September means it’s time to head back to school, and for The Bike Campaign that means it’s time to start scheduling sessions for the Bike Skills Training Program (BSTP) with local elementary schools in Davis and Woodland.
Schools arrange for BSTP sessions, and The Bike Campaign brings a fleet of bikes, helmets and safety vests for the sessions.
Last year The Bike Campaign brought the BSTP to five elementary schools in Davis and four elementary schools in Woodland. “The students were very attentive and enjoyed the program,” said Bob Creely from Korematsu Elementary in Davis.
Instructors for the BSTP are experienced cyclists and trained by Maria Contreras Tebbutt, founder of The Bike Campaign and a nationally Certified Cycling Instructor. The instructors are volunteers who enjoy donating their time helping the next generation of cyclists, as well as making the sessions interesting.
Tailored to 2nd and 5th graders, the BSTP teaches cycling skills, rules of the road, the ABCs (air, brake, chain) and proper helmet fitting. Each session has 15 students.
Students with cycling experience work on bicycle control, hand signals, shoulder checking, and keeping the proper distance between bicycles. Students with no cycling experience get instruction in balance, power pedal position, and how to safely start and stop.
“This program is invaluable to our DJUSD students,” said Kristen Muir. “I was impressed with everything, but extremely impressed with the hard work of those who worked one on one with the brand-new-to-biking students.”
All students learn to properly fit their helmets and how to determine the proper seat height, as well as checking tire air pressure, making sure the brakes are working before riding, and keeping the bicycle chain oiled.
The Bike Campaign also provides presentations for after school programs, including Davis Kids Klub and Catalyst Kids. Adrienne Martin from Davis Kids Klub is an enthusiastic believer in the program. “The Bike Campaign does awesome work,” Martin said. “We’ve got to get more of them [the kids] riding their bikes safely to school.”
Part of the BSTP covers the benefits of cycling, and that exercise can be fun. “Studies prove that when kids are physically active their attention and focus is improved in the classroom,” Karissa Sais, the physical education teacher from Whitehead Elementary School in Woodland, said. “For these reasons, I recommend the Bike Skills program to be a part of any school enrichment activities.”
The partnership between The Bike Campaign and the schools is productive, and helps students get comfortable and confident on bikes. “We have seen numerous students learn to ride a bike for the first time through this program,” said Principal Ursula Ruffalo from C.E. Dingle Elementary in Woodland. “It is through this partnership that students have an opportunity through ‘hands-on learning’ to strengthen skills in self-efficacy and resilience.”
Going into the 2023-24 school year, The Bike Campaign is in need of a Bike Education Coordinator. The coordinator is responsible for connecting with local schools and scheduling the BSTP sessions, must enjoy working with elementary students as well as adults, and be an experienced cyclist. Additional duties include coordinating moving the fleet of bikes with a rental truck, recruiting and training volunteers, and participating in community events. Contact Maria Contreras Tebbutt at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you enjoy teaching, are patient, and like to spend more time around bicycles, volunteers are needed to help with the BSTP. Go to thebikecampaign.org for more information.
The Bike Campaign is also looking for a place to house another fleet of bikes for the BSTP in Woodland. If you are interested in donating a space, or know of someone who is, please contact The Bike Campaign at email@example.com