Kids Cross is so Boss

Our Juniors Clinic is Free & Fun, Every Friday

“Mom, this is what I want to do with my life!” Brady, age 10.

Okay, so I’ll put it on record that my son has a flair for the dramatic. But after his first practice with coach Seth from 717Cycling, he had that awesome level of excitement we parents live for. He talked and talked and buzzed and bragged about his experience. He talked about new friends, epic moves, mounting and dismounting, sprint starts, and what his ultimate jersey would look like. It was one of those moments that I love, when I get to sit back, listen, and soak up his happiness (the sitting back part is key, because there was no mom labor involved in this happiness).

And I should tell you that Brady carries with him a heavy dose of anxiety. At the start of practice he wasn’t sure he could go through with it. He thought he might throw up. He almost chickened out, but thank goodness decided to pedal down to the course with the other kids. Thank heavens he did.

Practice began with a warm-up spin through the grassy sections of the course, perfect for calming down nervous minds. By the time he looped past me, B’s face had relaxed to an ear-to-ear smile. Practice evolved to lessons in dismounting the bike, carrying it over a barrier and then quickly remounting, and finished with sprint starts. When it was over, he was hooked, and I was happy.

The next practice our 7-year-old son, Caleb, joined in. I was a bit nervous that he would quit when he realized his small, 20″ bike didn’t motor quite like the bigger bikes (and by quit I mean throw his bike down, stomp his feet, and blame me for ruining his life. He’s like my John McEnroe child). But that never happened. The calm, coolness of the coaches did for his temper what it had done for Brady’s anxiety. He felt totally at ease and, because of that, stuck with it, tried everything, and came back beaming. On this night I had two kids in the car raving about cyclocross. They spun stories about how they’d bunny hopped logs, done tons of mounting and dismounting, and rode laps as fast as they could. They. Loved. It.

And it didn’t cost me a dime. And their eyes were opened to a sport they otherwise never would have been exposed to.

So why not give it a try?

What you need to know about our Junior Cyclocross Clinic

  1. Practices are Friday evenings at 6pm. We meet at the shop and then pedal over to the course, located on our campus. No need to attend all practices. Come when you can! For updates, do follow our facebook page.
  2. BYOB. Bring your own bike and helmet. Don’t have one or both? Just let us know in advance and we’ll hook you up, no charge –
  3. Wait – what is cyclocross? Cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing with roots in Europe. Riders training for the penultimate bike race, The Tour de France, would train in the mucky, muddy spring weather, often riding through fields. These training rides evolved into a new sport. So cyclocross (or cx) is an off-road race, with a whole bunch of obstacles thrown in for fun’s sake. Think of it like a Tough Mudder on a bike. Riders have to dismount bikes and carry bikes over barriers or sometimes up run-ups.
  4. Why is cyclocross great for families? First, there’s the safety aspect. Put simply, falling on grass doesn’t hurt as much as falling on the road. But more importantly, the atmosphere of a cyclocross race is so much fun. Races are laps around a closed course, so riders needn’t worry about being “dropped” from the pack on an open road and spectators can see all the action. There’s food, music, announcers, and a super supportive (often hysterically funny) community of riders.
  5. My child wants to race. YAY! We can help you with that. Coach Seth and the gang at 717Juniors have put together a scholarship for kids who want to enter races. Likely you can get race and license fees paid for. Just ask at practice!

Not sure you’re ready to commit to the clinic? Our course is open and free to the public during daylight hours. To ride, just park in front of the bike shop, sign a waiver, and then pedal over to the course. Helmets are required.

Wanna see a race? You’re in luck. Lititz Bikeworks will be hosting the PA State Championship Race, Troegenator Cross, on October 27th. Races begin at 9:00am and continue throughout the day.



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