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Providence Adds High School Cyclocross to its Big Bike Benefit Plan

As well adjusted as we all our with our advanced technology, you might be heartened to note a certain 19th century contraption with potential to make things a bit better around here. It’s the humble bicycle. Easy to dismiss: simple, human-powered, greasy.  But as communities make biking safer and easier, they set off a chain of benefits for the 21st century. When biking becomes more popular, more people, all types of people, start finding it easier to get around. Local businesses thrive and citizens begin to take a closer interest in all the little things you miss when you’re in the car. Plus, a nice bike ride relieves stress and heightens your prowess for life.

Creative Capital Jumps

Here in Providence, bikes are being applied in a variety of smart ways to improve the health and vitality of the community. PeopleForBikes selected PVD as one of 10 cities for the Big Jump Project. They’re working to reimagine a better bicycling infrastructure. Local collaborators include RI Bike Coalition, Bike Newport, East Coast Greenway and others. Coincidentally, 400 new Jump bikes popped up last month around town. These bright red bikes offer an electric-assisted boost and easy access. It’s getting noticeably easier to jump on a bike.

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Extreme Bicycle Development

Creativity is a speciality here in the capital and former elite cyclist Donny Green has come up with a bright idea for local students. Tapping into endurance, roller coasters, and mud, Donny has started a cyclocross team together with Math Teacher Ed Roff at the Met, and a core team of supporters. Now in it’s 4th season, 1 PVD Cycling offers a special way for young men and women from different city schools to mix it up with bikes.

Cyclocross is a dynamic sport that combines riding and running with an emphasis on skillful bike handling. You build up endurance during . The course is short (about 1.5 to 2 miles) but consists of many laps through wooded trails, steep hills, sharp turns and brief, speedy straightaways. That’s skill development. Unusual obstacles are thrown in that require the rider to dismount and carry their bike. Perseverance counts. The reward is cowbells. Cyclocross is an active spectator sport.

The pace, barriers, climate and technical aspects of the course weed out the weak and make for good theatre. But 1 PVD Cycling is not a development program for emerging elite cyclists. It’s a development program for young adults.

“We’re using bikes to inspire confidence and broaden perspectives,” said Donny Green. It worked for him. Introduced to competitive cycling at the (relatively) late age of 24 he discovered a passion that propelled him to the elite class of road racers and cyclocross racers. He’s channeling that same passion into 1 PVD. The team has about 10 events scattered around that require all the paperwork, driving and marshaling of kids, bikes and equipment. That

The kids are picking up new habits, like exercise, teamwork and achievement. They’re building relationships with rival schools and expanding horizons. One kid had his first cider donut, at recent event in western Mass. They all graduate with a broader perspective. That means more good citizens with a healthy appreciation for bikes and community.