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  • B.A. Morelli
  • Sat February 15 2014
  • Posted Feb 15, 2014

An off road cycling club designed to expose youth to competitive and organized biking is growing in popularity.

TheYouth Off Road Riders club runs through the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County, a human services agency that supports child development. As its third season begins, the small club has doubled in size from seven to about 14 male and female riders that compete in mountain biking and cyclocross races around Iowa. Additional youth participate in organized leisure rides.

“There’s not a lot of youth in the sport, and there’s not a lot of African Americans in the sport,” said Tony Branch, a program coordinator at Neighborhood Centers. “We support both.”

Branch, who is a competitive cyclist, said children expressed interest upon seeing him arrive at work by bike. His roles is to provide positive activities for kids, and recognizing the need to combat childhood obesity, it sparked the idea for the club, he said.


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