We have a lot in store for Day 3 when we premiere the APEX Outdoor Festival & Expo at America The Beautiful Park on Saturday, September 25th.
We want to make sure there is something for everyone - all levels and all ages. We have invited Kids on Bikes to join us, and they will be offering up free family fun as well as skills clinics. We caught up with Mark Schenberger, Camp Manager, for a chat. Here's a glimpse of what to expect.
APEX: Hi Mark, tell us more about Kids on Bikes. What's the mission in the Colorado Springs community?
Mark: I suppose some of it is right in the name, we’re about getting more kids on bikes, through our three priorities. We provide access to bikes like our earn-a-bike program, there are opportunities to borrow a bike. There are opportunities to ride through bike camps, family rides and stuff like that. Then bicycle education so more intentional programming through schools and community centers, where we really dive into like working on your bike and learning to navigate your neighborhood and learning some bike skills. We do quite a lot of that all throughout the year in schools and with other community partners, pretty full slate of full week summer camps and then some fall evening and weekend clinics. And then the Pedal Station. That's a newer piece of Kids on Bikes, which acts as a social enterprise for us, kind of looks like most of the bike shops, but we're essentially entirely donation based, and then all the funds from selling bikes and supplies that comes back to Kids on Bikes to help support our mission.
APEX: Super cool, I think this is a huge asset to kids these days, to be able to learn how to navigate and travel around, and give them a bit more of that freedom that we experienced when we were growing up ourselves.
Mark: Yes, it gets forgotten a lot but obviously you can’t drive until your 16 years old, but you can ride a bike when you’re maybe 3 or 4 so there's some extra independence that can come from that. It’s a good healthy way to be outside, be with friends, and ride to school maybe or to get pizza and ice cream like I like to do.
APEX: Kids on Bikes is going to be at our expo at The APEX on Saturday, and it looks like you're going to do a fun mix of some free activities, plus maybe some paid skills camps. When families swing by with their kids at the expo, what are some of those free fun things they can do?
Mark: Main one that'll be right at the expo area will be our portable or modular pump track. So this is a bike track that’s pretty common these days, with little ups and downs, and banked turns. Ours is just made up of individual wooden pieces rather than being a built into the ground pump track that's at a singular location. We can break that out, make it into a little bike track for kids and families to come out and ride. No cost of course for that. We might have a few extra bikes and helmets on hand too if someone just happens to walk over and maybe don’t have their bike with them.
The other major activity would be our family popsicle ride or pop cycle ride. This is something we've done probably 10 years or so now. It’s an all ages, all abilities, family ride on the Greenway trail, and historically they've always started at America the Beautiful Part where the expo will be. It's a 2 ½ to 3 mile cruise just up the trail to something called the popsicle bridge, where we stop, breakout some popsicles, of course, hang out for a little bit, and then cruise on back. It's all on bicycle path, mix of fine crushed gravel and some pavement. We take our time, No One Left Behind type ride, so that kids on training wheels, sometimes even strider bikes, make it a little ways up, they can turn around early. Just a get out, get moving, explore the city a little bit, especially maybe when someone's new in town.
APEX: Are you in charge of hauling the popsicles in a nice little trailer or cargo bike?
Mark: Yes. Depending on the size. It'll be either in a little cooler or in a pannier bag or the trailer. We’ve got our own cargo bike, it's got a nice Dutch style kind of basket up front. We carry the popsicles, no need to for anyone to worry about bringing a cooler or anything like that along.
APEX: In addition to the mini pump track and popsicle ride, it sounds like you're going to offer a little skills clinic Saturday at the expo, can you tell us a bit more about that?
Mark: We're still working out some details of that. The idea is to do a more mountain bike specific type of clinic that will almost kind of follow the race after they head out. So, lots of bike paths from America the Beautiful Park can lead to a place like Bear Creek Park pretty quickly via that Greenway trail. We’ll ride over after the race leaves, get out to Bear Creek. We’ll break into a couple of different groups based on age, ability, interest in how far someone might be up for going. Get out to the park, get on a mix of gravel paths and single track and work on some different bike skills out there. Then we’ll come on back just in time to watch some of the leaders finishing the race. It’ll be pretty close to a full day type of clinic, maybe 3 to 5 hours, depending on exactly how the race pans out.
APEX: We are excited to have you all at the expo because spreading the love of bicycles is a big part of The APEX. We admire how you are broadening everyone's perspective of how bicycles can spread joy, build confidence, and be used as a primary mode of transportation. Could you tell everyone how they can support the mission of Kids on Bikes?
Mark: Our website is kidsonbikes.net so you can check us out there for some more information, our Pedal Station is included on that website. If you're in town, our Pedal Station, and our partner mountain equipment recyclers are located at 2222 Bott Avenue, along the west side of town off of HWY 24. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.
Yeah, looking forward to being part of APEX races here. I was disappointed that I was out of town that weekend last year. I was hoping to volunteer if I had been here. So really excited to be a part of that whole weekend, and this is such an awesome place to ride here, so it’s nice that we've got a really great event like that back in town.
APEX: Thanks Mark. We're looking forward to seeing you out there!