Adventure Cycling Unveils First-Of-Its-Kind Guide to Youth Bicycle Travel

Guide quickly in second printing; childhood obesity epidemic drives more kids to bikes

Missoula, Montana – Adventure Cycling Association, America’s largest cycling organization, is getting kids “psyched on bikes” with its new publication, Pedal Pioneers: A Guide to Bicycle Travel with Kids. Pedal Pioneers is a first-of-its-kind, in-depth guide on how to organize youth bicycle trips.

“We are thrilled by the early response to Pedal Pioneers,” says Becky Douglas, outreach and education coordinator for Adventure Cycling. “Simply through word-of-mouth, the first printing of Pedal Pioneers shot out the door. Now we are ready to distribute the next printing of 1,000 copies.”

Pedal Pioneers was developed by Adventure Cycling with more than fifty experts from around the U.S. to help teachers, scouts, church-group organizers, and other youth-group leaders develop youth bicycling tours and improve the health of America’s children.

“Learning is much more fun when kids have control of the handle bars,” said Douglas. “Bicycling is accessible to almost every youth, and a two-wheeled adventure will give them a memorable experience and potentially turn them into cyclists for life.” Research by the Outdoor Industry Association shows that ninety-percent of young people who engage in outdoor activities return to those activities as adults.

Until now, there has never been a guide to youth bicycle travel. Pedal Pioneers — which features five step-by-step sections (plus an exhaustive resource directory) on how to create a multi-day youth bike trip — is already garnering positive reviews. “Pedal Pioneers has everything you need to put a complete program in place immediately,” says Matt Harper, a fifth-grade teacher at Pleasant Hill School in Missouri. “I piloted the program in my school district for a summer program and it was a huge success.”

With national concern growing about expanding juvenile waistlines, there has never been a better time to get kids riding bikes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, youth obesity levels have quadrupled in the last twenty-five years. The Institute of Medicine notes that more than nine million children age six and over are obese.

Rich Bell, program officer for Active Living by Design, a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to encourage more exercise by Americans of all ages, praises Pedal Pioneers for helping to get kids outdoors. “Pedal Pioneers is a wonderful addition to the Active Living toolbox,” he says. “It enables families to extend their active lifestyles to their vacations and youth group leaders to integrate experiential learning into their curriculum and activities. All this, while introducing children to the fun of cycling.”

The most important testimonials though, come from the youth themselves. Eighth grader Alex Johnson from St. Louis says: “The trips are fun and in the end you learn more about yourself. I learned that cycling was more tiring than I expected, but I learned that if I push hard enough I can do anything.” Drew Bowers, a high school student from North Carolina, says, “My favorite part of the bicycle trip on the Lewis and Clark Trail was meeting new people and seeing snow-covered mountains we had never seen before. We learned how to work together.”

Pedal Pioneers is available for $15.05, or $10.05 for Adventure Cycling members, plus shipping and handling. Visit www.adventurecycling.org/outreach/pedalpioneers.cfm for information about the Pedal Pioneers program, including how to purchase the Guide, FAQs, more resources, expert contacts, and how to get involved. Or call 800-755-2453 x235 for additional information. The Guide comes with supplemental material about bike routes around America, plus the opportunity for discounted membership in Adventure Cycling.

Pedal Pioneers and Adventure Cycling’s efforts to educate young people about bike travel have been made possible by the support of The Henry Family Foundation and Adventure Cycling Association members.

Adventure Cycling Association, a 501(c)(3), 43,000-member nonprofit, is America’s largest cycling organization. Dedicated to inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle, Adventure Cycling’s services include bicycle-route development and mapping, periodical publishing (Adventure Cyclist magazine and The Cyclists’ Yellow Pages resource directory), and a guided bicycle travel program. Adventure Cycling’s National Bicycle Route Network comprises 34,926 miles of mapped, on- and off-road bicycle routes. For more information, visit www.adventurecycling.org.

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