What is sMOREs?
You may have heard folks mention sMOREs at your local mountain bike ride or event recently, and while we’re all a fan of the campfire marshmallow treat, what they’re talking about these days is a little different.
MORE member Joel Gwadz coined the term sMORE’s — referring to the Small MORE members– and if you know Joel, you know about his commitment to junior mountain bikers. The term gave a name to the kid’s mountain biking program that adult MORE members have worked to cultivate over the past few years. Some of the events are The Bike Lane’s Jr Rides at Wakefield/Lake Fairfax, MOCO kids ride in Montgomery County and the more recent BaltisMOREs rides.
Over the past year, the MORE BOD has spent a great deal of time cultivating the sMORE’s program. The top priority for the group is to make it easier for families (sons, daughters, mother, brothers, sisters, fathers, cousins, friends, etc.) to go mountain biking. The two main goals of this program are to create more events (including weekend rides / clinics) and map and designate trails that are “sMORE’s approved.”
The MORE age demographic is maturing (also true for mountain biking nationwide), and many of my riding friends from 20 years ago are now married with young kids, like myself. My own little family has been involved in the sMORE’s program – both participating and leading weekend rides — for the past few years. I never would have imagined the joy I get from seeing my kids ride their bikes in the woods.
In fact, this past Tuesday my son and I participated in the MOCO sMORE’s ride — to see how life is on the other side of the river — and it was an awesome experience. Parents and kids ranging in age from 6 years to 13+ were riding together. There were lots of smiles on faces, both on the parents and kids, and there was tons of encouragement. In fact, the group has been riding so well that this was one of the more challenging rides the group has done, and they did great. Personally, it was amazing to watch my son go through a range of emotions. There was initially some apprehension and concern in some of the rockier sections and there was some fatigue when the trail tilted upwards. More importantly, I saw his self-confidence grow over the course of the ride and at the end he was proud of his accomplishment.
Coming up next will be a sMOREs ride at the Patapsco Epic and the MORE Fall camping trip. The ride promises to be super fun, and the camping trip is legendary in my house. In fact, my kids ask about it all year long. The amount of families and kids has continued to grow every year and not only do the kids get some great riding, they get to enjoy s’mores with the sMOREs. This year we are going to Big Bear Lake in WV.
Seriously, don’t miss it.
As you might be able to tell from my passage, I’m super excited about this program. I will be staying involved and I hope that you can, as well. If you have any questions about the program or how to get involved, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the program website or like sMOREs on Facebook.