Many groups and organizations put on Bicycle Rodeos for kids this time of year in preparation for the great biking weather that’s coming our way! It is a fun way to encourage biking.
Here’s the recipe:
- 15-45 Kids
- 5-15 Bicycles of varying sizes, mostly 24inch and smaller.
- 15-45 Helmets, mostly smalls and mediums.
- 20 Cones
- Empty parking lot
- 4 volunteers or more
- 4 Stations or more
- Fun (exponential)
Most Bicycle Rodeos are several hours, drop-in style. If you schedule it as a drop-in event, where people can come and go as they please, and have 45 kids total, you probably won’t have more than 15 at any one time.
The skills you want to teach are using hand brakes, shifting, turn signals, and looking over your shoulder for traffic. Mostly you want the kids to ride as much as possible (because its fun and they love it!).
Rodeos are set up in Stations, and there are many ways to do it, but here’s my way.
Station 1: Pass out bicycles and helmets
- Parents sign release form
- Pass out helmets and bicycles (unless they brought their own)- check for correct sizing
- Teach bicycles safety check (air, brakes, chain/crank, seat height and quick releases)
- Teach personal safety check (shoes tied, right pant leg rolled up, helmet)
Station 2: Teach safety lesson
- hand signals
- using hand brakes and shifters
- shoulder check/scanning/looking behind you for traffic
- course description
- no crashing (riding unsafe, doing tricks)
- consequences (you will have to sit out for 5 minutes
- Give each child a bright pinnie once they have heard and understood the lesson
Station 3: Watch course (Set up an oval course using some cones for obstacles in a couple places. in the center of the oval set up a simulated city block that we call the “Chaos Square!”)
- Lead kids through the course as they come out of station 2. Then let them ride around in it!
- Give compliments and redirection.
- Enforce consequences.
- Ideally at a set time you will take everyone for a pre-determined ride on low traffic streets. I recommend 1-1.5 miles total.
Station 4: Check out
- Collect pinnies
- Collect bicycles and helmet
- Debrief: what did you learn?
There are many other options that are all easy and accessible. Pick your favorite activities and go for it! Most importantly, have a great time. Remember when you were a kid riding around your neighborhood? Try to give that to the kids for a couple hours (but have them keep their hands on the handle bars!).