Safe Cycling for Healthy Neighborhoods

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Paul Mickiewicz, Executive Director of the Wellness Center Branch is leading this program.
The main objective is to get more people riding bicycles for fun, fitness and as a viable, healthy form of transportation. Empowering people through hands on learning to build skills and awareness while experiencing the joy of riding a bicycle, is how we plan on accomplishing this.
Many people would love to ride a bicycle more but are fearful of riding on their own neighborhood streets because of safety concerns. Establishing a Safe Cycling curriculum for children and families will increase the number of people who feel comfortable riding their bikes. As more people ride, the safer it gets for everyone, which leads to more people riding. A bicycle and pedestrian friendly environment promotes more walking and biking for short trips around town and helps to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
In cooperation with local schools we have already started to offer a variety of Safe Cycling classes which address various levels and groups. We are developing partnerships with surrounding school districts, PTA’s, Scouts, Meadowlink and advocacy group Union County Bike Works.
There are Learn To Ride classes which teach people simply how to balance and pedal a bike. This is obviously the first step and using the balance first method can provides a simple, low stress method for learning. Ride Rodeo classes are designed for kids who may be able to balance and pedal their bike, but lack awareness for their surroundings and need to develop their bike handling skills. A series of progressively challenging bike handling skills are presented and practiced, developing the confidence of those riding as they become more capable of handling emergency stops, predictable straight line riding, (no wobbles), scanning, signaling, turning, intersections and more. Community Rides, start with parking lot drills to assess riding skills and then venture out onto open roads to properly apply “the rules of the road” to navigating a bicycle among other vehicles. The strategies are essentially the same. Fix A Flat empowers people to get over their limiting fear of getting stuck with a flat tire while out on a ride. Traffic Skills 101 is a comprehensive class which incorporates virtually all the above and goes into more depth in each of the topics.
Fear is a major limiting factor for many people who would prefer to ride their bike. Our programs will build skills and confidence for people of all ages and allow them to experience the true joy of riding a bicycle and that “It’s almost always better by bike!”

Allen at Grace Rodeochopper