Before this Summer, over a year had passed since you could spot the iconic Ghisallo Bike Club rambling through the neighborhoods of Austin as a sea of orange and green helmets. With Covid cases on the decline at the end of May and a whole lot of kids hankering to get outside, we began planning our Summer bike schedule with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and AISD. We connected with Metz/Mendez, Dittmar, Montopolis, and Dove Springs Recreation Centers, plus Allison Elementary School to coordinate fun and interactive bike programming that would be inclusive for all youth. In June, Ghisallo Cycle Academy commenced BikeStart (our Learn-to-Ride program) for younger riders, Bike Club for our more experienced riders, and Mountain Biking 101 for our adventurous teens to explore gravel trails.
One of the best parts of riding with kids is seeing their abilities to master new skills at quick speeds. When we started on the first day of Metz Bike Club, 5 kids in the 8-11 age groups had not yet learned how to ride a bike. Over the course of just a few hours and a few days, these 5 kids grasped the concepts of balancing and pedaling, and were biking on the roads with the rest of the crew in no time. After a few weeks, they took the lead on navigating and chose to ride the Central Library, over 6 miles roundtrip!
Eager and energized, our bikers have been ALL over the city! Mary Moore Searight Park, Butler Metro Park, Rog G Guerrero Park, Comal Pocket Park, and many more parks, playgrounds, splash pads, and public places, these mighty riders have pedaled lots of miles to fun destinations!
Metz and Montopolis Bike Clubs frequently rode the Hike and Bike Trail accessing the Festival Beach Food Forest, as well as the Boggy Creek Trail and Pedernales Bikeway to get to Rosewood splash pad. Dittmar Bike Club focused on teaching the younger campers how to ride with our BikeStart program, while the older kids shred the dirt trails at Mary Moore Searight Park. Dove Springs Recreation Bike Club took advantage of their newly renovated campus, exploring lots of new trails and facilities. They also had a successful BikeStart program for their younger riders, with a high success rate. Finally, Allison Elementary spent their summer exploring Roy Guerrero Colorado River Park Trail in the Montopolis neighborhood.
Community connection, education, accessibility, safety, and FUN are key to Ghisallo programming. We have been overjoyed to bring bike clubs back and explore with campers this summer.