School of Dirt

now enrolling participants and instructors for 2021!

Overview and Vision

The School of Dirt’s mission is to provide youth with essential skills for accessing, riding, and navigating urban trail systems by bicycle. The School seeks to serve the diverse communities of the Greater Boston Area, and a core mission of the School is to build ridership and leadership capacity among women and BIPOC. The School will begin offering courses during summer and fall of 2021.

The School will provide mixed-format instruction free of charge to youth between the ages of 14 and 20. The curriculum will include techniques for riding technical terrain as well as the navigation skills necessary for safe and enjoyable trail riding. The School also aspires to cultivate the leadership skills crucial for planning, organizing, and leading rides.

Partnerships

We are partnering with the Boston cycling community including Bikes Not Bombs (BNB), MIT Cycling, and Youth Enrichment Services to cultivate cycling leaders and recruit program participants.

Curriculum

The School of Dirt’s curriculum revolves around four skill sets that are essential for becoming a competent rider, route planner, and ride leader.

Riding

Safely traversing technical terrain - including roots, rocks, sand, and steep hills - demands a specific set of riding skills. Course instructors will help youth practice riding on challenging terrain in the controlled environment of Franklin Park.

Navigation

The ability to read different types of maps is crucial for finding bicycle-friendly pathways to destinations throughout the city, as well as navigating trail systems. Ultimately, the School seeks to empower youth with the ability to create their own maps using commonly-available navigational tools to find safer routes to common destinations or satisfy their desire for adventure.

Mechanics

Riding on rough terrain can wreak havoc on bicycles, so understanding what tools to bring and how to use them is critical for self-sufficiency. All School courses will include  mechanical instruction for addressing a range of common issues encountered while riding through the forest such as fixing a flat, repairing a broken chain, and adjusting brakes & derailleurs.

Leadership

Every great bicycle ride must have a leader. Organizing the ride, providing route information, selecting the right equipment, and setting expectations for fellow riders are essential to a successful outing in the woods. In addition to helping youth become competent riders, navigators, and mechanics, the School also strives to cultivate leaders, not only on bikes but in their communities. As such, School instructors will model and reinforce key leadership skills including maintaining a positive outlook, risk assessment, problem solving, and consensus building.

instructor / participant enrollment

Interested in enrolling in the School of Dirt or helping out as an instructor? Email charlie@urbandirt.org and we'll keep you up to date as the School shifts into higher gear!

support us

To make the School a reality, we are relying upon the generosity of anyone who can afford to give! No amount is too large or too small. Please help us raise $12,000 by May 15th.