Clearwater Secondary School (CSS) is one of 44 recipients to receive a grant from Outride and its Riding for Focus grant program, which will provide the school with 31 new high-quality bicycles, helmets, basic maintenance equipment, cycling curriculum and teacher training.
The Riding for Focus program uses cycling as a way for students to improve their academics and overall health and CSS principal Darren Coates said the program is a welcome addition to the school’s physical education.
“It’s pretty cool. I think it’s great to provide the opportunity for kids,” said Coates.
“A lot of kids can’t afford, or don’t have access to, good bikes and because of that they’re not on them as much, so if we can provide that within the school structure then that’s just opening doors for them.”
Coates added they don’t yet have a set date for when the bikes will arrive, but they’re expected over the summer sometime and will be ready for the new school year beginning in September.
All CSS students will have access to the new equipment, but the formal program will start with the Grade 8 class as part of the physical education program at the school.
The Riding for Focus programs will have the kids cycling for at least 20 minutes per session after some warm-ups and take place on the trails near the school.
The opportunity for the grant came in January when an acquaintance of Coates, owner and operator of the Bicycle Cafe in Kamloops, Cheryl Beattie, tipped him off to the program and suggested he apply on behalf of CSS.
“(Cheryl) had gone to a conference and heard about the Outride program and wanted to help bring it to this region,” said Coates.
“She knows I work in the education system and knows I’m a passionate cyclist, so she approached me and said, ‘This is a really great program. I think it would be a good fit for you and the school,’ and she asked if I was interested and I said, yeah.”
Coates and CSS athletic director, Marie Giesbrecht, were also required to make a video introducing the school and community to Outride once the school was shortlisted for the grant. The video can be at viewed at https://vimeo.com/405184709