Each summer the Landfall Youth Bicycle Program propels participants to learn, get fit and explore the community around them. A well-equipped repair shop allows youth to learn and practice bike repair skills ranging from fixing a flat to building a wheel. Weekly bike rides take cyclists across the thresholds of ice cream shops as well as across state lines. Youth experience riding on the road, on trails and on the track. They earn points riding miles and doing repairs, and can trade those points for a bike or bike parts. These cyclists and mechanics report pride in what they accomplished, becoming stronger and safer cyclists, achieving more than they expected to, and gaining skills they can use later in life.
Thirty-six youth participated in our 2011 season. Cashing in points earned fixing or riding bikes, 6 youth earned bikes; 14 earned parts or accessories. Our mechanics repaired or built up BMX, mountain, road and fixed gear bikes. Several built their own wheels. In the spring, our top mechanics helped provide repair support for the ALS Bike Trek Minnesota. Collectively, kids rode 1793 miles, equal to the distance from Landfall to Miami. The Bike Program offered road rides, mountain bike rides, girls’ rides and an opportunity to cycle the National Sports Center’s velodrome. We traveled to Dairy Queens, skateparks, Minneapolis, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Lake Elmo, the movies and Hudson, Wisconsin. Our top mileage riders got to experience a 4-day, 225-mile bike camping trip that travelled from Landfall to Taylors Falls to Lake City and back home again. On a beautiful, rolling country road as the setting sun cast deep shadows on the fields, one rider, once hesitant about going on the trip declared, "I want to keep riding this road forever!"