Donation helps ALC start bike club

ALC students Michael McMillan and Brandon Dover stand with some of the newly donated bikes the Mountain Bike Club will use.

Students at the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) will soon have the chance to tackle local mountain bike trails thanks to a donation from Trips for Kids WNC.

The nonprofit recently donated five bikes to the school’s new Mountain Bike Club, which aims to help kids learn more about the great outdoors and explore a new form of exercise.

ALC instructor Chris Coney first thought of starting the club when a friend who leads Trips for Kids WNC approached him about the bike donation.

“Stephen James came to me with the opportunity to start a Mountain Bike Club and I said we would love to start something like that,” said Coney. “He arranged through Trips for Kids to get the bikes donated.”

Coney hopes the club will be inspiring to his students and help them see that they can do some wonderful stuff.

“Our goal is to get students out on the trails and show them experiences, to build self confidence and help them realize they can do some cool, powerful things that can transfer into life and learn those life lessons,” said Coney.

Along with building up confidence, Coney hopes that each trip the Mountain Bike Club takes will help kids develop new skills.

“We just want them to have a fun experience and get out in the woods,” said Coney. “We want them to learn about stewardship for trails and these experiences that can build some powerful self confidence and motivation factors inside of them. We want them to transfer those kinds of things into their life.”

The club plans to take its first full mountain bike trip in January when school starts back. During that time, kids will ride a trail located just outside of Asheville and get a taste of what’s to come.

“My plan is to take them out on half-day trips for three or four hours on some local trails and show them some basic bike-handling skills,” said Coney.