The Ashland Bike Project is an Ohio not-for-profit corporation seeking to use the power of bikes to make a positive change in the community. Its board members are made up of community members with a heart for young people that share the vision of helping make our community a better place. We know that bicycles are just one of the ways to do so because we’ve been affected by them in the same way. Funds raised by ABP go towards supplying equipment, building trails, and running our summer youth program known as Team WILD.
Team WILD Mission:
To provide the opportunity for youth of Ashland and its surrounding communities to unplug and enjoy the outdoors through the power of the bicycle. We wish to inspire young riders to challenge themselves to accomplish things they never thought possible, grow physically stronger and healthier, and develop a lifelong healthy lifestyle. We will do this by providing equipment, instruction, and infrastructure to make this possible. The name is an acronym for the four core values we wish to pass on to our young people; Wellness lifestyle, Inspire others, Learn new things, and Determined to succeed.
Through grants, donations, and fundraisers, we will purchase bicycles, helmets, and other necessary safety gear to provide every opportunity for youth to enjoy cycling, regardless of whether or not they have the means to purchase the equipment for themselves. Our goal by providing equipment is to eliminate the financial restrictions to enjoying the sport of cycling.
Ashland Bike Company has dedicated their ambassador team to helping conduct the Team WILD program during the summer months. Riders on the team have volunteered their time for instruction 2 nights each month in addition to youth races around the state with partnership of the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship Series (OMBC) and other youth development teams around the state. Riders on this team are expert riders and or very passionate volunteers dedicated to the safety of the youth participants. Members of the ambassador team include firefighters, experienced nurses, teachers, engineers, and construction workers. This ensures that participants will be as safe as possible, whether its includes falling off their bike or just making sure any bike course construction will be solid and safe. Team WILD is overseen by ABP board members, Ashley Hendershot: a national champion e-mountain bike racer, and high school agriculture teacher, Troy Chipka: an expert level mountain bike racer, bike mechanic, and high school swimming coach, and Anthony Bunt: owner of Ashland Bike Company.
The City of Ashland and Ashland Bike Company recently partnered together to create the Brookside Mountain Bike Trail, located at Brookside West Park in Ashland, Ohio. With the help of community members, ABC has developed the trail and maintained it, and now through the ABP we hope to add a dirt pump track to the park to be used in the youth riding program. We will also use grants awarded through Specialized Bicycle Components’ Outride Fund to offset the costs of the pump track. We will also utilize the vast space and diverse landscape available at Brookside West Park to conduct the Team WILD practices and events. Riders who are new to bicycles will have flat, level surfaces to practice their balance, while intermediate and advanced level riders can work their way up to riding the mountain bike trail.
Team WILD format and schedule:
Youth riders 14 and under have the opportunity to participate in the program. (Older youth riders may volunteer in the program).
Cost: $25 (per individual participant) or $40 (per family)
Parent waiver required. Parents may remain at practices but may not interact with their children during the practice unless requested by Team WILD coaches.
Safety: Background checks are required for all supervisors (1 supervisor per group, numerous volunteer rider coaches per group). Nurse or other medical staff is available at each practice.
Accountability: Youth participants must adhere to safety rules and behavior standards set forth on sign-up letter. Failure to do so will result in removal from the team.
February – March: Ambassador instructors will be trained, assigned scheduled practices, and Team WILD jerseys and number plates will be designed.
April: Sign-ups for Team WILD will begin, closing at the end of May before our parent meeting.
May: Registrations closes, Parent meeting will be held in the 3rd week of May.
June-August: Practices occur 2-3 times per month. Number plates will be handed out at check-in on the first practice. Jerseys will issued at 2nd practice. Optional participation in OMBC youth races is possible as available. Schedule TBD.
September: End of the season all-team race and picnic. Awards given, jerseys returned.
Goals and WILD Lifestyle Badges
One of the ways we are seeking to motivate change in the youth of Ashland is by our WILD Lifestyle Badges. These badges represent the 4 character traits we wish to reinforce through Team WILD. Youth participants will have the opportunity each week to demonstrate ways they have made the choice to live out the character traits from the WILD name. Once they have demonstrated this to their coach, they receive a badge to place on their number plate assigned to them at the first practice. If participants receive all 4 badges, they earn a prize handed out at the final end of season race and picnic.