Young cyclists will be able to catch some air with an outdoor event in Port Alberni later this month.
Send Air will be bringing jumping equipment and airbags to Williamson Park in Port Alberni for both novice and intermediate cyclists. The airbag is a tool for young riders to practice jumps, giving them a safe place to land. The session will take place Sunday, Sept. 11 from 1-6 p.m.
Send Air is an indoor bike park in Nanoose Bay, but they also provide jumping equipment for outdoor camps and events. They will be holding the Port Alberni event in partnership with the City of Port Alberni’s trail riding program. The program started out last year under the name “Young Alberni Trail Riders,” but this year has rebranded to become the Alberni Trail Riding Program.
“We wanted to take the success and grow it into something big,” said Dave Osborne, recreation programmer with the City of Port Alberni. “There’s a large focus towards getting kids on their bikes and out on the trails that the Alberni Valley has to offer. There’s definitely a growing mountain biking community in Port Alberni, and it’s an affordable option for kids to experience the trails.”
The Alberni Trail Riding Program offers an introductory camp for “groms” (or novices) that teaches foundational mountain biking skills and how to use them on local trails. It also offers a camp for “shredders” (or intermediate riders) focused on skill development with some small drops and jumps.
Since the program started in the spring of 2021, Osborne said more than 170 riders have gone through the camps.
“I’ve seen riders develop amazing skills already,” he said. “I’ve seen some of them go from first-time riders to being able to ride trails with confidence.”
Although the summer camps are now over for the year, the city will still be offering Sunday morning sessions throughout the fall, as well as some after school sessions—including semi-private trail riding sessions for riders who are looking to develop a more specific skill set. More information about the Alberni Trail Riding Program can be found online at www.playinpa.ca/mtb or at the Echo Centre.
The Send Air session on Sunday will also be a bit of a “bike celebration,” said Osborne, with hot dogs and beverages offered by the Gyro Club. The session is open to ages five and up and will offer three levels of jumps for riders.
Before taking part in the Send Air session, riders must fill out a waiver. This can be found online at www.sendair.ca/events/port-alberni-airbag-session.