Bijou Bike Park to host youth programs through South Lake Tahoe recreation department
With the Bijou Bike Park entering its first full season of operation, the City of South Lake Tahoe Recreation Department announced this week that they will be adding youth ride clinics and workshops on a trial basis this summer as part of its recreation programs.
“It’s only natural for the recreation department,” city parks recreation manager Lauren Thomaselli said of the new program. “I see this as an opportunity to inspire the next generation.”
Thomaselli added that the program will address safety concerns and proper skill progression for all ability levels.
“We’re seeing people ride above their skill level,” she said, describing part of the inspiration for the program. “Kids often overestimate their own ability and feel pressured by other kids in the park to hit the big jumps, which can end badly. The clinics will be an opportunity to learn proper skills in a progressive format, allowing them to work up to the next level with guidance from a qualified instructor in a safe and supportive environment.”
The initial program will be open to kids age 5-14 and will take place Friday mornings and afternoons through the summer.
“We’re testing the waters on this,” she said. “I’m calling it a pilot program. We’re going to see what the demand is and go from there.”
Clinics will include beginner and intermediate park riding and BMX programs on the BMX course, pump tracks and small/medium slopestyle features. Friday sessions will be available mornings and afternoons from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. beginning June 17. Cost will be $15 in advance or $20 for drop-in sessions.
“It’s exactly what we need here and such a cool offering from the city parks and recreation department,” Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association president Ben Fish said. “How many cities in the country offer that? It’s amazing to have it here in South Lake.”
Participants are asked to bring a bicycle and appropriate safety gear. Bikes will be inspected on-site to ensure working condition. Programs will include park etiquette, skills checks and progressive skill instruction along with basic bike-maintenance tips.
Bike park programs will also be included in the recreation department’s summer day camps.
Friday clinic registration will open on or before June 1, through the city website at http://www.cityofslt.us/recreation.
PARK ACCESS AND VOLUNTEER DAYS
Portions of the Bijou Bike Park were able to open in April. The advanced jump line and the BMX course will reopen for the season later this month or in early June.
“A wet spring put a damper on fully opening the park. There are still a few modifications being made to the large jump line and the BMX track needs some tuning,” Fish said. “We should have everything fully open soon.”
TAMBA and the Bijou Bike Park Association will look to resume additional weekend all-age clinics in June in conjunction with the recreation department. The organizations will also resume maintenance Mondays volunteer trail work days starting in June.
“Expect some big things at the bike park this summer,” Fish said of the potential for additional programs and events.
Thomaselli also said the recreation department could expand its programs later this summer.
“It’s turned out to be far and above everyone’s expectations,” she said of the park. “It’s a dream come true.”
The recreation department is still accepting applicants for a summer seasonal bike park instructor to lead the new bike park program. Qualified applicants should have substantial mountain-biking and/or BMX experience and an ability to work with a variety of age groups and skill levels. Candidates can apply through a link on the city’s website, http://www.cityofslt.us.