WHITEFISH — Lynn Foster is part owner in A7 Cycles and has been in the cycling industry for over 25 years. She also runs the Flathead Valley NICA team, which is a national association helping kids grades 6-12 find their confidence and start riding.
There is currently 12 NICA -- National Interscholastic Cycling Association -- teams in Montana and each team takes kids on bike trails throughout the state. NICA'S mission is to bring the adolescent community together.
"Statewide we camp together, with all the teams. Everybody cheers everybody on, it is pretty amazing," said Foster.
Their mission statement they strive by is today’s youth are tomorrows leaders.
"Their confidence grows so much throughout the season whether they're on a trail or learn how to go off a rock drop, or all of a sudden they realize they got to the top of a climb without stopping which they have never done before," Foster said. "But that confidence goes throughout the rest of their life. "
Foster believes with a strong group of people behind you, people from all levels can pick up this new skill.
"A strong group of women is the only reason I got on a mountain bike and absolutely fell in love with it," said Foster. "And I think that is kind of the way to grow to have somebody knowledgeable, patient and just kind getting you out there and now I ride with men and women pretty much all the time."
And the best part about finding the courage to hop on a bike is that no matter which trailhead you show up to, you will find a new friend.
"It is a very very close community," Foster said. "I was told this last weekend that it's a way of cheating at making friends. So no matter where I go in the country I can walk up to a bike shop, go up to a trailhead and usually have somebody to ride with within an hour."