Earlier this year, Carroll Adventure and Mountaineering Program (CAMP) director Bradley Maddock and BCBSMT public relations director John Doran – both avid cyclists – were taking part in the filming of a promotional video touting the mountain biking scene in Helena. Doran liked the idea of how many larger cities offer free commuter bikes, but wanted to put a Montana touch on it. With Helena’s prominence as a mountain bike destination, he leaned more toward knobby tires than commuter. Meanwhile, Maddock had a need at CAMP, as many Carroll students don’t own their own mountain bikes, and the program had none to offer.
That fortuitous meeting has since resulted in quite the fleet of mountain bikes for the CAMP program. In August, BCBSMT donated $25,000 to Carroll College for the purchase of 11 bikes from Helena’s Great Divide Cyclery and Big Sky Cycling and Fitness. They are ready to hit the trails, complete with helmets and repair kits.
“We’re always committed to investing in the communities we serve, and this is a unique way to do that, all while supporting Carroll College and the local economy,” BCBSMT spokesperson Jesse Zentz said. “We hope this helps Carroll students take advantage of the amazing mountain biking opportunities Helena has to offer. It’s a great way to have fun and shed some calories.”
BCBSMT and CAMP worked closely with Great Divide and Big Sky Cycling to maximize the number of bikes while maintaining quality, a wide range were purchased in August and delivered to Carroll College.
“This is going to be huge for Carroll College to get the students into it and give them the ability to come out and learn about mountain biking," Maddock said.
“Our business is to get people on bikes, not only for entertainment, but for good health,” said Great Divide owner Dan Berry, who joined Carroll College students – including some first-time mountain bikers – for a ride on the new fleet in early September.
Big Sky Cycling owner Jim Barnes is looking forward to joining CAMP for some rides in the future.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for Carroll College students, living in a community that’s so close to the mountains with easy trail riding access,” Barnes said. “There are a lot of kids who come to Montana, because they want to get outside and do some of this stuff, so this just makes it easier. That’s what drew me to the state and I never left. And because these are performance bikes, it will make it fun.”
The project is serving as pilot program for possible opportunities at other Montana colleges and universities.
“Helena is a great place to mountain bike, but it’s not the only place to mountain bike,” Zentz said. "This idea could work really well at other colleges around the state in the future."How do YOU get your bike on? Tell us about your adventures in the comments!
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