Featuring Mountain Biking: Adventure Program Blog Series
by Falling Creek Camp on
November 15, 2020
Zipping through the trees, splashing through creeks, and flowing down bermy singletrack trails - it’s hard not to smile while riding a mountain bike. The mountain bike program at Falling Creek was the most recent adventure program addition, beginning in the 80s with BMX bikes, since the sport of mountain biking was new across the country. The photo on the left shows riders at the overlook in 1988. Navigating the trails on BMX bikes was more of a challenge then (no suspension and smaller wheels!), so we’re happy that cycling technology has become much more advanced since then.
Outdoor Adventure Director, Ben Williams, can often be found riding trails, both around camp in the summer, and at his Utah home in the off-season. His favorite part about mountain biking? The speed. “When traveling through a rhododendron tunnel at speed, you get the sense of riding the Star Wars ‘speeder bike.’ Zipping around trees, though creeks, and over logs - man it is great,” reflects Ben.
Though going fast on a bike can be fun, campers of all experience levels can enjoy mountain biking, regardless of the speed they feel comfortable riding. All boys will start with an introductory skills clinic and progress to ride on the camp trails, which offer a variety of terrain. Boys will first demonstrate how to control their bike and how to ride in a safe position before hitting the trails, so they can tackle the downhills and climb the uphills at their own pace.
Once they show proficiency on the bike in-camp, boys will then have the option to go on out-of-camp rides and overnight trips. Like all of our adventure programs, boys can choose to sign up for trips out of camp in our 2-Week, June, and Main Camp sessions. However, with 27 miles of trail at Falling Creek, campers don’t even have to leave camp property to get in plenty of great riding! Our knowledgeable mountain bike counselors will also teach bike handling skills and basic bike maintenance, so boys can learn how to take care of their bikes and how to improve their form while riding.
We spoke to one of our mountain bike counselors, Aaron Perry, about what his favorite part of the mountain bike program is. Aaron’s first year at Falling Creek was as a staff member in 2019, but he was quick to fit into the camp community. “My favorite part of the mountain biking program would have to be the bonds built through trips,” he says.
Though trips can be challenging, boys and staff know that the supportive community environment will always encourage them, and help them find that they are capable of more than they may have thought. “Going out to Pisgah for 3 days and suffering 3-4 hours of climbing for 30 minutes of downhill takes a special person,” Aaron says, remembering some challenging climbs on the more advanced trips to Pisgah. However, working hard on the climb makes the descent feel that much sweeter, and feeling of accomplishment after a ride is always worth it. “When those special people are all brought together, that creates some great memories and great bonds,” says Aaron.
For Aaron, Falling Creek is unique because of these trips and outdoor experiences. “To me personally, the adventure program makes the camp. It also forms the most amazing little community within Falling Creek of awesome people with similar interests.” The friends made during the summer are lifelong, whether you’re a camper or a staff member. “I still hang out with fellow adventure staffers on weekends. The community of adventure staff is what sets Falling Creek apart,” says Aaron.
If you’d like to be a part of our adventure staff community, or our counselor community as a whole, you can begin the application process on our website here.
Enjoy this video from a 2019 Dupont Mountain Bike Trip!
Check back here soon for the final blog in our Adventure Program series, featuring Paddling!