The Juneau Freewheelers are reaching out into the high energy of the capital cities teen riders as well as the laid back styles of today’s vacationing students.
“We wanted to focus on youth and getting youth involved in riding and the benefits that can come from riding,” local cycling enthusiast John McConnochie said. “It is just one of those great lifetime sports and activities.”
Cycling has been seeing a steady increase in popularity throughout the United States and has always been a popular activity, and necessity, around the world.
European countries not only commute via bicycle but also embrace the sport as one of its biggest spectator draws. In Sweden it is more common to see a business suit peddling along city streets than it is a car. In Italy cyclists have become expert at the art of coexisting with motorized vehicles. In more undeveloped countries the bicycle is the only affordable means of transportation.
The benefits of cycling for youth, however, can lead to a life of adventure, health and wellness.
Most college campus’ now feature cycling clubs and have paths that are user friendly throughout the institutions various buildings and gathering points.
“More and more colleges are also having club sports or club teams,” McConnochie said. “Kids are coming onto campus and saying they love to ride and wanting to know what opportunities are there for them. It has sparked an interest nationwide.”
Students are beginning to use cycling as a study break, a refresher, as exercise, transportation, and fun. Athletes are finding the benefits as relaxation, therapy and cross training. Adults are discovering the minimal wear and tear on joints and bones. Adventurers are cycling across country or countries and tourism agencies worldwide feature bike-friendly guided tours or rental.
“There are so many benefits to cycling,” McConnochie said. “The healthy non-impact exercise routine. I think we are finding so many more baby boomers, as we age, that our joints are not quite as malleable as they once were.”
Starting today, the Freewheelers youth group will meet every Thursday with the final class on August 16th. The meeting point will alternate between downtown (Cycle Alaska shop, today) and the valley’s JRC/The Alaska Club.
The group will meet at 4:00 pm and end at approximately 5:30 pm. It is open to riders who are 14 to 18 years of age. The rides will cover road cycling techniques, skills, workout development, strategies and bike care in a group-riding environment.
“We really want to teach them riding techniques and basic maintenance,” McConnochie said. “This really makes the act of riding more enjoyable.”
There will also be teachings of race strategies or skills for road riding and basic road safety.
For those wishing to participate or wanting more information contact John McConnochie at 723-1876, firstname.lastname@example.org