You can expect to see many posts on BikePilgrim.com about El Grupo Youth Cycling.
I have had the joy of riding with these kids for a few years and my son Samuel is starting his second year with the team. I’m hoping that as Samuel moves up to the B and A team I’ll be able to keep pace. Currently, I’m assisting as the Coach of the C squad.
On August 13th our practice was a ride to the UA crit course at the UA Biopark located at Kino Parkway and 36th street. The Biopark is the ideal location for practicing as there is a section where cars have NO access and we have the safe access. As with most rides, El Grupo rides start at the clubhouse at 6th and 6th.
This practice was divided into a few different drills. The A team were practicing for the State team TT and focused on hard 180 degree teams in formation. The others did laps on the crit course. The laps were mellow for the first two turns, picking it up to a 7 out of 10 effort into the third turn and 100% for the final turn and straight away. We rode a total of 10 laps in 104 degree heat, 90 minute practice and back to the clubhouse.
As for the heat, on the way out I saw the Tucson High Football team practicing. If kids can be out playing ball there is no reason you can’t ride a bike. The bonus for us is we have the benefit of a cool (OK, warm… hot) breeze.
A little more about El Grupo form their website.
“Through our programs Team El Grupo & Youth Empowering Youth Outreach, we are getting youth on bikes, and they in turn are teaching, inspiring and empowering other youth to ride, enjoy and love bikes.
Through the use of bicycles, El Grupo’s goals are to…
Enable youth to become life-long bike enthusiasts
Instill personal and social responsibility and leadership skills
Empower youth to set and achieve personal and community goals
Educate and inspire youth to overcome obstacles, both personal and societal
Make riding bikes safer, cooler, and more accessible for those under 18 years of age
We embrace all forms of cycling from road and mountain bike racing to bicycle touring and daily commuting.
El Grupo is developing the next generation of active, healthy, and community-minded cycling enthusiasts and leaders in Tucson.
No special skills or gear are required. The lack of cycling gear should not be a deterrent, as we have access to free or low-cost bicycles, helmets, lights, etc. Through donations from the community, El Grupo provides all bikes, equipment, clothing and gear to youth.”