“We have miles of outstanding mountain biking trails right out the front door of the school and those trails are a big reason many Nederland families choose to live here. We want to create experiences here at school that are reflective of the place we live,” says Nederland Elementary School (NES) Principal Caleb Melamed.
Melamed became principal two years ago, but he grew up in Nederland and is a graduate of NES and Nederland High School. His vision for bringing mountain biking and steåwardship to NES aligned with a group of passionate parents who agreed.
However, not every student has a mountain bike, so the group started to work on how to lower the barriers to getting more Nederland kids on bikes.
Building on the success of Ned SHRED, a longstanding partnership between NES and Eldora where students head to the mountain for multiple days of skiing or snowboarding each year, Ned SHRED MTB will partner with Singletrack Mountain Bike Adventures (SMBA), a local non-profit that runs bike camps in Nederland and Boulder County.
SMBA will provide coaching staff, including some of their junior coaches who are Nederland High School students, for Ned SHRED MTB days starting this Spring. Students will learn the fundamentals of mountain biking, stewardship for the place they live, and get to explore their local trails together.
The bikes will also be used by SMBA participants if they are in need of a bike. Heather Williams, director of SMBA, says “We have really fun group rides that leave from NES after school one or two days a week each spring and fall. If a student who doesn’t have a bike needs one, they will be able to use a bike from the fleet. And we have scholarships available for all of our programs. We want to lower as many barriers as possible to get the most kids on bikes that we can.”
The group is working with the town of Nederland to provide storage for the bike fleet. Tin Shed Sports is helping to secure the bikes and helmets at special pricing and will help maintain the fleet. Currently the group is raising funds and has been awarded a matching grant opportunity from Shimano through the Boulder-based International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA).
Gavin Coombs, a NES parent and founder of Peak to Peak Endurance – a local non-profit that supports and funds youth organizations in the greater Peak to Peak region to bolster the endurance and long-term sustainability of our youth community – stepped up to write the IMBA grant, get the first bikes ordered, and generally keeps the group of volunteer parents on track and moving forward.
“We’re doing this because we want to provide experiences to students that make our schools more desirable and reflective of our mountain town. This is a way to capitalize on one of our community’s biggest assets, our trails. Ultimately, we want to keep kids in school up here and strengthen the overall student and community experience.”
Once students graduate NES, Nederland Middle School has both mountain biking and ski teams that students can join and at Nederland High School, students can earn a varsity letter in both.
If you’d like to donate to this exciting community effort you may do so by selecting Ned SHRED MTB at imba.com/digin.