This morning, a fantastic team of TBAG volunteers and more got together to host a bicycling event at Kyrene de la Mariposa, a kindergarten through fifth-grade school that is a pilot school for introducing Safe Routes to School in the Phoenix area. We don’t have a final count on how many kids participated, but a lot of folks turned out and the event was a whole lot of fun for everyone involved.

Volunteers first helped to set up two bike rodeo courses, one for the younger kids and one for the older kids. Meanwhile, the kids completed a fun run around the school and surrounding park. When the kids returned, they got fitted for new helmets and had a chance to embellish them with all kinds of fun decorations. My personal favorites were a girl who attached a small turtle to her helmet, very much like the turtle on the helmet of TBAG board member Ryan, and another girl who added a pink hippopotamus and a mini-bouquet of roses to hers.

Once the kids were helmeted, they headed over to the bike rodeo courses to practice important safety concepts that they need to know to ride on roadways. I helped guide the kindergarten through third grade kids through practice with leaving the driveway, using hand signals, riding straight while looking back, stopping quickly, avoiding dangerous dogs, and dodging roadway debris. The kids had such a great time they were begging to repeat and practice the exercises.

After the safety rodeos, everyone was ready to put their skills to the test, so we reassembled for a short bike ride. Ryan, riding a tallbike, led the ride, and it was incredible to see so many kids forming a huge bicycling parade. Upon returning to the school, we held a raffle for two kids’ bicycles donated by REI, and gave prizes to the kids for completing the ride and safety events.

The whole event was a great lead-up to our next planned event at the school, on Earth Day, April 22, which is Bike to Work and School Day, where we’ll be encouraging families and kids to ride on in to school!

Many thanks to all of our TBAG volunteers, who helped make the event a tremendous success in so many ways, to the City of Tempe for organizational and logistical help, to Ariel Rodriguez and his team of Recreational Programming students from Arizona State University, and to the parents and staff of Kyrene de la Mariposa for supporting the event.

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