Club creates track for youth to stay safe

McBeath brings tools for children to work weekly, course fills on weekends



Samson “Spidey” Wolsburn, a member of the Three Forks Bike Club, takes flight on his bike off of a jump at the club’s track near Lincoln Middle School on Crestview Street on May 23.

MAGGIE QUINLAN, Evergreen reporter

For years, Scott McBeath has been running an eight-week-long summer bike camp through Pullman Parks & Recreation. But lately, he’s been spending his Wednesday evenings at his new club for children; the Three Forks Bike Club.

The club is free, doesn’t require membership and children can come and go as they please. Like McBeath himself, the club’s spirit is both laidback and hardworking.

Every week, he brings tools so the children can work on the track they’ve been building, but on any day of the week they can bring their bikes to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

“Friday or Saturday, it’s full of kids,” McBeath said, “and it’s good for the kids. These kids are totally staying out of trouble.”

The ever-changing group meets on a green, sloping property overlooking Grand Avenue, only a couple of blocks from Lincoln Middle School. A cozy creek and freshly blazed bike trails cut through grass and wildflowers.

Pullman resident Scotty Cornelius won the land in a Pullman Regional Hospital auction several years ago. His philosophy about the land is summed up in an Andy Warhol quote that is stapled to the back of the property’s sign.

“I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could want to own,” the quote reads.

The natural beauty of the Palouse seems preserved here, despite concrete surroundings. Given its beauty, Cornelius wants the land to be used. McBeath and Cornelius have been dedicated to clearing bike trails here with the help of the children.

“The kids rode their bikes and we would ride out on Johnson Road to a quarry and [Cornelius] would bring his truck,” McBeath said. “They would put the rocks in the truck, then we would ride back here, unload. You know, it was a very slow task and they’re all proud of it.”

This month, a new pump track has been the children’s main project. A pump track, McBeath said, is one huge loop that incorporates little dips to build momentum.

As McBeath explained the project, his son Rory, a sixth grader at Lincoln Middle School, hammered on one corner of the track with a pickaxe.

McBeath is inspired by his son and said his philosophy about childhood learning encourages exploration, creativity and overcoming challenges.

“Get kids on bikes and everything’s a challenge,” he said. “Nothing is easy. That’s how they learn.”

In his bike camp, originally called “Growing Your Imagination,” McBeath worked with an idea he got from an article about childhood development.

“It basically said that kids need to do nothing,” he said.

In his camps, kids gathered around a chalkboard at the City Playfields and voted on a new schedule each day. McBeath said his camps and the club offer an alternative to the structure of organized sports, but still build character.

“This is therapy,” he said. “When you’re exploring new terrain, that’s therapy.”

As members of McBeath’s club have aged, he finds new jobs for them. Carrie Wolsborn has had both of her sons, Max and Samson “Spidey” Wolsborn, in McBeath’s camps. Max was 13, older than most of the kids, when he started in the camp.

“Scott really took Max under his wing as a mentor, and has taught him to work on bikes and work with kids,” Wolsborn said. “Now Max is his right-hand guy.”

McBeath said the club is a great option for older kids who don’t want to be in the camps, but have the freedom to head over to the track after school or on the weekends.

Parents have seen the benefits of children joining the club.

“It’s been great in the sense that not only has it given them bike skills, but it’s given them leadership skills and life skills too,” Wolsborn said. “Any time they get with Scott and on a bike, they think it’s the best thing ever.”