GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Mountain biking isn't just a tourist activity. More and more often it’s the summer sport of choice for adults and kids on the Western Slope. And Boneshaker Adventures is growing with the sport.
Dawn Cooper’s mountain biking business was years in the making, although it wasn’t until 2015 they got permits from the BLM to ride on public trails. Two years later, Cooper and her coaches are taking out dozens of kids, who seem fearless.
"I like the downhills, it's just fun to swoop down them,” said Ben Garamny, a Boneshaker student.
Cooper has a ‘big kid job’ as a teacher. She’s been doing that for more than a decade, she says coaching was an easy shift of gears. For the last seven years she’s coached for big names like the Trek Dirt Series and VIDA MTB. It didn’t take long before she combined her two loves.
"I saw a niche and a need, and I was really happy to be able to fill it," said Cooper.
She says Boneshakers is about getting kids on two wheels, and teaching them the essentials, while keeping them safe.
"I like rocky, rocky problems, and if you can't get it, Miss Dawn will help you section it," said Garamny,
We may not all understand the passion for single track (that’s the trails only wide enough for one bike), but there’s no denying the mountain biking community is taking off. And there’s a new generation ready to take it over.
"It's grown by 40% since the first year that we started," said Cooper.
Aside from bike safety and techniques, there are a lot of lessons being learned on dirt, like good sportsmanship.
"They're never like, being mean and they like to ride too. You can see," said Garamny.
They’re also learning about overcoming obstacles, real and imaginary.
"There's a lot of persistence going on," said Garamny.
"They're riding things more smoothly or more confidently than they had before," said Cooper.
Cooper says she wants these kids to develop a sense of stewardship too, "You can't really protect something that you don't, like, fully love," said Cooper. Boneshaker Adventure groups meet once a week during their multi-week sessions for structured fun.
"We meet at the Trailhead and we have some sort of skill we're working on for that week. Once they master that skill, the coaches recognize them at some point throughout the ride and give them their belts," said Cooper.
You could say they’re earning their stripes. They’re pretty easy to recognize, bright strips of cloth knotted to their handlebars. "I think it goes in like a rainbow; white, yellow-orange, green, blue," said Garamny,
Cooper says they call it, ‘bike kung fu’.