Avid cyclists Liam Sargent

Students put their two-wheelers to the test

Bike Jam in Colwood precedes School Bike League kickoff next week

There will be cycling action of all kinds today (April 6) happening in and around the velodrome at West Shore Parks and Recreation, and Liam Sargent plans to be in the middle of it all.

The energetic 11 year old from Metchosin is excited to be taking part in Bike Jam, a multi-discipline festival designed to give Greater Victoria middle and high school students a taste of the cycling sports.

His enthusiasm has spread to fellow students at Ecole John Stubbs middle school. With Liam and a couple of friends talking up Bike Jam, at least eight students indicated interest in joining a Stubbs team for the upcoming School Bike League.

“It’ll be fun to get together with a whole bunch of friends and ride a whole bunch of different disciplines,” said Liam, who rides to school in Colwood most days.

A junior triathlete who won’t compete in that sport for a while due to an inner ear infection (no swimming), he joined the velodrome-based Triple Shot Racing to help hone his cycling skills this year. He’s looking forward to the fun of testing his abilities on a bike in various ways.

“I’ve been riding bikes for a long time; since I was four,” he says, listing mountain biking and road cycling as riding styles he’s kept busy with over the years.

Bike Jam, which gets underway around 9 a.m. today, is a try-it-out event that features plenty of riding, along with instruction from professional and Olympic riders in seven different disciplines, including super-D, cyclocross, cross-country, road, BMX, track and freeride – the giant air bag will be on hand to allow riders to test their aerial skills.

It’s a kickoff to the School Bike League, which provides a variety of styles and venues in more competitive situations. Riders are divided into one of three categories: advanced, intermediate and grassroots.

The eight-week league begins April 12 with a short loop cross-country race at Hartland. Other events include a long-course cross-country race at Bear Mountain, speed events at Western Speedway and the velodrome, and the season finale May 31, the Freeride Threeride at Bear Mountain Resort’s mountain bike park.

Last year’s school roster saw Spencer and Dunsmuir middle schools put in teams, while Belmont students also competed. If your school doesn’t already have a team but you’d like to get involved, go online to bit.ly/1UDMuAa or send an email to league commissioner Travis Chater at travis@schoolbikeleague.com.

For more information on Bike Jam or the league, visit schoolbikeleague.com.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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