Bike day brings fun and safety for all riders

Published 8:45 pm Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cyclists looking to learn a little more about bike care and safety are encouraged to head to Bennett’s Creek Park April 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to take part in Bike Fun and Safety Day.

The event, which is the collaborative effort of the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community and the Suffolk Department of Parks and Recreation, is geared toward children, but teens and adults are welcome. It is free and open to the public.

Helen Gabriel, assistant director of Parks and Recreation, said the organizations want to teach children how to properly handle their bikes, react appropriately in emergency situations, know their boundaries and abide by rules and regulations.

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“We’re looking to have a lot of fun but also promote safety and awareness,” said Helen Gabriel, assistant director with Parks and Recreation.

All ages and riding levels are welcome, no matter what kind of bike they ride.

There will be several activities to take part in at the event to teach bike safety and help cyclists be more aware.

Helmets are required and all activities will take place on the open fields at Bennett’s Creek Park to ensure safety; there will be no rides taking place on roads.

One event, called the Chaos Box, places the children in a marked-off area that does not have any signs or directional signals to guide the riders. It is meant to teach riders why there is a need for the signs.

“It’s as if you were cars on the road, and you didn’t have any stop signs or lights,” Gabriel said.

There also will be a snail race at the bike day, in which the last rider to cross the finish line without using his or her feet to balance during the race wins. This race is intended to teach riders control.

Additionally, there will be helmet-fitting stations where children without helmets can get fitted and receive one.

Booths will be set up to demonstrate simple bike inspections riders can do to ensure their bikes are ready for the road. They will learn things such as changing tires, checking tires for dry rot and replacing the chain.

At the end of the event, there will be a bike parade for all riders, including little ones with training wheels.

Bike Fun and Safety Day is part of the yearlong Suffolk On the Move initiative, a joint effort of the Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community and the Suffolk Department of Parks and Recreation.

Suffolk On the Move kicked off in June 2010 with an inaugural 5K run and walk in Constant’s Wharf and Park as a way to get Suffolk families and citizens up and moving.

Another cycling event, the Bike Roll and Stroll, is planned for May 21, to kick off Community Day at Northern Shores Recreational Center.

Gabriel will lead a group bike ride, traveling 16 miles, starting at 10 a.m. The ride will be at a leisurely pace, Gabriel said.

For more information on any of the events, call Helen Gabriel at Parks and Recreation at 514-7250.