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Middle-School Racers

Little 100 gets kids on bikes

Supporting and encouraging competitive cycling is a given for most retailers. Sponsoring teams and promoting races are great ways to reach enthusiasts and get bicycling covered by the local media.

Getting more kids riding bikes is, for most retailers, a completely different challenge. Adam Vanderburg has been developing a youth racing program in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the past three years called the Little 100. It successfully combines kids with competition, and it’s spreading to other markets.

“Basically, it’s a bicycle racing program for middle school kids,” said Vanderburg. “It’s modeled after the Little 500 race we all remember from the movie Breaking Away.” Teams of boys do a 20-mile relay race (80 laps of a 1/4 mile track), and it’s 50 laps for the girls, all on single-speed, coaster-brake, drop bar bikes. “Everyone’s looking for ways to engage kids this age in cycling, and we’ve found one that works.”

Vanderburg has gotten great cooperation from the school districts and wide coverage from the local media. “There’s so much upside in terms of fitness, getting the kids away from the computer and on a bike. Plus the parents like it because it’s completely safe for their kids to ride around a closed running track.” Oklahoma State University will be taking the program state-wide in 2006.

Vanderburg is making it easy for other dealers to participate and learn from his success. He’s working with VeloSwap to make the Little 100 part of their consumer events, and he’s also developed a website at www.tulsalittle100.org.

Vanderburg presented the Little 100 concept at the Bicycle Leadership Conference in Phoenix to a group of industry retailers and suppliers to an enthusiastic reception. To learn more, check the website, and if you have specific questions, you can reach Adam at Nimo61@sbcglobal.net. Ask him for a promotional DVD to see first-hand the potential of the Little 100 for your store.

 
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