“Doug has done so much for promoting the sport of mountain biking and getting kids on bikes, by bringing fat-tires to the classroom,” said Lora Woolner, IMBA Canada’s executive director.
What started as a club of 50 kids from Gibsons Elementary School more than two decades ago, has grown into a world-renowned cycling program that has put thousands of kids on bikes in Canada, and around the globe.
“Sprockids is all about getting young people involved in a healthy lifestyle,” says Doug, a public school teacher by profession. “At the same time you’re teaching them skills and strategies to succeed in life. There is a hidden curriculum of goal setting, learning from your mistakes, getting along with your peers, and being creative.”
Today, Sprockids is run in 19 countries by schools, cycling clubs, girl guides and boy scouts, and many other community organizations. The educational program connects kids with mentors to give them tools to enjoy cycling safely.
Unlike sports like swimming or soccer, cycling doesn’t have a nationally recognized instruction program. “I wanted to create a resource that anyone could take and make their own,” says Doug. That resource has evolved into two instruction manuals, totaling more than 500 pages, training DVDs, skills passports, and schwag for participants.
As the program grew, Doug started hosting local races, and eventually built the Sprockids Bike Park in Gibsons, BC – the first municipally built bike park in Canada, he says. In the early 2000s, Doug also planned two of the biggest trail building days in Canadian history, each with more than 1000 kids from kindergarten to grade 12 out on the trail.
Over the years, Sprockids has partnered with both IMBA and the Canadian Cycling Association to further expand its reach, but now the program lies back in the hands of its founder. Just a few years from retirement at Gibsons Elementary, Doug says he is looking forward to working on Sprockids full time so that he can focus on training new instructors and updating and developing new resources.
In recognition of his contribution to Canadian youth in mountain biking, we are presenting Doug with a hand-made plaque, created by Toronto metalwork artist Rachel Best.
“I’m humbled by the gorgeous award, and honoured to receive it. There are so many people doing great things in Canada with mountain biking at the moment, so it really means a lot,” said Doug.