World-class cyclists on hand to mentor students at West Shore Parks and Rec
At six months pregnant, Erinne Willock has put her racing bike away in favour of cruising the Galloping Goose.
But the pro-cyclist and 2008 Olympian still knows a thing or two about her sport and is eager to share.
This Friday (April 6) Willock will be one of several world-class cyclists lending their knowledge at the School Bike League’s inaugural Bike Jam.
“The school bike league is what got me on my bike and started my career,” Willock said.
The Stelly’s grad remembers going to school races in the 1990s with 300 or 400 kids competing.
When she found herself with time to spare this winter, she offered to help out with the bike league.
The day-long festival is a free event for middle and high school students in Greater Victoria and the spring season kickoff for the newly rebranded School Bike League.
It takes place outside at the lower park of West Shore Parks and Recreation, using the velodrome and BMX track, among the other natural features available.
“It’s the best place we could imagine,” said School Bike League co-organizer Lara McCulloch. “We’re running dual slalom tracks down the slope, and we’ll have access to track bikes on the Velodrome and BMX bikes on the BMX track.”
Willock’s road racing clinic is one of seven half-hour stations that kids will move through at Bike Jam.
“We’ll do drills and skills, maybe a few little relay races,” Willock said. “It’s informative and also fun, and good for all skill levels.”
Each station will be led by an expert: the Victoria BMX Association, the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association, single-speed cyclocross world champion Drew McKenzie, national mountain biking coach Geoff Pendrel and elite downhill mountain biker Scott Mitchell.
Perhaps the most fun element is the Camp of Champions Air Bag. Kids can jump their bike in the air and land on the bag. At 3:30 pro dirt jumpers Jarrett Moore (Oak Bay) and Sam Dueck (Vancouver) will put on an exhibition using the bag.
“In the 1990s there was 400 kids in the bike league but last year there was maybe 40 kids,” said McCulloch, who’s on the organizing team with Kate Beardmore, Lister Farrar, Eric Simonson, Bruce Tonkin and Tony Wakelin.
“We’re doing this huge promotion because the word wasn’t getting out. We saw that the bike league needed exposure.”
Registration is free at schoolbikeleague.ca or at the event, which runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.