Kitchener Elementary students got a crash course in bicycle safety on May 2nd, as parents and volunteers helped encourage kids to ride to school more often.
The kids began with an obstacle course, featuring a teeter-totter and wood planks that they had to ride over. Other tasks included slaloming and weaving between markers.
Another draw was the slow race, where students had to stay stable at a slow speed.
"I'm having lots of fun. I won the slow race!," says Grade 1 student Chloe. Sporting cycling red gloves and a slick set of 'Disney Princess' wheels, she says her family has had her riding to school since Kindergarten.
Once students rode through the obstacle courses, they were ready to tackle the safety circuit by the Kerrisdale Oakridge Marpole CPC. Kids were treated to a working stop-light, a four-way stop and figure-eight. Aside from just a couple small spills, the children loved the track's thrills.
"With summer around the corner, more kids will be cycling and we want them to ride safely," says Tony Bulic, coordinator for the KOM CPC. "If kids know how to ride safe, they'll ride often and that's great exercise!"
Organized by Kitchener parent Wendy Epp, the event drew nearly 200 students. She wants more children cycling to school.
"By instilling confidence and skills, the likelihood that these children and their parents begin cycling increases tremendously," says Epp."At last year's event, three parents told me that before the bike rodeo, their kids had never ridden before. Now they do! That's exactly what we want to hear!"
A physiotherapist, Epp says that cycling is a great way to keep kids fit and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
Kitchener's principal Catherine Feniak says that the event wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and organization of Epp and other parents.
"Epp is the bike rodeo queen! An absolute mastermind at running these events," laughs Feniak. "Her desire to really want children to move and being active is just inspiring.
The event is part of the school's 'Walk n' Roll' month, where kids are encouraged to walk or bike to school. Students who do either get a stamp in a special passport. Students with 10 or more stamps will be invited to a special rock and roll concert after the end of May.