It was a short two-hour trip up IH-35 for BikeTexas staff to the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) Summer 2008 Convention. About 500 P.E. teachers and school administrators gathered at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Waco July 20-22. They toured the TAHPERD Expo in between seminars and many visited the BikeTexas booth, staffed by Teacher Training Director Brenda Chuleewah and staff member Mark Stine.
The Hilton stands next to the historic Waco Suspension Bridge (built in 1868) over the dammed-up Brazos River. As you walk or ride on this great downtown lakefront (it’s closed to motorized traffic), it’s fun to try to imagine the thousands of head of cattle that were driven across the river up the Chisholm Trail.
A lakeside trail system and fairly calm (even on work days) parallel streets take cyclists, runners and walkers under huge pecan trees to the sprawling Cameron Park, less than one mile to the west on the edge of downtown. Add in the college-aged cyclists from Baylor University, just east of downtown on the Brazos River, and you’ll find Waco to be a charmingly bike friendly town.
Seizing the opportunity for the traditional TAHPERD morning bike ride, SuperCyclist-certified teacher Bob Sanderson of Abilene High School led TAHPERD riders looking for adventure deep into Cameron Park, where steep bluffs overlook the fork of the Brazos and Bosque Rivers. In addition to steep climbs on park roads, an extensive off-road mountain bike trail system has been built there by local volunteers over the years. The site was host to the National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) Championships in 2004. The Bicycles Outback Blowout TMBRA championship series race and BikeTexas Kids Kup are also held in the park every March – one of the few in-town mountain bike events in Texas.
BikeTexas has conducted two SuperCyclist certification trainings for P.E. teachers in Waco ISD in 2007 and 2008.
Corpus Christi is the site of the 2008 Winter TAHPERD Conference this coming December. Waco will host the annual Texas Trails Network Conference in January 2009.