Friday, June 01, 2012

June 6th, - SUPER HEROES!


Welcome back to Bike Night 2012! Last Wednesday we hit 165 riders, right out of the gate! We set an ALL TIME RECORD for Bike Night!

Last year on June 8th, we set the record for Bike Night at 157! Last week we broke that by 8 riders. A few different people counted the number of riders. Their numbers ranged from 165 to 178. WOW. We aren't sure how many people joined amid ride, but we know that 165 - breaks the record set last year!

All this celebrating aside - we need to talk about and be aware of Cyclist safety. We had A LOT of kids riding with us last week. As a result I encourage everyone bringing kids to the ride to talk with them about  bike safety.

Do the following skill builders:
Straight line practice & looking side to side.
1. Your child needs to know how to ride in a straight line. Swerving - as we saw last week - causes crashes. Ride with your child, find a bike lane or use sidewalk chalk to draw a long straight line on your street. Have your rider practice riding on that line. After he/she is comfortable have them start looking left and right.
2. Draw another line paralleling your first line. Have your child ride one line then switch to the second line by signaling. I recommend having them say "switching or coming over" or something that gets the point across. Have them make the move left or right smoothly and SLOWLY. No swerving.

3. CHAOS BOX: Get a few of their friends together at the local neighborhood park. Most schools, parks, and HOA's have large flat grassy areas perfect for the next exercise: Take 4 towels, t-shirts or if you have them, orange cones. Create a box (square) approximately 50 feet by 50 feet. Get your neighborhood kids riding randomly in the box. When you have all the kids riding in the box start moving the corners making the box smaller and smaller. The kids should ultimately start running into eachother.

Once no one can ride any longer, return the box to its original size. Now get all the kids riding in the same direction. Start the shrinking process all over. As the box gets smaller the kids should be able to continue riding.
Kids performing the CHAOS Box

The lesson learned is this: If all the kids work together to move in the same direction, everyone will have fun and ride more safely.

4. Figure 8's - Draw a large figure 8 in your cul-de-sac or go to your local neighborhood school. There should be outdoor basketball courts or something you can use. Get the kids riding on a figure 8. The riders will criss-cross. After a few passes they should figure out how not to run into each other.

5. World's Slowest Race: Use your straight line you drew earlier. Get your child to ride their bike as slowly as possible along the line. You can race your child, too. By doing this your child will learn better bike control.

6. Lastly, ride with your child on the streets in your neighborhood. The best thing to know while on your bike is that you should be following all the rules of the road, just like in your car. Treat each stop sign, yield sign, right turn, lane change the same way you do when driving. After-all we say we're riding bikes but really we're "driving" our bikes. Teach your child to STOP, at stop signs. To look both ways before changing lanes, crossing streets, turning corners etc. Get your child comfortable in the Bike Lane. The key to riding in a group is to act "predictably". Teaching your kids to ride as though they were driving is the best way to do that.
Bike Night Skillz workshop Figure 8's

A good way to accomplish this is to have one adult leading, then the kids following and a second adult bringing up the rear. Offer encouragement to the kids as they ride. Tell them good job for riding in a line, for obeying the bike lane, and riding cautiously.

If you're not comfortable riding your own bike in your neighborhood I encourage you to look up the latest course offerings through Buzz Feldman and other League Certified Instructors offer bike classes for adults and children.

There is an Adventure Bike Class beginning on June 4th. The cost is $80 for 4 days of bike classes. This is a great value and Buzz will help your child become more confident on their bike.

Finally, When you're out driving around Longmont and you see bicyclists riding and following the rules tell your children "Look at that biker - they are following the rules." Or, where do you think that person is going? If you see someone riding against traffic (going the wrong way) call it out to your kids and tell them riding that way is NOT safe.Kids understand "safe" vs "unsafe" better than telling them what's right and what's wrong.

I hope these options help. We will be offering a Kid's Bike Workshop on June 13th. I will discuss this on Wednesday's ride.

Have a great weekend and get out there and work on your kid's bike riding skillz!

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