CLT Bike Camp inspires healthy lifestyle choices and fosters personal and community growth through experiential education in active transit.
We envision a city in which people are connected to and engaged with the land and each other. We envision our city leading by example in being an opportune and equitable home for all its’ people. We believe that equal opportunities in mobility are key towards achieving this vision.
Who We Are
We believe that every child has the inherent freedom to ride a bike. We believe that the bicycle is not a toy but a tool, and also a vehicle. Operating a vehicle in any capacity requires knowledge, skill and responsibility. Through our program, children learn and practice the foundations of bicycle safety, maintenance, handling and road use. Our purpose is to provide an immersive and supportive experience that equips children with greater awareness and skills to be confident and responsible city riders.
From our inception we have been a sliding-scale tuition based program. We want any child and family to participate. Children from every neighborhood deserve to experience what their city has to offer, and getting there requires knowledge, situational awareness and practice. To have dependable skills and experiences in active mobility is to have connection to even greater opportunities and healthy lifestyles.
This is why from our humble beginnings, we strive to devote around ⅓ of our operating budget to sliding scale, (reaching that goal this year with mission to grow) and cooperate with each and every parent or guardian to meet their financial needs.
In a nutshell …
We are an organization here to equally serve and empower children of Charlotte one bicycle adventure at a time.
A Typical Week at Camp
Day 1: Gearing Up! On day one we stay close to homebase and spend the most of the day working on skills, drills and route maneuvers. In the afternoon we take a short ride to get used to riding as a group.
Days 2-5: We Ride! Each day of camp we ride to a new destination, ranging from spray-grounds, parks, art galleries, local businesses … to the government center! We typically increase our miles as the days progress. In the mornings we practice skills and traffic maneuvers that are relevant to and applied on our rides. After the morning skills session we embark on our daily adventure which includes plenty of snacks and stops along the way.
How We Ride
We ride in a single file line, following the laws of traffic, clearly communicating our intentions to other road users. We have a Ride Leader, a Sweeper and at least a third adult, often more, who ride left of the group for lane placement, and assist with traffic flow at intersections.
We use a combination of strategies for riding around town. For example at times we take the lane, at other times we pull off safely and allow traffic to pass. We always ride as consistently and predictably as is possible. (For any questions about our rides please contact us!)
We structure our week knowing the group gets stronger with practice. A hidden magic in bike camp is that children learn to communicate and cooperate with each other in order to ride comfortably as a group. Every group has it’s journey and it is inspiring to watch how each one finds their own unique way of making it work.
Summer 2016 was our first year of operation. Charlotte and Bethanie, two passionate educators and car-free individuals were brought together over a common idea; to spend their summer riding bicycles with kids.
- The roots of bike camp grew out of both their experiences riding bicycles with the students of their schools. Bethanie along with Heather, another educator, were cultivating a strong community with Bicycle Friday, which is a now established Park Road Montessori tradition of riding bikes to school together on Friday. Meanwhile across town in Plaza Midwood, Charlotte along with Nancy, two facilitators at a local Agile Learning Center were also riding bikes with their students for field trips, outings and exploring the neighborhood.
- With support from the locally beloved organization Trips for Kids Charlotte, CLT Bike Camp launched the pilot program. The camp brought the cycling community together in a new and profound way. It was our wish, along with that of parents and community members, to continue. We look forward to another great summer!
Where We are Today
2023 begins our 8th season as CLT Bike Camp. There have been some changes, including a growing staff and board. But we retain the basic camp structure and mission that we have always had. Beginning in 2020, we launched a second program called Melanin in Motion (MIM), with a mission of reaching out to a broader demographic of our Charlotte population. We will be moving into our third season of this program, and we plan to grow it into a full summer camp experience within the next two years.
Board of Directors
Charlotte Cadieux Heather Ructerstuhl
Saundra Lewis Eric Supil
Angelia Brown Phyllis Barnett
Harry Johnson Courtney Johnson
Alex Vucnich Dave Ponivas