School Bike Week Achieves Record Participation

Grade 6 students at Edgewater Park Public School prepare to go on a group ride.
Grade 6 students at Edgewater Park Public School prepare to go on a group ride.

A record number of Thunder Bay children participated in Bike Week, an annual celebration of cycling in elementary schools. During Bike Week, schools take part in safety festivals called Bike Rodeos. Bike Week was planned for May 27-31, but due to a high number of requests Bike Rodeos spanned May 7-June 27. A total of 27 classes and 620 elementary students across the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board and Lakehead Public Schools took part, increasing last year’s participation total of 475.

During Bike Rodeos, children learn to conduct safety checks on their helmets and bicycles, practice handing skills like shoulder checks and signals, and then put these skills into practice during a neighbourhood ride supervised by certified cycling instructors.

“In the past few years we have really seen our Bike Rodeo program take off,” said Caroline Cox, Program Coordinator at EcoSuperior Environmental Programs. “Kids love riding with us, and teachers and principals request the program year after year. New schools join every spring.”

The program is funded by the City of Thunder Bay and receives significant support from both school boards, Thunder Bay Police, and Thunder Bay District Health Unit. More than a dozen teachers, police, and nurses are certified in delivering the Bike Rodeo program. Rounding out the staff roster, more than 20 certified CAN-BIKE instructors and several bike mechanics help with course delivery.

“We have a high number of exceptional cycling instructors and mechanics,” said Cox. “We are thrilled that our partners at the school board, police, and Health Unit help deliver cycling education and make it possible for so many elementary students to take part.”

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