Downhill Event To Attract Young Off-road Cyclists

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Tue 24/Feb/15 12:48pm

February is National Bike Wise Month. While many children are learning to be safe, and signal on the roads, the Wellington Off-Road Riding Department (WORD) is heading for the hills for something more challenging.


Registrations are now open for two big downhill events at Mt Victoria on 23 March.

The charitable Wellington organisation was founded in 2013 to develop children and youth into passionate lifelong mountain bikers. WORD has encouraged new friendships, and fosters a life-long love of mountain biking by increasing the number of children and youth participating in the sport.

WORD, which is funded by KiwiSport through Sport Wellington, runs programmes for those aged 7 -17 in various Wellington locations. WORD saw a gap in encouraging cycling, particularly cycling that is instructor-based, and is running ‘after school’ and community holiday programmes for children and youth who can then bike with confidence on and off the road - including to school.

"We started with 10 kids in early 2013, and now it’s grown to 140 children," says WORD

co-ordinator and founder Ash Burgess. She says groups focus on both skill ability and fitness. Instructor-based group levels range from a newbie, to those who want to do big, faster and "styley" jumps, so cyclists can "ride with mates of similar radness".

While most membership is through word of mouth, WORD links in with the Wellington Mountain Bike Club and local cycling clubs to get the word out. Parents also turn up and many go on bike rides with other parents while their children are riding.

Parents see how much fun it is and they want to join in," Ms Burgess says. "The childcare is all sorted."

WORD’s upcoming events are the Super D and the Mini D - both on 23 March - at Mount Victoria, with more than 150 expected to attend. The event is held in conjunction with the Wellington Mountain Bike Club, and registrations are now open, at a cost of $30.

A Super D race is best described as a Downhill Cross-Country race. It features a track that includes short technical elements and small jumps from downhill. It also has some pedaling to ensure that fitness and pedaling speed are rewarded.
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