I still have vivid memories of my mother teaching me to ride a bike, way back when. As a parent in today’s frenetic environment, it’s been more of a struggle to teach my own kids how to ride; finding the time and an ideal place are both struggles I’ve had to contend with and my nine year old and five year old have yet to master riding a bike. That said, I was thrilled when I found out about Pedalheads, a bike camp out of Vancouver, British Columbia, that’s been around since 1995. The larger company, Atlantis Programs, Inc., includes swimming and mountain biking programs, but for the time being, the Pedalheads camp is the only one being offered in Chicago. The company was founded thirty years ago by Claudia Sjoberg, and she continues to work as the company's owner and CEO. In that time, they have taught over 200,000 children to bike, swim and develop physical skills. The comprehensive programs open up a world of opportunities for a lifetime of cycling, swimming and physical activities.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Ben Oryall, the Manager of Regional Expansion. Ben, a native of Vancouver, has been a part of the company for fifteen years and the enthusiasm he holds for his company is evident when you speak with him. Instead of simply having kids learn lessons about how to bike and then drilling them in those skills over and over again, Pedalheads teaches through play-based activities in small classes with an emphasis on positive reinforcement. The camp is for kids aged three to ten. Four of the eight levels are being offered in Chicago at this time; these first levels really focus on basic riding and safety skills. The original curriculum was developed by Ms. Sjoberg and has been updated consistently since its inception.
Each session is a week long and you can choose between an AM or PM two and a half hour session, or a full day session from nine to four. Before and aftercare are also available, as are private lessons. Kids with disabilities are also able to participate, but they need to have someone with them if they require extra care and supervision. A progress report is given to the family at the end of each session so they are informed as to what skills have been mastered and which skills need more work.
Information regarding locations, sessions and cost can be found at the pedalheads website
Photos: Courtesy of Pedalheads