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Johnson County Youth Off-Road Riders compete in the spring and summer

A Johnson County youth cycling program is trying to raise $5,400 toward new mountain bikes to improve safety and help the kids be more competitive.

“It would be nice to have newer bikes,” said Alec Nelson, 16, a student at Liberty High School in North Liberty. “If we all had the same bikes, it would be easier for repairs.”

Tony Branch, a staff member at the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, started Youth Off-Road Riders in 2012 to help Iowa City kids learn the “joy, fitness and fellowship” of cycling, according to a news release. Since then, 50 children have participated in the program.

This year’s team has eight students, ages 10 to 17. Their season will start in a few weeks with indoor practices at the Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center, followed by outdoor riding on trails off Camp Cardinal Boulevard on Iowa City’s west side or at Sugar Bottom Recreational Area.

Team members decide their race schedule, competing at 10 to 20 races in spring and summer, Branch said.

The Off-Road Riders have a conglomeration of mostly second-hand bikes...

Photo Credit: The Gazette


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