Student Features

Three PA Cyber siblings plan to host their fifth annual indoor bicycle event

Mar 23, 2018

Nationally sponsored BMX bike riders Lukas, 15, Nathan, 13, and Shane Halahan, 9, will host the Next Generation Jam on April 7 at The Wheel Mill in Pittsburgh.

“It’s really the boys putting on an event and giving back to the BMX community — specifically youth — as far as this event is concerned,” their father, Mike Halahan, said.

Freestyle bike riders from Wexford. Pa, the brothers travel extensively, riding BMX and mountain bikes, and are also involved in the testing and development of new youth-specific, high-end bicycle frames, components and safety gear.

More than 150 people are drawn to the Next Generation Jam annually, and a large crowd of some of the best young riders is expected again this year, Mike Halahan said. Pittsburgh has a large freestyle BMX community, but participants hail from across North America, including Portland, Toronto, West Palm Beach, North Carolina and the tri-state area.

While the Next Generation Jam is similar to the adult-style events, Mike Halahan said his sons wanted to host a youth-friendly event with the same fun vibe and garnered sponsors to make it happen.

“There are many types of BMX that you can be involved in. Not all of them are just about winning with best time or best trick,” Mike Halahan said. “A large part of BMX, and the part that my sons are most involved with, is really having a fun time and sharing that culture of family and fun, and bicycles.”

The Wheel Mill has 88,000 square feet of jumps and trails and bikers face built-in challenges. Awards are given for everything from the “most stylish rider” and “person who had the most fun,” to “best family of the day.” Prizes come from sponsors. A bike park in Toronto, for example, donated a family weekend worth $400.

Lukas and Nathan started the indoor bike event in 2014. Shane, the youngest sibling, has become more involved over the past two years through the handful of sponsors and support the brothers receive from the bike industry.

Sponsors, such as Vans shoes and G-Form, a protective equipment company, provide products and the means to have the event. Vans has donated T-shirts and other promotional giveaways. G-Form sponsors an ice cream social at the end the event, similar to the large party with which the adult events end. The School of Rock’s Wexford-based operation provides youth bands.

The park is open to all ages, including adult riders. Many parents ride with their children, but all activities, such as the jump, skid challenge, or pump track, are open only to ages 16 and under.

“It’s a unique event in that it’s really non-competitively based and this is the type of BMX that the boys are involved in,” Mike Halahan, said.

If it were not for the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, their father said the boys wouldn’t have the freedom to travel extensively and participate in their sport.  Lukas is in ninth grade, Nathan in eighth grade and Shane in third grade.

“We travel a fair bit, and if it wasn’t for them being able to school the way that they do, it wouldn’t be possible. It really wouldn’t be possible,” he said.

The facility for the Next Generation Jam is located at 6815 Hamilton Ave., Pittsburgh, 15208.

For more information, visit the The Wheel Mill events page at  or follow @NextGenerationJam on Instagram and Facebook or check out #NextGenJam.



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About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.