MARYVILLE, Mo. — Maryville Parks and Recreation is introducing a new youth program this summer for kids to get out and about on their bicycles.
Registration for the new youth bike group is now open on the organization’s website until May 31.
Participants will ride their bikes each week a short distance and get a little bit longer each time. They’ll also learn the ins and outs of bike safety and how to ride safely on the road.
Monica Ottman, recreation supervisor, decided to start the group — where else? — while on a bike ride.
“One day it just kind of popped in my head: Let’s do something for the kids with bicycling so that they can keep that activity going,” Ottman said. “Growing up, I always loved bike riding, I was always on my bike. So, let’s offer that to some of the kids.”
Still an avid bike rider — she said she rides 15-20 miles at least six days a week — Ottman said the goal is to start young riders slowly and safely, with the goal of getting them used to the feel of riding a bike for a few miles by the end of the month.
The program is aimed at boys and girls ages 8-12 who have their own bike and helmet, although Ottman said she’s open to trying to find alternatives for kids who can’t afford their own bike or helmet.
Each Saturday in June, the group will meet for about an hour starting at 10 a.m. They’ll need at least five participants to ride and a maximum of 10.
Cyclists should be able to ride their own bike without training wheels for brief distances without rest and with limited stops.
Signups are open on MPR's website, and can be completed online or returned to the community center. Registration is $20. Anyone interested in more information should contact Ottman at the Maryville Community Center at 660-562-2923.