Plans are proceeding to introduce an innovative cycling instruction program for youth into area schools. Cycling BC, in conjunction with Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club, the Kootenay Freewheelers and the Wildhorse Cycling Club, is working with local schools to establish the iRide program, which provides young people with the bicycle riding skills that will build their confidence and enthusiasm for riding a bike.
John Mandryk, a local cycling coach involved with the program, says the response from the all the schools approached so far has been excellent. “We expect to have at least six schools in Cranbrook participating and a couple in Kimberley,” Mandryk told the Townsman.
But to deliver the program in schools, certified coaches are needed. And those interested in helping out with iRide in this regard can take the iRide Coaching Certification Program, on April 2 and 3, 2016 in Cranbrook at Gordon Terrace Elementary School.
Mandryk says the commitment is taking the course for a weekend and then participating in at least four hours of school instruction.
“We are optimistic that we will enlist coaches from within the schools, from teachers and anyone else who has an interest in the program,” Mandrik said.
He added that the only prerequisites are a passion for the sport of cycling and the ability to communicate with a group of happy children to improve their cycling skills.
“The benefit to the coaches is that you will develop fundamental cycling skills personally and skills that you can teach to the children as well as to friends and family.
“In my 35 years coaching cycling from recreation to national championships, I can tell anyone interested that the courses and coaching are a lot of fun and you learn something worthwhile from every course you take.”
Mandryk said the program has been wildly successful in the Lower Mainland, and has been building in the Okanagan over the past year.
“This year, we want to provide youth in the East Kootenay, starting in Cranbrook and Kimberley with the opportunity. We are targeting Grade 4 and some Grade 3 classes. “
With enough participation, the cost of the coaching certification can be significantly reduced and participants will get full value from the program.
“The full price is $170, but we are hoping to reduce it by half if we fill the program with 20 coaches,” Mandryk said. “We have six coaches who have indicated their commitment to date, so it should fill up fast.”
The overall goal of iRide is to provide children with the joyful experience of bicycle riding with friends and family, promoting healthful activity in the East Kootenay, where cycling culture is at the forefront. “We have some of the best off road trails and our world class paved North Star Rails to Trails, connecting Cranbrook and Kimberley as cycling trails,” Mandryk said. “The potential here is unlimited.”
To sign on with iRide Coaching Certification Program, April 2 and 3 at Gordon Terrace Elementary School, go to http://cyclingbc.net/event/iride-certification-cranbrook/