Mountain Bike Mentor

Whether teaching younger riders or maintaining North Park trails, NASH senior Grant McKissock’s passion for mountain biking is far-reaching.


Grant McKissock

Senior Grant McKissock (right) is active in the mountain biking community on all fronts.

Miller Orris, Staff Writer

NASH senior Grant McKissock practically lives in North Park. He takes advantage of the area’s recreational opportunities to the fullest, whether it’s hiking the trails with his friends or paddle boarding on the lake.

But above all, McKissock loves mountain biking. 

McKissock takes to the trails year-round, even participating in group events and teaching mountain biking classes to younger kids.

“I started mountain biking because one day my friend told me about it. I got much better in middle school, so I developed a lot of skills during the years leading up to high school,” he said.

Plenty of people, especially in the NA area, love to mountain bike. NA’s close proximity to areas such as North Park, with its vast array of trails, gives many students the opportunity to try the hobby on ideal terrain.

But McKissock is more of an expert than a hobbyist. He is frequently at his local bike shop, Trailflo, and knows that mountain biking holds valuable lessons that can be applicable to life, as many sports do. 

“I love inspiring kids by teaching them what I love to do. It shows them teamwork, focus, courage, and many more valuable life skills. I take pride in what I do, and I try to make them have the best experience possible,” McKissock said.

The kids that McKissock teaches love the experience of mountain biking itself.

“They love the thrill of the trails and the fast speeds that they go. They love how they can feel the adrenaline rushing through them as they avoid obstacles along the way,” he said.

McKissock and the other coaches try to make the potentially daunting sport more approachable for the younger kids they teach. 

“My fellow coaches, Alex Lilienthal, Garrett McConnell, Nick Weber, and Conor Griffin, and I take the kids on a variety of different trails,” McKissock said. “We have three levels that are based on skill. Depending on the group’s skill level, we will take them down a trail that suits them.”

By dividing the trails by their difficulty, McKissock makes the park easier to tackle, and with a group of instructors, the students are never in danger.

McKissock also helps to maintain the trails within the park to ensure they’re in prime condition for biking.  Some of McKissock’s favorite trails are packed with different jumps and need maintenance regularly for them to be safe.

“One trail I really like is called Dr. J. It’s a trail that has a lot of cool jump and drop features. It’s actually one of the trails in North Park that I help maintain,” McKissock said.

Whether it be teaching newcomers, maintaining trails, or helping customers at Trailflo, McKissock is not only an important part of mountain bike culture at North Park but also an ambassador for the growing sport.