CLT Bike Camp

Winter Newsletter

Which Bike Camp is right for my child?

Hi everyone. Happy winter, and we hope you are staying healthy and getting yourselves outside. I thought I'd take a minute up front to share with everyone who is considering CLT Bike Camp, maybe for the first time, how to decide which camp is right for your child. We actually get this question a lot, and it's a good question.

There are two big things to consider. One is age, and the other, sometimes more important consideration, is skill. It's so important to find a balance between those two things. Our organization's first consideration is the safety of our whole group, so we always ride as a community. That means we will always consider the needs of the whole group, and ride with our least skilled member in mind. That is one way we keep our riders safe. In all our groups we do a lot of skills practice throughout the week, so we always see a huge improvement in the skills of all our campers over the course of a week. Please remember that for all of our camps, we encourage children to be self-sufficient. They'll need to carry their own things, eat when hungry, drink when thirsty. We do a lot of talking around this. We also encourage children to bring games to share (non-electronic) as well as books to read to add to the enjoyment at our play stops. All camps receive age appropriate mechanical/maintenance instruction about their bicycles. Below is a description of the specific skills needed for each camp as well as the general age range for participants.

First Wheels: Learn to Ride, Half Day Camp: We are doing two of these camps this summer. It is a 9-12 camp and is meant for age range 4-6. These campers will be learning the skills needed to ride a bike. This will be a small group, with two instructors and a few volunteers to support everyone's learning style and timeline. The teacher to student ratio for this camp is 2/5 with a maximum group size of ten. Our hope is that by the end of the week, our group will be able to do a short greenway ride together (of course based on the needs/skills of our group). Throughout the week there will be a lot of fun skill building games.

First Wheels (half and full day): Our First Wheels groups have always been geared towards our youngest riders. The age range for this group is 4-7. Important to remember if choosing this group is that full day camp can be a lot for some of our younger children, especially in summer. That's why this year we decided to add one half day session. In first wheels we do a lot of games centered around building on skills the children already have (they need to already know how to ride a bike and start and stop on their own). We will also be teaching them how to bike safely wherever they choose to ride. We do a lot of work on straight line riding, signalling, being predictable, and knowing where to ride on a road, greenway and sometimes sidewalk. Our half day camp will sometimes offer alternative location pick-ups, so that is something to consider. The mileage for this camp is usually between 4 and 8 miles per day, and often depends on the group's desires and skill levels. Our teacher to student ratio for this camp is 2/6 with a maximum of 12 students per group.

Rolling Ready: Our Rolling Ready camp is our most popular choice, and we believe that is because it suits the needs of most riders. This camp is appropriate for riders from ages 6-11. We do sometimes accept younger ages (we've had the occasional 5 year old), but it's important to consider that bike camp is not just a cycling experience for our children, it's also a social/emotional experience. The bike skills we work on are safe group riding, signaling, becoming skilled at and understanding intersections, making more complex turns and riding between 7-15 miles per day. Our student to teacher ratio for this camp is 2/7, with a maximum of 15 students per group.

Hard Gears: Our Hard Gears camp is designed for youth participants, ages 11-16 who are already skilled riders and are looking for some higher mileage on the road. During this camp we average 13-20 miles per day, based on the needs and desires of the group. So, if your youth signs up for this camp, they should be prepared for longer rides. One of our HG camps this year will be devoted to "finding food," so lunch stops will be included in the cost of camp. During camp you can expect your youth to gain more independence, develop skills needed for both cycling and general road use. They will take on more complex roads, navigate challenging intersections, and learn about routing. The teacher/student ratio for this camp is 2/7. The maximum group size is 15.

Tour Camp: Our Tour Camp is unique in that it includes an overnight camp-out. Since our first Tour Camp, we've ridden to locations like McDowell Nature Preserve, we've taken the train to Raleigh, and ridden out to Umstead State Park. This year we are planning to explore the Tobacco Trail. Our route might include Carey, Jordan Lake and Durham. The appropriate age for this camp is between 12-17. Your youth should be prepared to take on higher mileage--20 miles per day, and should be prepared to enjoy a fun camping experience and participate in maintaining our community campsite. We have always done our camp out from early morning Wednesday to late evening Friday. Monday and Tuesday, we do some preparation rides, and prepare our food and camping gear.

Youth Volunteers: Our Youth Volunteer program has a new sign-up this year. It's going to be a small program (5 volunteers). There are some ways to determine if your youth is ready for this program. The age range is from 12-17. Your youth needs to want to work with children. Your youth needs to have a viable way to get to camp. Your youth needs to have attended CLT Bike Camp previously. Your youth needs to be prepared collaborate with other volunteers and employees of camp on creating the best possible experience for our campers.

Several of our camps this year are divided by age group. Spring Break camp, as well as our Girl's Camps will be divided according to age, since the focus of these camps is a little bit different. I hope I've thoroughly explained our camp programs! We are looking forward to the opening of camp registration January first at 12:00 AM! For further questions, feel free to email us at, or visit our website: CLT Bike Camp

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Holiday Camp review...

I wanted to say thank you to our families who decided to participate in holiday camp this year. As we all know, Charlotte winter weather is always unpredictable (unlike our riders). We were certainly not expecting those cold temperatures, and we're so thankful for our hearty campers who managed it and mostly had a good time anyway. I also want to take a moment to thank The Mint Museum, The Recyclery and The Spoke Easy, for the ways in which you helped make our camp possible. Also thanks to The Smelly Cat and The Paper Airplane for participating in our Wednesday scavenger hunt! It's our goal to always support our local shops and businesses during our camp days.

I also wanted to say a big thank you to some of our parents who donated food or prepared scavenger hunt items. Our food donation drive for Loaves and Fishes ended up with a total donation weight of 133 lbs, and our oldest group brought in nearly 50 lbs of food on their own. Lastly, one of our camp parents, who asked that she not be named, donated a bike meant for a holiday gift. At the time, I happened to know of a girl who needed a bike but couldn't afford one, so we've passed that bike along to a very excited family. Most of the time, we suggest donations always go to the Recyclery, since they've become very effective at putting them back into the community, but this time we were happy to be the connection point between a bike and it's new owner.

Again, thanks so much for everyone who participated in Holiday Bike Camp! See you in 2022!