Learning how to ride a bicycle is an important milestone in a child’s life. Riding a bike is fun, social and a healthy pastime. There are basic skills a child needs to know before taking their bike on the road which is why The Cabbage Patch hosts a Bike Day Camp each summer.
The camp begins with Traffic Skills 101, giving youth a thorough understanding of how to be on the road and part of traffic. The course is taught by a League Cycling Instructor certified by the League of American Bicyclists. William (Raz) Rasinen, Manager of Recreation and Youth Development is a LCI along with Kate Holwerk, a volunteer. Kate also provides this for other public community centers in the area.
Campers come to Bike Camp with different experience levels, some have never ridden a bike before, but most are familiar with a bike.
“Most have ridden a bike, but do not know the basic things, such as measuring results, helmets, how to check tires or change them,” Raz said.
The camp includes parking lot drills before campers move on to the trails. Then the campers visit some of the big parks with bike lane trails, including Shawnee and Iroquois Park. No matter where the campers are riding, they are having a blast.
“They could ride around in circles and have fun,” Raz said.
Campers’ bike skills and personalities shine through on the trails, which is Raz’s favorite part of the camp.
“I enjoy the personalities of the kids, we always have characters, and we enjoy seeing how they interact with each other,” he said.
One child had a cast on during this year’s camp and they were afraid he was not going to get to participate, but he continued with the camp.
“He has been able to come into his own. He has really done well and he has gotten his confidence,” Raz said.
Bike riding is important; it helps the environment and is healthy. Bike Day Camp improves development, discipline and the importance of safety. The campers were able to ride away with new skills and memories from the trails.