THE JOY OF RIDING AND EXPLORING NATURE
Every kid in every community deserves the opportunity to know the joy of riding a bike while enjoying the freedom to explore the natural world on two wheels. Since 1988 we have taken over 200,000 kids out on scenic, fun and safe riding adventures through gorgeous parks, forests or other natural areas. For some on our Discovery Trail Rides this is their first venture beyond the boundaries of their urban neighborhoods! For kids in our Adventure Clubs, riding is a regular activity promoting healthy, active lifestyles.
Discovery Trail Rides are:
First-time experiences for kids who have probably never ridden on a group trail ride in a natural area like a city or regional park. These rides can be a life-changing experience. Imagine your first time on a trail...on a bike...in the woods...with your peers...learning and laughing...breathing it all in...the breeze, the challenge...wow.
Adventure Clubs are:
Like any other club, they are a group of peers bonding and learning and overcoming obstacles and having fun together...over and over. Kids ride together multiple times with adult role models over the course of a summer, or school year, or longer. They may end up going on road trips or to bike camps, participating in races or other types of events, and may become friends along the way.
Group trail riding helps to build confidence that carries over to the classroom with improved academic performance, better grades and healthier, happier social interactions.
BONDING WITH PEERS
Participating in positive and healthy trail riding adventures brings kids together, benefitting everyone, especially those from underserved communities.
CONNECTING WITH NATURE
Riding bikes in natural areas can foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of nature and instill environmental values that can last a lifetime.
FUN AND HEALTHY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Riding bikes develops an increased understanding of the benefits of exercise and good nutrition. Kids may notice improved fitness levels, especially those who’ve participated in multiple rides.
How It Works
Local Trips for Kids chapter leaders establish a working relationship with local schools, parks and recreation departments, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA chapters, churches, and other youth- related organizations. Then we invite them to come out and ride!
Trails and pathways are identified that are appropriate for beginner/intermediate-level riders between 10- 17 years old. Routes are selected that are on dirt and sometimes paved trails in natural areas such as parks and open spaces. Ride lengths are typically between 3-5 miles in length, and are mostly flat with some minor uphill and downhill segments that can provide just enough challenge to give kids a sense of accomplishment without being dangerous, difficult or scary.
A meeting time and staging location are determined, and Trips for Kids ride leaders meet the group at the trailhead, or park, or paved path entrance. Often Trips for Kids chapters will supply bicycles and helmets for the kids to use. Ride Leaders have passed criminal background checks and are expert riders with CPR/ First Aid certification. Ride leaders may be seasoned experts from local bike clubs and teams, and/ or are certified through nationally-recognized training programs. Ride leaders are proficient in these categories, at a minimum: mountain biking skills, ride facilitation skills, trail riding risk management, working with youth, bike ride trip planning and basic bike mechanics. Ride leaders will have previously trained the other Ride Volunteers on assisting with a group bike ride with kids. There is at least one responsible adult for every six kids on a Trips for Kids ride, at a minimum.
Everyone arrives at the trailhead—game on! The experience often begins with an opening circle introduction followed by lessons on personal, bike-riding and trail safety, an equipment check, and then a pre-ride skills development session.
The ride begins! The Trail Rides Program is more than just a fun bike ride; ride leaders will typically incorporate lessons into the ride experience such as identifying natural features like flora and fauna, history and geological highlights, and will occasionally stop the group to discuss other aspects of their shared experience. Life lessons abound on a Trips for Kids trail ride!
The ride ends, everyone returns safely to the trailhead. The group forms another circle, and a debriefing discussion takes place, covering shared experiences, lessons learned, and “Aha!” moments. Then they say goodbye—kids return home to tell their friends, guardians and teachers about their memorable and perhaps life-changing Trips for Kids trail ride.