The Smithers Mountain Bike Association held their annual Youth Mountain Bike Camp last week to help the next generation of bluff riders hone their skills and take their riding to the next level.
Teaching the basics of safety and maintenance, the camp started with an introduction to how a bike should be working, what to do in case of a flat on the hill and how to stay safe ripping down trails.
Instructor, Oren MacDougall said with the amount of talent in the valley kids are riding harder and faster than ever and for those wanting to improve their skills it’s all about getting out to ride.
“It’s all just time on the bike for these kids,” he said.
“They’re young and we need to help them change little things to make them better.”
In the last three years, the SMBA has been instrumental in developing the trail system on Hudson Bay Mountain.
With more than $400,000 put into mountain trails, the young generation of riders are growing up with top-of-the-line trails.
“A lot of these kids are on the cusp of being able to ride the trails,” MacDougall said.
“You can tell some of the kids have been on the trails but some just haven’t had the opportunity yet.”
Although Smithers has an abundance of intense trails that make even the most skilled riders nervous at times, the SMBA is also dedicated to giving new riders the stepping stones needed to get into the sport.
“It’s amazing at how fast they can get so good with what we have here,” MacDougall said.
Between the ages of eight and 13, MacDougall said it was awesome to see so many younger kids wanting to get into mountain biking.
“The first thing I learned was how to go over that straight bumpy log,” Lilly Thompson said.
After riding for a few years, Thompson knows a thing or two about riding.
“Stay in the middle and don’t go over the side and crash,” Thompson said is the key to success on skinnies.
In it for life, Thompson hopes to be hitting the trails real soon.
But it’s not all about riding trails.
For Connor Newberry it’s more about the tricks of the trade so to speak, that make him a more confident rider.
“I’ve been taught to really pull up and push coming off the skids and that’s what I’ve been practising a lot today,” he said.
Riding downhill for only two years it’s quickly become his favorite sport and Newberry hopes when the camp is over, he’ll be able to pull a much better wheelie.
Getting the kids excited about the sport is exactly what MacDougall wants to see.
Better training means better riding.
“We want to see kids have fun and come out and get even more pumped about the sport after the camp,” MacDougall said.