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New Safe Routes to School Webinar Available

Kids are ready to learn after an active trip to school.As part of the Safe Routes to School webinar series, "Fresh Ideas from the 2012 Oberstar SRTS Award Program—Surprising Partners and Program Approaches" discusses the award-winning SRTS program in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and how they forged partnerships with local organizations to make their SRTS program great. The webinar offers ideas that anyone in the nation can use when working on Safe Routes to School!

All SRTS webinars are free of charge and available on the National Center for SRTS website. Be sure to check them out and see if any of their ideas will work in your community! For more information about Safe Routes to School in Texas, visit our website or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 

 

KidsKup Finished for 2012

KidsKup in Tyler on November 10BikeTexas KidsKup races are finished for 2012! Over 100 kids and their bikes came out for the five fall races across the state; 276 kids participated through the whole year.

KidsKup helps address childrens' decreasing amount of physical activity. Children and adolescents should get 60 minutes of physical activity a day, but many Texas children are falling short of this target. When children participate in KidsKup, they learn how much fun physical activity can be, and start to look forward to being active instead of seeing activity as a chore.

Additionally, children gain confidence as they learn to ride the course, as well as lessons in good sportsmanship. Both of these benefits paid off for one young rider at last year's Coldspring ride: she was holding back and sitting with her parents until one of the more experienced young riders offered to take her out and show her the course. Once the timid rider went through the course a couple of times, she lost her timidity and rode the course over and over. Two weeks later at Pace Bend, she hit the course again, this time with the confidence of a seasoned rider.

Pictures from the KidsKup races tell the story of children out in the fresh air, socializing and riding. Their experiences will stay with them and influence their choices over time: they learn that physical activities are fun, and that they can participate even if they aren’t “athletes.” Exercise is hidden in the package!

Come join us at the spring KidsKup races, beginning on February 9 in Smithville. KidsKup is always free and open to anyone age 12 and younger who can ride a bike! Strider bikes and training wheels are allowed. All children must wear helmets and participate in the safety clinic before the race. For more information, check out the BikeTexas KidsKup site. Stay tuned as we announce more spring events on our event schedule!

   

Be Safe, Be Bright: Lights Arrive

Tuesday, October 16 2012 14:47

Lights arrive at the BikeTexas officeBe Safe, Be Bright is a statewide bike light giveaway organized by BikeTexas! Through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School program, BikeTexas has purchased Safety LED lights to distribute to over 100,000 Texas school children.

The lights arrived on September 28 and we've been hard at work ever since sending lights to schools, partners and organizations around the state. Our lights are easy to install in seconds. The front white light can be mounted on the bike handlebar with the rear red light on the seatpost or bike frame for kids that bike to school; they can also be mounted on a backpack or tennis shoes for kids that walk to school.

Kids show off their new lights.

The packaging is waste-free; the lights come attached to a water-resistant card, which is printed with Bike & Walk Safety Tips in English and Spanish and is a highly durable education tool. We encourage kids to keep the card with them all times so they can share these safety tips with other kids.

Want to know how to get lights to distribute to your school? They're going fast and quantities are limited. Contact Fernando Martinez at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 512-476-7433.

 

   

Cycling Education as a Language Learning Tool

By Kevin Milligan, SafeCyclist Instructor

Students in the classroom. Photo courtesy of Kevin Milligan.

On a hot July afternoon in the southern Taiwan town of Si Gang, just north of the city of Tainan, a group of third and fourth graders can be heard shouting encouragement and instructions to their teammates. What’s unusual is that they’re yelling in English, not their native language of Mandarin Chinese.

These 28 rambunctious kids have gathered for a week-long English learning summer camp at their school, Si Gang Elementary School, taught by their Foreign English Teacher and Texas SafeCyclist Kevin Milligan, formerly of Sugar Land, Texas. Taking advantage of being able to design his own summer camp curriculum, Kevin decided to include his love of cycling and some of the elements he learned at SafeCyclist training in the week’s lessons. 

Friday morning started with a classroom session of general safe riding rules as well as learning bicycle part names in English using an actual bike as a visual aid. Kevin had reminded the students to wear sneakers that day for safety, and several students rode their bikes to school to serve as props during the morning’s activities. It’s unusual in most areas of Taiwan for elementary students to ride bikes to school, while it’s very common for junior high and high school students to do so. There’s also a growing trend for kids to wear bike helmets with many schools making it mandatory. 

Students in the relay race. Photo courtesy of Kevin Milligan.After the classroom session of English learning, the students’ retention was put to the test with a bike parts labeling relay race that Kevin had learned at his SafeCyclist training in Pasadena years earlier. Two bicycles of similar style and size were placed about 20 yards away and the two teams were given laminated label cards to attach to their team’s bike. At the starting signal the high pitched yells and fervor began. Back and forth they ran at top speed to be the first team with all labels correct. While one team did prevail by a few seconds, it was exciting for Kevin, as their English teacher, to discover that both teams had placed every label correctly. Then the second race began to remove the labels from the bikes. The second place team from the first race was vindicated with a win in the second race. One final relay race just for fun was created using very small bikes where the students were required to remain seated and push the bike with their feet down and back around a chair placed about 20 yards away.

The morning ended with the students being very hot and tired, but with smiles all around. Kevin has used elements from SafeCyclist for the past three years during English summer camps in Taiwan. It provides the students with a good English learning opportunity not normally covered in a regular classroom setting, and of course allows them to practice the English vocabulary in a fun and exciting way. Look for ways to incorporate elements of SafeCyclist training in other ways, just as Kevin has found a way to use it in English language learning in faraway Taiwan.

   

Walk to School Day on October 3

Walk to School1

International Walk to School Day is October 3! Are you, your children, and your school ready?

There's an easy way to get ready. The BikeTexas website has an Event Handbook that is available as a series of PDFs online, or you can order a physical copy from the online form. We also have an Educational Resources page with bookmarks, coloring books, and other fun materials that you can order to hand out. On the same page are the BikeTexas SafeCyclist Curriculum Teacher Master Pages available for downloading, including a Walk Safe Rules Handout.

Additionally, the National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) hosts a series of webinars for teachers, parents, community leaders, or anyone interested in the SRTS program. Older webinars are archived and available for view and download on the webinar page. One recent webinar, "Active, Healthy and Ready to Learn: Evidence for SRTS and Children's Health," makes the case for children being more ready to learn if they arrive at school on foot or on a bicycle instead of in a car.

The next SRTS webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept 25, and is called "The Community Connection: School Travel Plans and Building Community Support." Register now at the link!

Please take advantage of these resources to make your Walk to School Day a success! Contact us with any questions or concerns at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or email to let us know how great your event was!

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

   

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