At dirtskool we take novice riders on a journey that empowers them to have fun trail riding and ensures they have the skills to keep themselves safe.
Dirtskool is proud to celebrate our programme as a finalist in the Community Initiative category of the 2022 Wellington Sport and Recreation Awards
The Dirtskool programme is run during school time,
integrated into the phys-ed class offerings of high schools
across the Wellington Region.
While students are raving about the fun they're having as
they attain new skills and confidence, teachers and parents
are remarking about the positive changes in attitude and engagement they are seeing in their teenagers.
“I enjoyed trying something new! and doing something that was fun while it being beneficial for my health/fitness. I liked how it was something that wasn't school-related like it was a space for us to take our minds off school. Although it was scary sometimes, the adrenaline you get makes it worthwhile. We were allowed to scream as much we wanted and it made it more fun."
Developing a passion for cycling at a young age has been shown to have positive health benefits throughout a person’s life, and we are seeing previously inactive youth purchase their own equipment to continue riding outside of class. Proper riding instruction also improves rider safety and reduces accidents across all riding environments.
For many participants this course is also often their first experience spending time in our beautiful natural bush, and they develop personal confidence, personal responsibility, and risk management skills while exploring our environment.
We endeavour to deliver the Dirtskool programme at no cost to high schools or their students to make this active recreation accessible for rangatahi that may otherwise not get the opportunity to engage in this type of activity, and is inspiring many who are less active, and a larger proportion of girls, to get involved.
We have been able to do this for the past two years through a partnership with Biketec, a local bike fleet maintenance service provider, and the assistance of Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa funding.
We currently have the capacity to deliver the programme to 8 schools, with many more wanting to join in. We are looking for new funding streams that will allow us to offer this opportunity through more schools and reach more rangatahi. Our goal is to try to offer a gateway to this activity in all colleges in the region. Please get in touch if you are aware of opportunities that could assist.
The Dirtskool programme is delivered at local mountain bike trail parks by qualified instructors in collaboration with the phys-ed department at each of the participating high schools. A teacher is always present with their class during the programme sessions and assists with class/student management, and encouragement. Full risk management procedures are followed, with an emphasis on safety equipment and knowing your limits.
Dirtskool has two fleets of high quality mountain bikes and a full range of safety equipment to fit all sizes. Participants can use their own bike and safety equipment as long as they are in good condition and meet the relevant safety standards. The instructor will check personal equipment is appropriate for the activities.
Know your activity
What is mountain biking, types of mountain biking, trail grades, and difficulty levels.
The trail park environment, and the layout of the park being used.
The importance of appropriate clothing, footwear, food, drink, and what else to bring out on the trails.
Managing yourself in the wilderness while riding, and what to do if you get separated from the group.
How to recognise and ride within your ability.
Know your equipment
The different types of mountain bike.
How to set up your bike correctly for you.
Mountain biking safety equipment.
How to check your bike and equipment are safe to use before each ride.
Have fun on the trails!
Safe and efficient rider position, balance, pedalling, cornering, braking, and use of gears.
Types of trail features and terrain, and how to safely ride them.
Reading the trail, hazard awareness, evaluating risk, and identifying steering lines.
Advanced bike control techniques.
Each skill progression involves different trail elements that are discussed, walked, and slowly ridden to learn the features and how to ride them safely and efficiently before linking them together in full speed trial riding. Students should be able to safely negotiate a grade three (low risk) trail by the middle of their first term in Dirtskool before advancing as their skill levels develop and confidence grows to more challenging grade four trails, and eventually grade five for those that are keen and capable.
Want to know more? Get in Touch