and is highly recommended for upper level Devo riders.   This is a mandatory piece of equipment for our Shredders Team.

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!  Advanced groups will occasional ride further afield (Nederland, Loveland, Peak to Peak) to access a wider variety of terrain

Will my child race?

  • Only if they want to, but we strongly encourage it. We try and have a team race each month, plus BJC will have coaches at designated short track races at Valmont Bike Park for the Wednesday race series. 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. 

Do you offer make-up sessions?  Can my child switch which day they ride?

  • We do not offer make-up sessions, and riders are required to stay with their designated group/day unless there have been discussions regarding a permanent move to another group.

Is BJC SafeSport Certified?

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.  We ride in all weather conditions, check out this video for tips on cold and wet weather clothing.

We hear coaches say self-reliant riders a lot.  What does this mean?

  • 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.  Watch this video to see how to pack for a BJC ride.   

What is your cancellation and refund policy?

  •  If we have to cancel or change locations you will be informed via the TeamSnap app and email.  TeamSnap is how we communicate and track riders, and is an easily downloaded app.  We do not offer makeup sessions.  Our cancellation and refund policy can be found here.

Who are the 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 regarded 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.