Alderwood after-school bike club supported by Team Timmy

Community in Action

Fifth grade teacher AJ Lear started the Mountain Bike Club available to Alderwood area students in the spring of 2015 as a way to get his students to learn bike safety skills and to take advantage of the local woodland trails in Bellingham.

One of the obstacles of the club was that the majority of the students in the club did not own bikes or helmets. A lot of time and energy went into borrowing bikes or fixing the well-used ones in preparation for every scheduled ride on Galbraith Mountain near Lake Padden. Lear says that the local bike shops Fanatik Bikes and Transition Bikes were incredibly generous in loaning out their bikes during the first two years of the club.

Lear also says that community volunteers at Alderwood (namely Steve Ban, John Bolton, Andy Day and Steve Kimberly) made a huge contribution to the logistics of locating bikes to use, fixing them, shuttling bikes and kids to and from the trail, sourcing extra helmets, and helping to manage the groups on ride days.

After discussing the frustration of sourcing bikes further with these volunteers, Lear says the problem-solving began. Ban, Bolton, Day and Kimberly, as well as school classroom volunteers Ray Dellecker and Tim Farris, are members of the local road cycling group called Team Timmy. In short order, Day spearheaded an effort and Team Timmy raised $5,500 for the purchase of bikes for the Alderwood club. (Lear says he had no idea Day was a veteran fundraiser when he spoke with him!) With additional assistance from the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation, ten bikes were purchased in October at a below-market, discounted price from Fanatik Bikes. The funds collected also covered additional items like helmets, rain gear, tools and locks.

Lear states that the bike and gear donation has helped his club tremendously.

He writes: “This has been a huge undertaking to get these kids on bikes and out on the trails. It has taken a lot of planning, volunteer hours, community support, and love for kids, but it all boils down to one thing. At one point on one of our rides this year, I looked back and I could see every one of our kids snaking through a clearing, and each one of them had the hugest glowing smile on their faces.”

Since the club’s beginning, 34 students who attend Alderwood have joined, experienced the trails, and gained confidence in mountain biking, tapping riders from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic populations. In fall 2016, 15 Team Timmy volunteers and friends supported the effort.

Comments (2)

  1. Cynthia aka GranmaLu

    1 month ago

    Wow! On behalf of our children & community, a HUGE THANK YOU, MR Lear! Nice work TEAM~Way to jump in, clear the obstacles, go through the trails, gain support, make it happen & lead the way! Spread the word for 5th graders everywhere!!! Building love for nature, passion for learning something new, experiencing themselves with new skills & confidence…yes!

  2. Suesan

    1 month ago

    This is extremely impressive, my hope is that other after school program developers see this arrival are inspired to work toward the same!

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