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Miami sprint course pedals its way through Oxford

New KNH mountain biking class works up a sweat, teaches history and safety

By Corinne Hazen, For The Miami Student

Miami University is offering a new mountain biking course. Students can now ride bikes and, in the process, move one step closer to graduation.

Miami University's Kinesiology and Health department has created a two-credit hour mountain biking course, KNH M-150. This course will allow students to enjoy the beauty of Oxford, while also being active. Students will learn the history, safety and maintenance required for mountain biking, co-professor of the course Ricardo Maduro said.

Maduro said the course covers a number of topics related to mountain biking, while encouraging students to continue this healthy, leisurely activity long after they leave Miami.

"Mountain biking has an interesting history, and students will learn about this as well as learn how to safely ride a mountain bike, where it is safe and acceptable to ride a mountain bike," Maduro said. "And they will also learn some basic maintenance of the bike."

According to Maduro, the mountain biking course is currently open for enrollment for spring semester, and students can register via Banner Web as they would for any other courses.

Helaine Alessio, chair of the Kinesiology and Health department at Miami, initiated the creation of the mountain biking course. Alessio said the class is placed under the Physical Activities Life Skills (PALS) Program.

"The mission of the PALS program is to provide students opportunities to learn about physical activities that are healthy and can be continued throughout the life span," Alessio said. "Other PALS classes include Racquet Sports, Weight Training, Horseback Riding, Power Walking, Broomball, Ice Skating, Ice Hockey and Outdoor Pursuit courses such as Rock Climbing and Canoeing."

Alessio also said the creation of KNH M-150 was the result of an increased interest in mountain biking, since it is a healthy and environmentally friendly outdoor leisure activity. According to Alessio, there will be two sections of mountain biking offered and the class will officially begin Oct. 22.

According to Alessio, both sections of the class meet four days a week, Monday through Thursday. One section meets at 8:30 a.m. and the second one at 4:00 p.m. Alessio said the afternoon class is full, but there are spots left in the 8:30 a.m. time slot.

Sophomore Erin Skaggs said she likes the idea of such an interactive class setting.

"I honestly didn't know until now that there was a mountain biking class, but it seems like a really cool idea," Skaggs said. "Since Ohio is relatively flat and mountain-less, I'm a bit curious how this class would work. It would be a cool and fun way to not only gain credits and to get some good exercise."

Skaggs did say she would be hesitant to take this class because it requires extra fees.

Bikes and helmets will be provided to the school by a third-party, but Bob Feldman, co-professor of KNH M-150, said students wishing to use or rent these bikes must pay a $50 charge per semester.

Feldman and Maduro both said they hope students who take this course gain a lot from the unique experience.

"[Students will] definitely learn new skills, work up a sweat and see parts of campus and the Oxford area they didn't know existed," Feldman said.