Trips for Kids Santa Cruz Newsletter 2015-01-28

Kids from Earn-A-Bike program explore the Forest of Nisene Marks


With the rain clouds parting to beautiful sunshine, kids from the Earn-A-Bike program mounted up to ride the fire road into the Forest of Nisene Marks. Along the way we tried out some of the skills development areas and side spurs.

Check out the video and photographs of the ride on our website.

Upcoming biking events

Light up the Night Bike Ride and Free Light Giveaway

Friday, January 30, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, with the ride starting at 7:00 PM
Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History
705 Front Street
Santa Cruz

Free bike lights to the first 50 attendees.

Prizes awarded for:

  • brightest bike
  • brightest rider
  • most creative costume

Some of the prizes to be awarded include:

  • VIS 360 Micro tail lights and a Urban 350 Bluemoon from Light and Motion
  • Turn-Signal Bike Gloves from Zackees
  • M232 Bike Wheel Lights from MonkeyLectric

Upcoming rides

We have rides scheduled for Saturday, January 31, with Jóvenes Sanos. Big Brothers and Big Sisters will ride with us in March. For more information, please contact our ride coordinator at:

Request a ride for your group

We have many open regular ride dates scheduled in our calendar on the first and third Saturdays of the month. Other dates are possible by request. If you have a group of kids that you would like to take mountain biking, request a ride through our website.


Make a difference in a kid’s life

Our volunteers teach bike skills, provide moral support, and help kids meet challenges. They also tune bikes, secure donations, write grants, build community support, and make it all happen behind the scenes. Come share your time and expertise with youth and enjoy the smiles.

Give a kid the opportunity of a lifetime

Donating to Trips for Kids Santa Cruz changes lives through the mountain biking experience. As an all-volunteer organization, your donations go directly to benefit kids.

We accept bikes, tubes, tires, water bottles, first aid kits, and any other mountain bike related necessities. Please Contact Us to arrange a donation of in-kind items.

Of course, we accept monetary donations, as well! Checks made payable to “Trips for Kids Santa Cruz” may be sent to:

758 Rio Del Mar Blvd
Aptos, CA 95003

President’s message: highlights from 2014

Happy Holidays everyone,

As we complete another trip around the Sun, we look back at another fun and successful year for Trips for Kids Santa Cruz. Here are just a few of our highlights from 2014.

We provide the bikes, gear, transportation, lunches, and instruction. The kids provide the smiles. Of course, we couldn’t do any of it without your support. Thanks for all you do, helping us “change kids’ lives from the seat of a bike”.

We look forward to doing it all again in the coming year. As a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, your support is critical. Please consider making a donation or volunteering if you can.

Happy New Year!

John Fuchs

President T4KSC

Confessions of a novice trip leader

I’ve been an officer with Trips For Kids Santa Cruz for some time, but the August ride was my first ride with the kids.  It also became my first time as tip co-leader when the trip leader had a family medical emergency, on top of many hours that she’s spent coordinating large and successful midweek rides, and simply found herself maxed out.

I was terrified.  I’ve done many daunting things from technical rock climbing to public speaking, but with the sudden sense of responsibility I was more anxious than I’d been in a long time.  But, everything worked out.  We went on a ride with five kids from Tyler House, a residential home for substance abuse treatment.  We all had a good time, and the kids were utterly appreciative.  Here are some things that made it work.

With beginning riders, you can and should keep it easy.  After the plans crystallized to take the kids to Nisene Marks, I panicked because I’m not familiar with the technical mountain biking trails there.  My boyfriend pointed out that I was forgetting what it’s like to be a beginner, and that the fire road would be the appropriate level of difficulty (as well as being easy to navigate).  If it proved easy for some kids, they’d get a sense of satisfaction, which is what we’re going for.  In particular, kids from group homes can be carrying significant emotional baggage, and can’t always bear much frustration.  All of these things are true.  It’s also true that there are many benefits to having a partner who’s smarter than you are!

Our experience serves us well.  I reused the ride plan that John had used in July with a different group.  We rode up the fire road to the bottom of the incline, locked up the bikes for a short hike to the Loma Prieta epicenter, and rode back downhill for lunch.  The kids loved the variety, and the fire road was in fact the appropriate level of difficulty.

Having a healthy number of volunteers gives you options for dealing with the unexpected.  Our ride left the Launch Pad with two trip co-leaders, two volunteers, two counselors from Tyler House, and five kids.   One girl simply didn’t want to ride; she tried, but was too scared.  When you don’t know what kind of baggage a kid is carrying, you have to respect his or her limits.  In this case, we were able to leave the girl with a counselor while everyone else went riding.  And even though the group split into two subgroups of the faster and slower riders respectively (as is typical), we had enough adults to look after each group.

Kids tend to be agreeable when they’re having fun.  After the ride, it was something to behold: five teenagers helping clean and put away the gear, set out lunch, and clean up afterwards.  They were all cheerful and agreeable.  Without any prompting from their counselors, they all thanked us.  We’re always prepared for kids to not be so agreeable, but our experience with this group is actually pretty typical.

The upshot is that we can always use more volunteer ride leaders, and even if you don’t think you have what it takes, you’d be surprised.  Are you worried that you can’t ride well enough?  If you can ride on a fire road, you can probably ride well enough.  Are you worried that you don’t have the proper training or skills to work with the kids?  Given that there are other ride leaders on the rides, common sense and basic interpersonal skills will get you farther than you’d think.  You don’t have much time to spare?  All it takes is half a day, once in a while.  As the saying goes, many hands make light work.

The rewards are plentiful.  These kids have had hard lives, but when you see them laughing together, you know that a burden has been lifted for a while.  One kid, who’ll soon be leaving Tyler House, volunteered repeatedly to come help out on future rides.  Endorsements don’t get much stronger than that!  These are kids who are growing up in our community, and our future is intertwined with theirs.  Consider getting involved, because it’s probably easier and more rewarding than you’d guess.