Riding the mountains of Monterey

After-school mountain biking club a hit with kids

Liam Morgan

Liam Morgan

Monterey middle school’s mountain biking club started with Max McCulloch doing what most boys his age do, riding his bike over bumps and jumps.

Seeing how natural it was, and hearing there was a school bike league, Max’s parents, Lara and Mike, put the word out last year to start a school team.

“It was a small group, six kids, and they won the city championships for mountain biking,” Lara said.

“We wanted to get the word out that kids could indeed compete at the middle school level. We found the kids just didn’t know there was a bike league they could be part of.”

This year the group took it a giant leap forward, building a mini-park with stunts and jumps on Monterey school grounds. Happy to help, the local Home Depot, Ford dealership and Oak Bay Bikes store donated supplies and money to assist with the park.

As many as 25 kids meet each Thursday and work on their skills, learning basic mountain biking techniques, such as balancing on “skinny planks,” popping onto curbs and managing corners by learning to position their bodies.

Some days the group heads up Gonzales Hill for a taste of rocky terrain.

“The kids demand more and more growth with bigger jumps, but there is no pressure,” Lara said.

“Basically, we just looked at the space and said ‘we can’t dig in,’ so it’s a portable park. We set up and break down most of the park every Thursday.”

One added bonus is to provide “a nice soft mulch” for when the kids crash, a regular part of mountain biking.

On Sundays, the skills are put to the trail with group rides at Hartland Park, which usually brings out an eager set of parents.

If the group is missing one thing, however, it’s girls.

“No girls yet, just me,” Lara smiled. “We’re trying to encourage it. Hopefully with the road bike portion of the school racing season, we’ll get some girls out soon.”

Information for the school cycling league is available at lowerislandschoolsports.ca.

Just Posted

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read