Thursday, April 12, 2018

SoMont Cycling Youth Mountain Bike Team Gears Up For Third Season

The SoMont Cycling Youth MTB team, a youth mountain bike team founded in Glenside/Wyncote, is looking for youth athletes to join their team. The team has local promotional events this weekend Saturday April 14 at Keswick Cycle in Glenside and next week Thursday April 26th at Circle Cycle Bike Shop in Huntington Valley.  

SoMont (Southern Montgomery County) Cycling Youth MTB Team is a chartered composite team of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League (PICL) and the National Interscholastic Cycling League (NICA). 

Co-founders, Wyncote/Cheltenham neighbors and friends, John Raisch and Thuong Nguyen are mountain biking enthusiasts.  Raisch, a Rockledge-native and Abington High School graduate, grew up mountain biking in Lorimer Park while Nguyen, who grew up in Lancaster, became an avid Fairmount Park rider while earning his BA at the University of the Arts. 

Today, both are also fathers with children developing their own affinity for cycling. During the league’s inaugural season in 2016, Raisch and Nguyen planned and conducted learning experiences, training, and practices for the youth in Lorimer Park, Baederwood Park, Tookany Creek Parkway, Pennypack Park & Rail Trail, Forbidden Drive, and at the Philly Pumptrack.  Along the way, they picked up new team recruits and supporters. For the 2017 season, the SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team attracted over 25 student-athletes, spanning grades 6 through 10,  from public and private schools throughout southern Montgomery County (Cheltenham, Abington, Springfield, Lower Moreland and other areas).  The team is also enthusiastically and financially supported by many community businesses.  

Our athletes impress me every time we’re out on the bikes,” said Nguyen. He further added, ”Last year, their confidence grew off the charts, but, more importantly, they developed meaningful friendships. They’re just a great bunch of kids.”

“We have a fantastic group of dedicated community based sponsors, coaches, student-athletes and families. I am so proud of what we’ve collectively accomplished and I look forward to seeing our team race and represent Southern Montgomery County this season,” remarked Raisch. However, Raisch is boldly looking forward to this new season, “We are actively recruiting more student-athletes, preparing for a time when Abington, Cheltenham, Lower Moreland and other school districts adopt mountain biking as an interscholastic sport. This wonderful sport promotes physical and mental fitness, equality, inclusivity, and an appreciation of the great outdoors. We don’t think it gets much better than that.”

Founded in 2009, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA provides leadership, services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events, and supports every student-athlete in the development of strong body, strong mind and strong character through their efforts on the bike.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League (PICL) is a non-profit 501(c)3 NICA Project League. The league was organized in 2014 with the goal to provide fun, safe, and competitive mountain biking opportunities for middle (grades 6-8) & high school students in the Commonwealth.

SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team is a PICL sanctioned composite team, organized in 2016.  It is an independent youth mountain bike team in the Cheltenham, Abington, Rockledge, Lower Moreland, Upper Dublin and Springfield areas of southern Montgomery County. The goal of SoMont Youth MTB is to introduce boys and girls (6th to 12th grade) to the sport of mountain biking and to help them use the sport as a way of developing a new life-long athletic interest.  The team and coaching philosophy is to use cycling, and the mountain bike itself, as a way-of-thinking to transport our riders to a sense of adventure, exploration, excitement, friendship and good health.

Learn more about the team at these upcoming promotional events:

Saturday April 14, Noon to 3pm
Keswick Cycle Glenside
408 N Easton Rd, Glenside, PA 19038

Circle Cycle Meet-N-Greet
Thursday April 26, 6:30pm
Circle Cycle Bike Shop
2525 Huntingdon Pike, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006

For more information please contact:
John Raisch, Director, SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team