The wheels were in motion as 85 first-grade students at Scales Technology Academy experienced the thrill of owning their first bike. The excitement was in the air as the children arrived and could smell the new bike tires and see the shiny, colorful gifts waiting for them to claim.
Throughout the month of April, as part of Tempe Bike Month, students learned about bicycle safety and injury prevention, safe cycling in the community, and the healthy benefits of cycling.
“All month we have been focused on bike safety,” said Scales P.E. Teacher Jessie Boyd. “I was really excited to end the unit on a high note with an event that students would remember for a lifetime.”
With the help of “Project First Bikes,” these lessons led up to a special event where students received bikes, helmets, locks, and their Tempe bike registration. The helmets were personally fitted courtesy of Phoenix Children’s Hospital Outreach and the brand-new Trek Bicycles were provided with the support of Landis Cyclery and its employees.
After the students received their bike and their custom fit helmet, each student participated in a bike safety course, or “bike rodeo.” This was set up by the Tempe Police Bicycle Unit. Officers assisted each first-grader through the course, helping them through stop signs, road obstacles, distracting sounds such as cars and dogs, and talked to them about bike safety.
The event was sponsored by Chances for Children Arizona, a non-profit organization committed to improving quality of life by supporting partnerships and programs that provide access to sports, physical education, and character education for youth. The organization provides children in Arizona opportunities that otherwise may not be affordable or accessible to them.
“I knew the teachers were doing a health and safety unit about bicycles, and what better way to celebrate the culmination of this important unit than with bicycles?” said Chances for Children Arizona Executive Director Janell Batt.
A parade of seafoam green and black and red bikes complete with helmets, locks, and smiling first-graders could be seen as the students finished the bike safety rodeo in preparation for riding their bikes to school.
When asked what his favorite part of the bike event was, First-Grader Juan Gutierrez said, “It felt like Christmas.”