By Conor Wilson, For the Valley Record
Continuing to expand its programming and offer more opportunities for novice cyclists, the Line Bike Experience in North Bend has introduced a new training program to help new riders become first-time racers.
Partnering with the Westside Mountain Bike Series, The Line has launched its Race Ready Training Program, aiming to prepare riders for a trio of mountain bike races through technical skills courses, race-day coaching, course previews, and for the more competitive, a weekly workout and training plan.The preparation will ultimately prepare riders to take on three races on trails at Swan Creek near Tacoma, Soaring Eagle in Sammamish, and Henry’s Ridge near Maple Valley.
Sheryl Tullis, the Line’s chief marketing officers, says the new program – which kicked-off with a skills clinic Jan. 21 — furthers the company’s mission of making mountain biking more accessible and inclusive, reducing what they’ve identified as the three most common barriers to mountain biking: the costs, fear or perception of risk and access places to ride.
“One of the reasons we sponsored this bike series is because we think it addresses all three,” she said.
Race Ready was developed by Katie Staver, the Line’s newly hired director of programs and bicycle education. Staver rides for Breakfast Racing, a Seattle-area bike team, focusing on cross county, enduro and mountain bike events. One of her teammates owns Bell Lap Productions, who put on the Westside Mountain Bike Series
The series is ideal for beginners, Staver says, offering all the features of trail racing but none of the extreme elements often associated with mountain biking in the Pacific Northwest. Plus, she says, the races provide a great community, with racers of all ages and a festival-like atmosphere, making it a friendly way to get into the sport.
“We hope the Westside series makes it easier for bikers who are race-curious to come out and try our support,” she says.
Prior to starting at the Line, Staver had most recently worked for a company that made espresso machines. She was on a bike ride with Line CEO Mike Kunz – doing “the most heinous climb” – when he started telling her about the line. While Staver had worked at bike shops and even spent a few years coaching in Minneapolis, she said the Line offered something unique.
“I’ve been in and out of the bike industry. I had done the bike shop thing, but what the Line is doing is so different from how the rest of the industry operates,” she says, emphasizing she shares the company’s passion for “helping new riders get into racing.”
In a press release announcing her hiring, Kunz, said Staver is a perfect fit for the team while adding that the company is preparing “for a wave of new programs, partners, and events in 2024, bringing bikes and programs to a diverse community.”
Last year was a busy one for The Line. In March, they opened a storefront along North Bend Way. Then, last summer they inked a three-year deal with the city of Snoqualmie to open a bike kiosk at Snoqualmie Point Park in October. The kiosk is part of the Line’s Trailhead “Trailhead project,” Kunz, the Line CEO, told the Valley Record in August.
Staver said the Line is hoping to continue to develop its partnerships and programming, including new offerings for adult skills classes, group rides, youth summer camps and more.
“A big thing is we really want to work with local communities to provide bike programs for those communities,” Staver said. “Mike usually describes it as similar to a community investing in a pool and swim lessons and everything that goes along with that. We wanna do something similar, but with bikes.”