Professional rider helps kick off Yukon biking campaign
One of Canada's most well known professional mountain bikers helped kick off the Bike Your Brains Out campaign Friday at the Canada Games Centre.
Photo by Whitehorse Star
HEADS UP - B.C. professional rider Ryan Leech jumps over six individuals during a show for the Bike Your Brains Out campaign Friday at the Canada Games Centre.Star photo by KIERAN OUDSHOORN
One of Canada’s most well known professional mountain bikers helped kick off the Bike Your Brains Out campaign Friday at the Canada Games Centre.
Ryan Leech showed off some of his best tricks on a course set up at the dry floor of the Olympic arena.
The event was put on by the Contagious Mountain Bike Club and was well attended by both adults and youth.
“I am awestruck, I am so excited,” said Kate White, organizer of Friday’s Bike Your Brains Out event. “I was nauseous before because I didn’t know if we would be successful or not and I would say this was phenomenally successful.”
In addition to the entertainment, safety was a central component of the show.
Members of the Contagious Mountain Bike Club handed out free Pro-Tec helmets to interested youth.
The helmets were valued between $50 to $75.
White said the group gave out more than 50 helmets.
Health and Social Services helped make this event possible after it approved a grant application that Contagious made though the injury prevention fund.
Leech performed a number of tricks, making the most out of the course, which was comprised of jumps, ramps, beams, steps and tables.
He was miked the entire time, explaining what he was doing to the audience.
The first part of the show ended with him selecting three brave people from the audience to jump over.
“Don’t look up to see if I’m coming,” Leech joked before he made the jump. The jump was perfect, promoting him to add two more people, which still wasn’t enough, resulting in one more person being chosen.
Leech did a countdown before making the jump, which was greeted by cheers and applause from the crowd.
This was Leech’s first time in Whitehorse, a result of the Ride Guide TV show filming an episode in the Yukon.
This week, the B.C. rider will be moving along some of the Yukon’s best trails, which is being hosted by Boréale Mountain Biking.
He said he found out about Bike Your Brains Out a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s a fantastic promotion,” Leech said. “It’s such an important promotion with all the youth that are getting into mountain biking and dirt jumping. It can be a little more dangerous, so they have to be protected.”
Leech added wearing helmets is common place in the mountain biking community.
“More and more people are wearing helmets these days. It’s pretty rare to see a mountain biker without a helmet on, it’s really rare,” he said. “It’s kind of to the point where it’s cool to wear a helmet and it’s uncool not too.”
He said promotions like Bike Your Brains Out also help with making head ware more acceptable.
“Being able to ride with friends and see that everyone else is wearing a helmet and seeing that pro-riders are wearing helmets and hearing pro-riders have been saved by wearing their helmet; all these things come together to make it a no-brainer as you could say to wear one.”
Leech began biking as a cross country rider, but he said he eventually got hooked on the more technical aspects in the sport. He said a sponsorship from Norco made it so that he could make it a career. Norco has sponsored him for 12 years.
Leech travels all over, putting on his Trials of Life Program, which is more school-based. The Trials of Life features him talking a little bit more about the things he has learned throughout his life as a pro-rider.
However, since Friday’s event featured more of a mountain biking crowd, he said he kept it a little lighter with more biking tricks and less talking.
Leech said he was impressed with the turnout.
“I was psyched to see so many people,” he said. “All these people that are into mountain biking; It’s such a cool thing to see.”
Contagious’ safety campaign will continue at Sima Slamfest, running July 31 through Aug. 2 and then the Dirt Park Party, scheduled for September.
The group hopes to have a dirt park constructed up at Mt. McIntyre in August.
White said 900 cubic yards of dirt is needed, which is the equivalent of 75 dump truck loads.
“That’s a phenomenal amount,” she said, adding the group currently has 24 loads about right now.
Despite the challenges, White is optimistic about being able to build the park, which would be a permanent fixture to the community.
“It will happen,” she said. “We are a community of doers, so I am sure it will happen, it will just stress me out until the very last moment.”
The cost to build the park is more than $151,000, White said.