As a Bay Area youth cycling organization, we are truly lucky to offer our programs in Marin County’s many open spaces. One area that remains a mainstay for our program participants is Stafford Lake Bike Park in Novato (the North Bay’s first public bike park). We took several trips there this year with our Earn-a-Bike youth and got the usual rave reviews.
“It is so cool! I definitely want to go back and bring my friends. The ramps are really fun.” – Santino, 2018 Earn-a-Bike program participant
The park serves as a perfect place for our youth to build confidence, challenge their riding abilities, and be surrounded by its beautiful landscape. The Rangers do an excellent job maintaining the trails and keeping the place looking great.
In fact, Nova Hairston, a Marin County Park Ranger, who previously ran our Earn-a-Bike program in years past, met us one day and instructed us on how to repair and maintain the pump track. Ranger Nova taught us how to properly mix the correct amounts of clay and water to make a perfect consistency needed to patch and repair worn out sections and ruts. These are the experiences that kids don’t get very much today, if at all. Getting their hands dirty working with the earth and riding a bike while challenging their skills, these things matter and we are very thankful to have Stafford Bike Park available to us to allow these experiences for our kids.
We frequently use the Rush Creek Preserve on our trail rides as well and exclusively with Muir Wood Adolescent Services, a rehab program for teenage boys struggling to overcome addiction. The impact this place has on them is palpable. One young man, who had not been on a bike in several years, made a big impact on us as well. In the beginning, he struggled and wasn’t sure he was going to make it. But he did not give up and by the end of our trip, he didn’t want to stop riding.
We later learned that this young man frequently stayed in his room at home all day and night playing video games without coming out of the house. The impact of one positive outdoor experience can’t be overestimated in today’s screen-obsessed reality, particularly with the young people we serve. While we haven’t been able to follow this young man personally since that time, we know that at least in those hours spent riding a bike through Marin’s beautiful open spaces, he was present, engaged and alive. These are the moments that make a lasting impact and we see it all the time with our youth.
Trips for Kids Marin (TFKM) is proud to be a grant recipient of the Marin County Parks and Open Space program supported by funding from Measure A Breathe/Respira! This wonderful program focuses on fostering partnerships with community organizations that connect underserved communities in Marin with parks, preserves, recreational facilities, staff and programming managed by Marin County Parks.
Join Us for a Bicycling Adventure
Have a child or group of children who could benefit from participating in our programs? View our website to learn more. Have some free time and want to become a volunteer? Fill out our volunteer form.