The concept of IMBA’s global Take a Kid MTB Day offers a great opportunity to introduce kids ánd parents to mountain biking. This year, several TKMBD events took place in Germany, Italy, Spain en the Netherlands.
One of these events was slightly different in its set-up and specifically organised for the European Movement, Environment & Wellbeing project. This EU wide project aims to increase the physical activity level of people who lead relatively sedentary lifestyles but are motivated to integrate increased physical activity into their lives. One way to do this is through active leisure activities like mountain biking.
The Take a Kid MTB Day that was organised by IMBA Europe did not only targetted kids to go out riding but also their parents. Reaching out to parents through their kids and showing them how much fun it can be to excerscie together turned out to be succesful with a group of about 40 participants. Kids activities are low-threshold and therefore suitable for parents that lack experience in riding mountain bikes or might not have that much stamina yet.
Green spaces and connector trails
Another important aspect to make mountain biking as accessible as possible are bike facilities in (semi) urban green spaces, preferably with connector trails that lead into the countryside. The municipality of Harderwijk, where the event took place, meets these criteria pretty well. The start of the event was at the training ground of the local bicycling club, located on the edge of the municipal forest, still close to residential areas. After some basis skills training, participants moved their way into the forest, riding parts of the newly built beginner mountain bike trail.
The environmental aspect of the MEW project was addressed during this event when visiting the local forest manager, explaining the value of the forest area and N2000 site, showing the kids an antler of a red deer and inform all participants about access rules, trail etiquette and how to join as volunteer to maintain local trails.
MEW project results so far
The MEW project started with a research report which showed the impact of physical activity on individual physical health, individual psychological health, social benefits, environmental stewardship and econcomics of physical activity. The second activity within the project is the development of a physical activity protocal to be tested by 200 volunteers who are interested in becoming fitter, healthier and more active. During 6 months, these volunteers will engage in both individual and group activties. Monitoring will be performed at three points in the project: at the beginning, after three months and after the programme has finished. A standardised well-being questionnaire and physical activity measure will be used to assess participants’ overall progress and quality of life.
Want to learn more about this project? Visit www.projectmew.eu