Earlier this month, Commonwheels hosted a week long "Summer Safe Biking" program in partnership with the Harvard Ed Portal. We had 13 local kids from the Allston-Brighton neighborhood participate and for three hours each day they learned bike safety, basic mechanics, and practiced riding. About half of the students brought their own bike, and half borrowed bikes that had been donated to Commonwheels.
The first day started with a brief pre-quiz which everyone protested because it was summer and quizzes are for school. Once they suffered through the quiz, students were given a helmet and learned how to check the ABC's (Air, Brakes, Chain) on their bikes. The second half of class the kids practiced their bike handling skills by riding through an obstacle course and riding in a close group with their classmates.
The following days started with a lesson on a part of the bike where we mixed in enough activities to keep it exciting. Such as when we learned about flat tires, the class was split into two groups and raced to see who could be the first to pump up their tube and make it explode. Each afternoon pushed their riding abilities even further with games like "basketball" to practice riding one handed and eventually building up to bike rides along the Charles River on Thursday and Friday.
We had one student, Gabriella, who learned to ride over the course of the week. She began the class extremely nervous about riding, but by Friday she was proudly riding around the parking lot on her own and smiling while doing it! At the end of the week, each participant received a certificate of achievement, a set of bike lights, a U-lock, tire levers, and a bike safety booklet. The following week, those who did not have their own bikes were invited back along with their families, where they were given the bikes they had been riding all week! Since the end of the program, we've had two of the students come visit us at our open shops and we are excited for the participants to stay connected with CommonWheels! A big shout out to Jason and Ellen at the Ed Portal for organizing and helping to run the program!