Mountain bikers from throughout the region gathered at Duthie Hill Park in Issaquah on Saturday, Oct. 6, for Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance’s 10th annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.
The event, held at Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park in Issaquah, featured a variety of activities and trail riding opportunities for families of all skill levels. Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance held skills clinics, guided rides, games, and giveaways to promote biking and trail use.
Evergreen is a nonprofit group dedicated to trail maintenance, trail building, advocacy, education and volunteer work. They have eight chapters and more than 5,000 members throughout the state of Washington. Bryan Rivard, senior marketing manager, said the annual kids event was started on a national level by the International Mountain Bike Alliance and was picked up on a local level.
Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park was designed and built by Evergreen as part of their trail building projects. Several biking trails of various skill levels have been crafted around a central clearing at the park, allowing participants to adjust which paths to take to match their skill level and learn to take on harder challenges.
Funding for the park came from Community Partnership, Youth Sports Facilities and Youth Athletic Fund grants from King County, as well as support from volunteers, private donors and corporate donors.
In addition to the trails, Evergeen’s event also had games and skills classes taught by instructors. Thomas Hargrave, volunteer instructor, ran a training activity to get young riders to practice their balance while moving slowly.
Hargrave and the other instructors had kids ride slowly in a circle and, over time, made the circle smaller and smaller. Riders who touched the ground or lost balance would be eliminated until only one was left on two wheels.
“It’s to encourage them to be able to ride in control in close quarters and still be stable and balanced on their bikes,” Hargrave said. “(Duthie Hill Park) is another example of an outdoor classroom people are visiting and learning at.”
Mountain biking group Sweetlines also attended the event, hosting a small track for young children as well as rides for older riders around some of the trails. Sweetlines is a biking camp and coaching company with a focus on women and youth. Sweetlines coaches and junior racing team led some of the events on Saturday, like a guided ride bootcamp and an advanced ride through one of trails at Duthie Hill Park.
Despite the cold and some light rain, riders were as enthusiastic and excited to get riding as ever, Rivard said. Watching the community come together for a day of biking, learning and teaching has made Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day one of Rivard’s favorite yearly events.
“People are more excited than they’ve ever been,” he said. “For me, just watching the community expand at such an incredible rate has been mind boggling.”