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Non-Profit Gets Urban Kids Mountain Biking

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A non-profit organization is helping to expose New Yorkers to the joys of mountain biking. Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.

This may be their first time riding through the bike trails in Cunningham Park, but these kids are quick learners.

"In the beginning, they're a little tentative about what they're gonna do. They're a little scared because they've never done it before and when they come out, they can't wait to come back in," says Andree Sanders.

She's the executive director of the Metro New York chapter of Trips for Kids—a non-profit that provides mountain bike outings and environmental education.

Some call her the Bike Whisperer. She says she can teach anyone to maneuver the bumpy, mountain bike trails—even a news reporter.

"Mountain biking is like a mental reboot of the brain. You have to be a hundred percent present and when you get on the bike, there's a sense of freedom that everybody feels," Sanders says.

Trips for Kids hosted a free family biking day in Cunningham Park on Saturday. The park is home to the longest mountain bike trail in the city. Bicycles, helmets and instructions were provided for riders of all experience levels. Some residents tell us they had no idea what kind of adventure could be found right in their backyard.

"It was great. I didn't know they had trails like this in the area," says Bayside Resident Jong Oh.

Organizers say the family trail ride day exposes urban youth to nature and is a great family bonding exercise.

"I think biking is one of the greatest sports for families. You can do it from the time that kids are babies, all the way until you're old," says Eugene Sorenson, who is on the Board of Directors of Trips for Kids.

According to some kids we talked to, they plan on riding for years to come.

"It was great! I loved it!" says Upper West Side resident Lucas Mann.

"You get to see the forest, even though you're on a bike," says Upper West Side resident Liliana Mann.

"I like the experience and the thrill of actually riding out on the trails, off-road," says Bayside Resident Russell Kwong.

And if you'd like to hit the trails, you can visit tfkmetrony.org.

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