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On June 24, 2006, Education Program Manager Robin Hendershot and Education Administrative Assistant Allison Seale traveled to Texas State University in San Marcos to hold a one-day Bicycle Rodeo for a Texas State children’s fitness camp with children ranging in ages 6 to 13. As part of the week-long camp, the kids learned the Seven Texas Bike Laws and other bicycle safety lessons from the Texas SuperCyclist Program in order to prepare for the Bicycle Rodeo. Proper arm signals to indicate stopping, turning left and right and the parts of a bicycle were among some of the important lessons that the children reviewed before the event.
Working with coordinator Carolyn Cook Clay, MEd, of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Texas State University; James Piper of Pedal Power bike shop in San Marcos; and several volunteers, the kids were first shown Robin Hendershot’s own commuter bike. Soon, they were quizzed briefly on the names of the different working parts along with the Seven Texas Bike Laws.
After the introduction, group leaders fitted the 19 kids with helmets and checked their bikes for readiness with the ABCD Quick Check. Emphasis was placed on enabling the children to check their own bikes for Air in their tires, properly working Brakes, working Cranks, and to Drop their bikes gently to check for loose parts each time before they ride. Piper then made any adjustments that were deemed necessary on the kids’ bicycles to make sure they fitted properly as well.
Before hopping on their bikes, the campers participated in an egg-drop demonstration where they all made five quick walking steps and dropped raw eggs placed in plastic baggies. The broken eggs were compared to their own brains being involved in a cycling crash with no helmet to protect their heads. After they crushed their eggs, the kids watched as another raw egg was placed in a Styrofoam head and then covered with a helmet and dropped to the ground. The surviving egg was shown to prove the importance of wearing a helmet whenever one rides a bicycle.
After the kids were geared up to go, they tested their skills and agility on several different courses, set with marking-tape and cones. One of the courses involved making several turns and a complete stop while maintaining the use of proper arm signals and attempting to stay within a five-foot width of space. Another course taught the kids how to make a quick glance behind them without turning involuntarily in order to teach the skill of checking for cars, other cyclists and animals without veering out of control. A Turtle Race course encouraging the kids to go as slowly as possible without falling or putting their feet on the ground taught the campers balance and agility.
After the courses section of the day, Robin Hendershot led a wrap-up session with a review of the bicycle safety lessons the children had learned that week. Every child received a bicycle safety poster and bike pin and will also receive a certificate of completion in the mail. Texas Bicycle Coalition would like to thank James Piper from Pedal Power for volunteering to attend the rodeo. Among the volunteers who also assisted were Judy Burdett, Janus Cuccia, James Garcia, Nikki Cannon, Gina Goebel and Volunteer Coordinator Carolyn Clay. Two more similar bicycle rodeos at Texas State led by Coalition staff are scheduled for July 13 and August 10.