Why this Kamloops mom is raising funds for ‘little shredders’ at Kamloops Bike Ranch | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why this Kamloops mom is raising funds for ‘little shredders’ at Kamloops Bike Ranch

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May 07, 2021 - 7:00 AM

The Kamloops Bike Ranch has been a hot spot for youth mountain bikers for years.

It is forever changing as new features and trails are added, and new riders join the fun, some younger than six years old. But the sport is dangerous, and without the right tools and knowledge, it is even more so. Many little riders have parents with mountain bike experience who ride along with them, but many of them don’t.

Jessy Blanken and her family are avid mountain bikers. They love the sport and spend lots of time at the bike ranch. She sees a need to provide kids with proper training and safety equipment.

“What an amazing opportunity to have the bike ranch in our backyard. Some of the kids spend every minute they are not at school here,” she said. “Volunteer parents keep it running and help to shuttle the kids up and down the hill. We have amazing hands-on parents who are always dropping off food and water.”

Blanken’s concern is that many kids are riding the ranch and hitting big jumps without brakes or with tires that don’t hold air. Some are on bikes that are too big or too small and wearing helmets that don’t fit correctly.

“With all of the time we spend at the ranch with our kids watching their skill levels progress we are very aware of all things safety. Raising our own little ripper, we are very aware of the cost to maintain a proper bike capable of keeping up to his abilities and the safety gear that goes with it,” she said. “There are many families that cannot support a sport like this without community funding and we want to make it possible.”

Last month Blanken started a Facebook page called ‘D-Senders-The Next Generation’ to raise awareness and funds. She sells a variety of hats, T-shirts and swag with all proceeds going to the kids and future programs. The goal is to give as many kids as possible the tools and knowledge required to ensure they and their bikes are safe.

“We are in the very baby stages of our project, but we are very passionate,” she said. “There is so much potential for a program like this, we just need to put in the work to reach it. Our first step is to get two or three of these kids through their basic first aid, which we have raised enough money to do. We can’t always be there and it is imperative that they know how to react in an emergency situation. We have had a very generous member from the community and Kamloops Bike Collective volunteer his time to do a ‘5-point safety check’ and basic maintenance presentation. We are working on dates currently and very excited to do so. This week we will be opening up applications to families for the first aid course as mentioned above. We want to make sure that we are utilizing the funds for families that need the support. Community funding makes things possible. I just think these little shredders deserve some attention. They have so much heart.”

Blanken and her supporters want to hear from anybody who knows of a young rider at the ranch who needs financial assistance. Reach them through the Facebook page. 

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