The RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre (PRTC) will be opening its gates to the Chilliwack Bike Expo on June 10, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The event is hosted by B.C.’s iRide program.
Designed to inspire young riders and make connections between schools and youth cycling groups, iRide has been helping children master their bikes for a decade.
“(The program) was started in 2008, but in 2015, we changed the format,” said Ben Chaddock, who manages the provincial program.
“We have worked with 45,000 kids across the province,” continued Chaddock. “And we (now) have 20 summer camps, 25 after school programs, and visit 80 schools a year.”
By providing opportunities for youth to experience cycling within the safe and secure confines of the program, iRide hopes to teach children that “cycling is something they can do, that it’s a real sport, and there are real professional opportunities,” said Chaddock.
“IRide isn’t here to take away niches, we’re here to fill in the gaps and needs of the community,” he added. “We want to create programs that will help.”
IRide, which works with children who can already ride bikes unassisted, will help kids gain the confidence and skill set to take their biking further.
“We teach them through games,” said Chaddock. “The kids don’t even realize they’re learning the proper technique for their bikes.”
The event, which is free, is open to cyclists of all ages, however, riders need to be able to peddle unassisted (no training wheels or balancing devices).
Held in partnership with the RCMP and Triathlon B.C., Chaddock says the Expo is the perfect place to get some bicycling practice.
“This is a very special opportunity to learn … on a closed circuit, (which) provides an opportunity for people to learn how to ride on the road or with a group without having to worry about traffic.
“And it may be the jumping off point for (somebody) to create a new youth or adult (cycling) club in Chilliwack.”
To ride in the Chilliwack Bike Expo, participants must register for the event, which involves a background check (due to the location’s security demands), as there are a limited amount of seats available. Once registered,riders will be split into groups depending on age and each group will get 60 to 90 minutes of direct coaching, says Chaddock.
“These programs are foundational,” he continued. “We’re here to ensure we give all riders all the help they need to feel comfortable on their bike before trying it on the trails or on the road.”
To register for the event, or for more information, please visit Cycling B.C.’s website at CyclingBC.net, or call (604) BC iRIDE (224 – 2433).
UPDATE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, this event has been postponed until September.