Trips for Kids Mid-Columbia

About Trips for Kids

Trips for Kids Mid-Columbia is a local chapter of Trips for Kids that is sponsored by Wheelhouse Community Bike Shop. We started our local chapter because a handful of parents wanted access to mountain bike skills building and to create some positive peer pressure to drag their kids out into the natural environment. The mission of Trips for Kids aligns well with the Wheelhouse mission of making biking and mechanic skills accessible to all.

Trips for Kids Mid-Columbia holds at least twelve events a year. The events include Trail Rides, Shop Days, Mobile Bike Clinics, and Earn-a-Bike workshops. In order to participate, each child needs to be a Wheelhouse member ($20/year, scholarships available), must wear a helmet, and a parent must complete a liability waiver. Trips for Kids is intended for children aged 10-17 years old, however, we have found that siblings as young as 5 can be accommodated in a parallel family ride when their parent or other caregiver participates.

Trail Riding

Spring adventure club riders

Trail rides are between 3 and 5 miles and they primarily occur off-road. We ride around Chamna, on the trails behind the REACH Museum, at the BMX track, and along the Sacajawea Heritage Trail. Children learn skills like ride and trail etiquette, ABC Quick Checks, and basic mountain biking skills like neutral position, ready position, stopping, gear selection, and so on. These rides provide a safe space for kids to try, fail, and try again. They push themselves beyond their comfort zone in a supportive and safe atmosphere. Trail rides primarily occur in the spring and fall.

Trail rides occur in a low-stress environment, usually separated from vehicles and often in natural vegetation.

Shop Days

Two teens work on a bike that is in a bike repair stand

Shop days serve two purposes: to teach kids basic bike maintenance and mechanics skills and to make sure that each kid has a safe bike that is ready for the riding season. Kids begin by performing a safety inspection of their bike using a checklist and then address any issues. Common activities include cleaning and lubing the drivetrain, tuning and repairing brakes (e.g. new cables, pads, and levers), and tuning derailleurs. Shop days also include bike builds and refurbishments for their chapter, for Wheelhouse, or for other non-profits in the Tri-Cities.

Spring and Fall Adventure Clubs

We operate two Adventure Clubs per year, in the Spring and Fall. An adventure club operates like a rec-level sport, with the same group of kids meeting weekly for about 8 weeks (depending on the weather). We group kids based on their appetite for speed so that all kids ride at a comfortable pace. 

Earn-A-Bike Program

We provide an online learn+earn-a-bike curriculum. Kids complete six modules of online lessons and earn rewards for each module. The rewards may include a patch kit, water bottle, light set, lock, and/or helmet. After completing the full curriculum, kids earn a bike of their choice from the available refurbished bikes in our shop.

We believe that every child deserves a mechanically-sound, safe bike that fits them. Many of the existing bike donation programs in the Tri-Cities focus on small children. However, a bike can change a teen’s life, providing access to recreation and job opportunities and a means to exercise and sustain their mental health. Through the earn-a-bike program, we intend to meet the needs of tweens and teens, providing them the mechanics knowledge to maintain their bikes through the curriculum and the bike itself as a reward.