'Dirt World' bike course in Richmond helping city kids get off the sidewalk

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Two new programs are helping to get Bay Area kids off the sidewalks, and onto a course that challenges their physical and mental skills.

The dust was flying, and spirits were soaring, on a newly built bike track in Richmond. And for some of the kids riding today, just being on a BMX bike is a unique experience.

"I came today, I didn't know to ride a bike, I had training wheels, and I tried it, and I learned how to ride a bike," said rider Brandon Blackmore.

The bikes and the coaching were supplied by a group called Flood-The-Streets-With Bikes. Founder Howard Cato, who was once paralyzed in a shooting incident, says it fueled his rehabilitation with the goal of returning to BMX bike racing.

"They helped me get back into it, so I think for me, it's pretty much helping give back to my community for the good things they've done to me, I can help the next kid do that," says Cato.

Cato's program is geared to city kids around the Bay Area who may not own, or even have ridden a bike. And today, they were taking advantage of an opportunity in Richmond where the city recently carved out a BMX bike course to help lure kids away from the streets and into a fun environment.

"Instead of getting some professionals to come in and tell us what to do, these parks are designed by the community and they have the stuff the community wants in them," observes Richmond mayor Tom Butt.

The course is called Dirt World, and it's built on a former railroad right of way. It's being paid for through a combination of city funds and donations. Both Dirt World and Flood The Streets With Bikes have partnered with Go-Fund-Me to raise money for the programs. And each are hoping to use the sport to level the challenges underprivileged kids might face in life, by giving them a chance to harness some ups and downs on the race course.

Click here for more information on Dirt World, and click here for more information on the Flood The Streets With Bikes program.
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