BY AMANDA MOSES
Do you remember the first time you learned how to ride a bike? At first, there is a fear of falling, but that sensation wears off and is replaced with pure exhilaration as you feel the wind in your hair. Learning how to ride a bike can be intimidating at first, especially when you are trying to do it without training wheels. Cycling is one of many healthy activities Abe Stark Primary School (PS) 346 is promoting through active living lessons. Students are being taught that riding a bike is a fun and healthy way to exercise, while also instructing them on how to ride safely.
Last month, PS 346 partnered with Bike New York (a not-for-profit organization promoting, cycling as a practical, sustain-able, and healthy means of transportation and recreation) to host a Bike Bash and Safety Assembly. On September 13th, Bike New York Instructor, David Hong rein-forced the benefits of cycling at a school-wide safety assembly. In his presentation, he stated: “Bi-cycling is great for your heart, lungs, muscles, and brain.” He also stressed the environmental benefits of cycling for the earth because it reduces your carbon footprint.
Bike safety starts with wearing a helmet, and it goes further into making sure the bike you are riding fits your size and is in working condition. Hong explain-ed that you should always check your bike’s air, brakes, and chain. He also clarified that children 12 and under can ride on the side-walks in New York City, but anyone older must ride in the streets and obey traffic laws.
Once the students learned all about bike safety, they were invited to attend a Bike Bash within PS 346’s playground on September 15th in conjunction with Bike New York. This organization advocates for bike safety, promotes cycling awareness, and they re-furbish used bikes. At the Bike Bash, students were able to ex-change their old bikes for a re-furbished one from Bike New York. About 36 bikes were fitted and distributed to the children and 64 helmets were provided to the youth.
In addition, the Bike Bash held “Learning to Ride,” classes, which taught about 16 children how to navigate their bicycle. Attendees were also offered bicycle maps, bells, and bike safety booklets. This initiative successfully promoted a healthy activity for children and informed families about the Shirley Chisholm State Park that has over 10 miles of bike pathways to explore.
Photo courtesy of PS 346