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Two Wheels of Awesome 105: Ortega ES Bicycle Skills Challenge

Over two crisp January mornings, 121 students at Ortega Elementary School learned vital bicycle safety skills in the Ghisallo Cycling Initiative Bicycle Skills Challenge (BSC).

Each of the two sessions began at 8am inside the gym with the 5th grade students.  The temperature outside was too cold for safe biking on the basketball court in the schoolyard, so these sessions focused on developing safety skills to be applied to bicycle riding.  During their skills training, the 5th grade students used PVC pipes as “handlebars,” and ran around the biking course the Ghisallo instructors had prepared.  During each turn around the course, the students practiced important bicycle safety skills.  They practiced hand signals (stop, left, right) and scanning for traffic.

5th grade students listen as an instructor demonstrates the Pedal Power Position

During the afternoon sessions when the sun had risen and the weather was a little warmer, the 3rd and 4th grade students learned the same bicycle safety lessons while also riding the Ghisallo Cycling Initiative’s fleet of Woom bicycles. The instructors split the children into two groups based on who could ride a two-wheeled bicycle and who could not. The students who could ride two-wheeled bicycles were paired with bicycles for their size, and Ghisallo instructors adjusted the seats for the perfect fit. Once mounted on the bikes, students practiced the Pedal Power Position to get a speedy start. They also practiced stopping with the right hand brake, signaling and scanning. Students who could not ride two-wheeled bicycles still got to join in the fun; they used the “handlebars” again and ran around the track with the rest of their classmates.

Students who cannot yet ride two-wheeled bikes, hold PVC pipe “handlebars” and practice using hand signals