FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne’s Youth Mountain Bike Club hosted a USA Cycling Youth-Only Mountain Bike Race at Franke Park on Sunday.
“Our focus is on just the kids having fun and things staying safe,” said Bill Toler, the principal of Maple Creek Middle School and cofounder of the bike club. “We encourage them to do their best, you know, but the goal isn’t to win. It’s just to try to every time you race, improve a little bit.”
Toler cofounded the club in 2019 along with Ramon Vasquez. The duo’s goal is to get more kids out riding bikes in the woods by leading two rides each week over a five month long season.
In 2019, the club had 3 coaches and 5 youth riders between 6th and 12th grade. Those numbers grew to 25 and 30 respectively in 2020 and it’s continuing to grow.
“This year we feel that we are ready to expand and can accept several new riders,” said Toler. “Mountain biking is a great alternative to other sports to get kids outside and exercising. We focus on bringing in new riders who have no experience… Mountain biking is growing very fast in other parts of the country and this is our collective effort try and grow it in the Fort Wayne area.”
Sunday’s race was the first of its kind in the Fort Wayne area.