One idea we’ve used year after year at Bryant is the “kickoff event.” Typically we hold it in late April or early May, around the beginning of Bike to School month. It really seems to help focus the Bryant community on biking to school and it serves to energize and prepare kids and their parents for a month-long commitment.
We try to make the kickoff both fun and useful for folks. We’ve included different components over the years, but usually we’ve had some combination of the following:
–Bike tuning – volunteers give bikes a once over and safety check, pump up tires, lube chains, adjust brakes, and get bikes ready for spring
–Some friendly competition, slow bike races, or this year probably timed laps around our track
–Helmet fitting and other safety preparations
–Information on bike month, advice on routes, signing up to participate in the official bike to school month tracking
–Fun prizes, a bike decorating station and supplies, and of course yummy treats
This year we’ve tried to maintain some Bike to Bryant excitement all year long, even throughout the dark and rainy months. Monthly donut rides, some dress-up and bike decorations, a holiday bike event, etc. But even so, we are looking forward to kicking off Bike to School month and really ramping up the biking again this May. Bryant’s kickoff event this year is this coming Friday, April 27. We’ll hold it after school on the playground.
We’ll let you know how it goes! Or better yet, stop by and say hi and check it out for yourself!
The April 27 kickoff was a huge success! About 75 kids rode to school that morning, so there was an excited crowd of kids ready after school. More bikes showed up towards the end of the day as parents brought bikes for some of the new riders to get tuned up and practice skills.
We had six volunteer mechanics, and they were busy for nearly two hours! Lots of lubing chains, brake adjustments, air in tires, adjusting seats, safety checks, and a few larger repairs.
We had slow bike races, a raffle, bike decorations, and a couple of new events for 2012:
- A time trial (one lap around Bryant’s paved track around its field) with 75 times being recorded… the winning time was 20 seconds! Some of our older students and alumni (now middle schoolers) volunteered to run this!
- The “newspaper toss,” where kids got a messenger bag with several rolled up papers and circled a large basket trying to toss the paper in, quite a challenge and reminiscent of some of the adults’ glory days.
We also had an information station to orient folks to biking to school, good routes, places to get or exchange bikes, and how to sign up for Bike to School month tracking.
All in all, a great way to kick off the spring biking season, and get kids and parents prepared and excited for Bike to School Month.