Loyal Heights Elementary pioneers after-school biking education program

Loyal Heights Elementary (2511 NW 80th St) have pioneered a new after-school bike education program. The Loyal Heights After-School Urban Cycling Club formed early this month, organized by Loyal Heights parent Shannon Koller.

The unique after-school club is one of the first biking education programs offered at the elementary school level in Seattle. According to Walk.Bike.School Blog, the club met for the first time on Friday March 1st with seventeen 3rd– 5th graders taking part. “After learning each others names, we started off with helmet fit, then went on to ABC quick check and how to lock up your bike,” said Koller. Students then hopped on their bikes and were taught the basics of starting, stopping, standing, and shifting.

According to Koller, the students picked up biking skills quickly and were able to immediately demonstrate what they had learned on their bikes. Future lessons will cover biking basics such as hand signals, road signals and the rules of the road.

In April, Koller plans to help students apply their new-found biking skills and apply them on our neighborhood streets. Organized rides have been planned to Ballard Library, Sunset Overlook Park, and the Ballard Greenway. “Each week kids will practice riding through roundabouts, unmarked intersections, bike lanes, and other urban infrastructure that they will encounter in our neighborhood,” said Koller.

According to Walk.Bike.School Blog, this program is pioneer in the area of elementary school bike education. “It’s focused on helping develop real-world riding skills appropriate to Seattle and specifically to the neighborhood around Loyal Heights and Ballard” wrote blogger Clint Loper.

Loyal Heights are planning for National Bike Month in May and will hold a kickoff event on Saturday, April 27. The event will be held on the school playground and will include a bike skills workshop, bike adjustment station, helmet sale and much more. An organized neighborhood ride is planned to take place immediately after the event on April 27.

National Bike Month is a national event sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists. The month will include initiatives such as Bike to School Day on May 8. The month will also encourage adults to hop on their bikes for  Bike to Work Week from May 13-17 and Bike to Work Day on May 17.

To celebrate Bike to School Month, Loyal Heights also plan to initiate bike trains in the local area. Bike trains will allow students to utilize their bike skills to safely ride to and from school.

Bike trains involve volunteer parents on bikes operating in a similar way to a school bus. The volunteer parent rides along a prearranged route picking up students at their homes, forming a safe train of bike riders one person behind the other. The students then follow the parent and line of riders safely to school in the mornings and are dropped off at their homes by the bike train in the afternoon. Click here to check out a video that demonstrates the intricacies of a bike train.

Congratulations to all involved with the bike education program at Loyal Heights. Hopefully, this will be the first of many in our neighborhood.

Photos courtesy of Walk.Bike.School Blog.

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