What’s more fun than an obstacle course?
May 4, 2012 1 Comment
One thing we’ve found at Bryant over the years is that you attract kids by making biking very fun. No surprise there and it’s really not very hard as biking is so inherently fun anyway. Good to remember though as you plan your bike to school events.
We hope to highlight some of these fun activities here. One activity that kids have enjoyed is the Bike to Bryant obstacle course.
Over the years, we’ve built our own ramps, teeter totters, jumps, and other obstacles. After a couple events with drab plywood obstacles, we had the brainstorm to paint them in fun colors with bikey sayings like “Be Cool, Bike to School” on them. Painting and building the ramps and jumps is part of the fun, and a great way to get kids involved in the project.
But the painting and building isn’t nearly as much fun as the actual riding. The kids have a blast and get to work on their bike handling skills too.
We’ve been doing this for a few years now, usually incorporating it into a celebration event towards the end of Bike to School Month. Last year we provided some cold treats as well, for an “Obstacles and Popsicles” event!
If you want to make your own obstacle course, we’re happy to provide some tips. It is mostly about being creative and involving the experts – the kids!
We’ve used a variety of pieces of plywood, usually 1/2″ or so (sometimes 3/4″) with 2 x 4s or wider to create the lip for ramps. We’ve found a few ways to rig up teeter totters as well. We’d be happy to share details.
Recent additions have included a colorful rumble strip, some snakey bike boards that are a challenge to ride on, and half hoops mounted on bamboo poles to ride through. There are so many more ideas; be creative! We’ve found that scrap wood works just fine for this, so it doesn’t need to be expensive, and these can be built with minimal tools and skills (we know that because… well, we were able to build them!).
We’ve also taken the obstacles on the road. They’ve been used at Laurelhurst, and also for the Fiets of Parenthood family biking extravaganza a couple years ago. This afternoon we’re going to try them at the inaugural Eckstein Bikes! Bike to School Month kickoff event. If you’d like to borrow a few obstacles for an event, let us know and we might be able to set you up.
A couple of safety tips are worth noting. It helps to control the course with yellow caution tape around the perimeter. Station an adult or two in the middle of the course to help kids negotiate obstacles as needed. Another adult at the start is helpful to meter out the kid riders so only a couple are on the course at any one time. Other than that… be creative and have fun!