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iRide @ Lower Mainland

I followed Coach Tub’s wheel as close as I could, and when he slipped on the mud, I took that chance to go around him and come in 1st place. That was the most amazing part of iRide for me.  —  Carter, Grade 5 @ Ecole Nestor Elementary.

Last week iRide’s Vancouver team visited two schools, Ecole Nestor Elementary in Coquitlam and Gray Elementary in Delta, BC.  Head coaches Ben Chaddock and Wes Ochitwa were out to lead the sessions and train two new assistant coaches, local U23 athlete Anna Talman and recently-retired Olympic rower “Scuba Steve” van Knotsenburg. Students battled the rainy and windy conditions last week with bright smiles and lots of enthusiasm to “go play in the mud”.  Taking advantage of local schools terrain, both events shared  cyclocross-style courses and engaging games with the students over the 3-day programs.

Ben reports:

Gray Elementary really impressed me! There were a lot of really solid riders and the new riders picked up the skills very quickly. We used a mix of gravel fields, evergreen tree areas with rooty sections, plus an adjacent forest area that the students really enjoyed for bike rides. There were also a lot of side-hills on the school grounds, providing lots of opportunities to test the more advanced riders and help everyone progress their skills. One of my favourite moments was after 2.5 days of struggling on her own bicycle, I finally convinced one of the beginner riders to try an iRide Norco Indie bike.  She looked a lot better on the bike and when we wrapped up the session with a game of Shark Island, she stayed in all the way to the final 3! She was pretty blown away at how well she did!

Wes reports:

This week I was working with coach Ann ‘Banana’ Talman again and she really took the reins! With wind and rain warnings in effect, the sessions were non-stop and the kids really enjoyed Anna’s energy! In fact, the grade 3s were so stoked that they adopted their own “no time for standing still” policy, so they could spend as much time riding with Anna as possible.  Our gears and cadence sessions were naturally incorporated into our warmups in the colder weather – you should have seen them – spinning legs moving fast! On our final day we tackled a forested section that offered a lot of terrain change.  It had a solid flow and the students were stoked.

There was one rider at Ecole Nestor that really stood out, Carter, a 10-year old Grade 5 student.  Carter showed the most impressive natural fitness and bike handling skills I’ve seen from a 10 year old. On the final day, I took him for a bit of a race through the wooded-section and he beat me! After awarding some prizes for Carter and the other top riders, I look forward to seeing them at the nearby Burnaby Velodrome soon.

This week the coaches also received some beautiful thank you cards from our iRide Champion Laurel Horn at Fort Langley Elementary. Thank you Laurel!  We also received some very nice thoughts from local parents at the beginning of day 3 at Ecole Nestor Elementary.

Ecole Nestor Parent:

I just need to commend you two, I don’t know how you do it. My daughter had very little cycling skills and confidence, in fact, I didn’t even think she could ride a bike. With one day of you two coaching her, I came home from work and found her riding around the driveway and cul-de-sac and it was nearly impossible to pull her in for the evening. What a fantastic job you are doing.

iRide programs continue this spring in March and a few openings are still available. iRide is also currently accepting bookings for the 2016-2017 autumn session. To learn more, please visit the iRide page here.

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If you’re a fan of Cycling BC’s iRide program, check us out on TwitterInstagram, or Donate to support our programs in your area. To learn more about booking a future event, please contact us at or (604) BC-iRide.

Ecole Nestor Elementary: Bear attack in the woods!
Trail riding at Ecole Nestor Elementary.
Smiles to battle the wind! Gray Elementary
Scuba-Steve starts the relay course at Gray Elementary.
Norco Glides....ready to go to work!
Coach Anna Banana Talman at Ecole Nestor Elementary
Down the hill at Ecole Nestor Elementary!
Gray Elementary: Dismounts, Turns and Cyclocross-style
Gray Elementary: Relay Course!
Gray Elementary: Shark Island finalists
Gray Elementary: Practicing the cyclo-cross style corners
Gray Elementary: Sessioning the banks and dismounts