Monday, December 21, 2015

Chula Vista Bike Rodeo and Bike Giveaway Brings Holiday Joy

Do you remember your  first bicycle or your first bicycle ride? On Saturday December 12th, the Bike Coalition held a special Bike Rodeo and helped lots of volunteers give away bicycles to third graders in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. For many of these children, it was their first bike and their first time riding a bicycle. For some children, the bicycle may be the only gift they receive, according to Nancy Kerwin, the District’s Executive Director for Student, Family and Community Services, who coordinates the event. 
Employees and volunteers distributed more than 250 bicycles on Saturday. District employees and other volunteers assembled the bicycles prior to the Giveaway.  Many also returned on Saturday to help adjust seats and fit the bikes to the third-grade students who received them.  It was all part of CVESD's partnership with the “Bikes for Kids Foundation,” an annual bike giveaway now in its eighth  year in Chula Vista. 

For the last five years, the students who received the bikes participated in a “Bike Rodeo” by the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. This year over one hundred students learned proper riding techniques and safety tips. More than twenty students learned to ride at the Bike Rodeo even though it was their first time to actually ride a bicycle!  There were no training wheels and some kids were wobbly but excited. Coalition board member Randy Van Vleck offered praise and encouragement along with a helping hand to teach balance and riding skills. Joy spread across the faces of parents and children after gaining an ability to balance on a two-wheeled bike!  Some kids already knew how to ride so they maneuvered through an obstacle course set up in the parking lot of the ESSC. Michelle Luellen of the Bike Coalition coordinated the Rodeo.  Juan Antonio Ramirez provided instruction to many children.

After receiving a bicycle, helmet, and instruction, the children proceeded to a "Thank You" station where they wrote thank you cards to the “Bikes for Kids Foundation,” a San Diego non-profit, CVESD, and all the volunteers that help put smiles on two wheels.
Are you or someone you know teaching a child to ride a bicycle? Here is link to an REI article filled with expert advice:

It's fun to talk to about bike memories. What is your first bike memory? Your first bike ride memory? Tell us on social media by using the hashtag #FirstBikeMemory and tagging @sdbikecoalition or email your memories to and we will put together a compilation of first bike memories.

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