Local people, did you know you can borrow a bike rodeo kit from Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation for free? I’ve known, but hadn’t done so before today. I wasn’t sure of the kit’s size so I brought cargo bike and trailer. I think with careful loading (which I personally don’t find very easy with a kid or two along) and adequate tie-downs, I could have fit everything either in the trailer or on the bike. Plus, one can borrow just part of the kit for a smaller rodeo and less to carry. (It’s not a requirement you pick it up by bike, by the way, but that is, of course, the most awesome way to pick it up.)
This was the first time I’ve conducted a fun helmet fitting. Just approach a group of kids wearing your helmet sideways and ask what you’re doing wrong and once the giggles die down, everyone is very excited to have buckles adjusted and straps tightened.
We didn’t set up every station–mostly because I wasn’t very organized and hadn’t recruited sufficient volunteers, but many of the safety skills seemed more appealing for slightly older kids and our crew was largely made up of kindergarteners. Slow Race was my personal favorite. I especially liked shouting, “Ready! Set! Slow!” (That’s my own invention :))
As you can probably guess, the winner of Slow Race is the last racer to finish without leaving his/her lane or putting a foot to the ground. In the heat pictured below, racers were confronted with an oncoming balancing biking little sibling for extra excitement:
I had trouble drawing straight lines. I’d love to make something like the Chalktrail I could attach to my Big Dummy. Of course then I’d probably discover I can’t ride in a straight line very well, either.
We also did several rounds of Rock Dodge and Tight Turns. Kids repeatedly asked if we could have a Fast Race so I explained everything was safety skills related. I finally relented and said they could have their own unendorsed Medium Race. I don’t think that ended up happening, but things did devolve into a cone-running-over melee for a while.
I’d like to do another one and perhaps throw in some bike decorating and a parade at a certain time. For today’s event, a bunch of kids were ready right at 10am…but we weren’t! So that’s something to change for next time, too. Handing out stickers to race winners and then to everyone else seemed to keep everyone chipper–Cascade gave me a bunch of I [heart] Bikes stickers. The kit came with sidewalk chalk so we did fine without any extra equipment…though apparently it’s also very fun to bring one’s own spare old helmet and drop it from very high to demonstrate its usefulness.
Heading to the rodeo, we bike trained in a more traditional manner–me in front of the kids. I usually have them go first so I can watch them and I wonder if it’s hard for parents to make the switch to trailing kids. Or do they start like that? It all makes me nervous.