Spring days have filled the bike trails with happy riders week after week since, well, last October, but of course winter had to slap us one more time on the very weekend Stephen Janes invited everyone to take their kids out to ride at DuPont.
Ok, it wasn’t quite winter until that night, thank goodness, but the wind, clouds and drizzle sure did show up with all of the minivans and bike racks. The good thing about kids is that they don’t care. There were kids pedaling trail-a-bikes with their moms – goooooo Elizabeth Fleming who pedaled her daughter over roots and rocks before going on her own ride. Dads pulled burley trailers and chased their boys around the trials course. My 4-year-old was on a big boy bike with hand brakes, which is his new favorite bike. I did the advanced ride with a pack of 8-year-olds who talked smack for seven miles of shredding. The sun actually shined for parts of that, causing us to shed a few layers.
My favorite part was all the smiles and encouraging words. I’m certain the mommies and daddies felt their hearts swell in a way that rivals going on their own awesome ride. There’s something about watching your kid swoop through a downhill while laughing out loud that brings a mommy close to joyous tears. Well, at least for mommies who ride.
There were a few bruises and scrapes but not many tears on this day of tough kiddos. Thankfully Mr. Janes had lunch ready for us back at the gazebo where hot dogs and chili lured us in from the woods. A few of us mommies escaped when our children weren’t looking, leaving them with their dads while we busted out a quick loop…or two. Of course that’s when the rain hit, as well as cool breezes. We came back to packed cars, having to dig for dry clothes, shivering as tired kids screamed with irrational desires for the fun not to be quite over.
Janes, who has an 8-year-old little boy, has been dedicated to getting kids on bikes. He began the local Trips for Kids WNC, in the fall of 2010. The effort is to get kids, who don’t get the chance to ride, onto mountain bike outings. Janes, who rode bikes a lot as a kid, learned firsthand the therapeutic effects of the freedom of a bike. He also saw it as a need for kids after spending several years in the child mental health field. The group has gotten more than 500 kids onto trips in just one year.
The organization began in the San Francisco area back in the late 80s by founder and director Marilyn Price.
Please vote for Janes to be the Southeast ambassador for Foundry Cycles. The company is looking for five people across the country to represent them by riding their bikes and documenting their experiences. Not only is he selfless and encouraging to the next generation of cyclists, but he’s a badass.
Here’s how to vote: