Making biking safe and fun

Published 8:44 pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I remember being apprehensive when my mom first broached the idea of me getting up on a bike. It was so high, and I couldn’t imagine I would ever be able to keep my balance. But sibling competition took over when I realized my sister was already speeding around without training wheels. Plus, my shiny new bike came in a sporty shade of red that seemed like a real waste to leave in the garage.

And after the initial hesitation, I spent a great deal of my youth on a bike.

Being a military brat, we often had to find our way around new neighborhoods with each move. We charted the new territory and formed alliances with the local kids from the saddles of our bikes. Our bikes allowed us to catch up with the ice cream truck when we took too long to hunt down quarters. And as we got older, bikes served as a way for us to challenge ourselves, as we sought to go farther and farther.


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But I think perhaps the strongest memories I have associated with bikes are actually the two big wipeouts I was involved in.

Both occurred when I was younger and both left physical scars. And despite the pain, they made me realize the importance of adding safety into my biking adventures. Which is why I’m grateful I had the accidents, even if it did take me months after each one to talk myself into mounting my bike again.

Even now, I view my bike as essential to my well-being.

But not everyone has to wipe out to learn about bike safety. In fact, one event makes bike safety fun for kids.

This Saturday, the Pilot Club of Suffolk will host its third annual Bike Rodeo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the West End Baptist Church parking lot, on the corner of St. James Avenue and W. Washington Street. Kids up to age 10 can bring a bicycle or tricycle and helmet and learn about bike safety.

From obeying the rules of the road to protecting your brain, the event will surely be educational. But it will also be fun, with a ride through the Suffolk Police bike course and a chance to explore the Fire Safety house planned. The club will even provide free bag lunches. And if your child doesn’t already have a helmet, show up early to get a chance to get a free one while supplies last.

Hopefully this worthwhile event will keep Suffolk children safe as they explore their world from the seat of their bike.