It’s My Park: Learn To Ride a Bike
Bike New York organizes Teach Your Child to Ride clinics in parks throughout the city. Today at Arrow Park in Astoria, Queens, the training wheels came off for dozens of kids and their delighted parents. We have a program called Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike through a really simple method where they’re not going to crash and the parents don’t have to run alongside. The first thing we do when we teach a kid how to ride a bike is we teach them how to balance first. I only know how to ride a bike with training wheels. We’re going to take the training wheels off. Along with taking off the training wheels, we take off the pedals, which actually helps the kids learn how to balance. Put the wrench on so the wrench is pointing backwards, which makes it easiest to remove, and you just push down on the wrench. And it’s a process that the parents can repeat at home as many times as necessary for the kids. I’ve been trying to teach Audrey how to ride her bicycle for about three months now, and all that I’ve gotten so far is just a sore back. So when I found out about this, I thought that this would be a great chance to actually learn how to teach her. Bike New York saw a need to teach kids how to learn. Bicycling is getting hugely popular in this city, especially with the PlaNYC, and the plan to green-up the city. Bicycle infrastructure is really improving, so we decided to teach kids so that we have a larger group of bicyclists in the city. Look at you go! Look at you go! Alright! By using their feet to push ahead and then roll and glide, the child gets a chance to actually learn how to balance first. And once the get the rolling down, they practice that for a couple of minutes, sometimes an hour, and then we reintroduce the pedals, and then they take off. We’re putting the pedals back on, so that Diana can start riding with the pedals this time, because she’s gliding really quickly, she looks really good. Go, go, go!! Yay! I did it! It’s so fantastic to watch, especially to watch the parents, because the parents struggle, and a lot of them don’t realize how simple it can really be. So when they’re on the sidelines, and they watch their kid take off, it’s fascinating, and it’s fantastic to see. It looks like she’s got the hang of it, and it’s one of those things that once you learn it, it’s going to stick with you forever. For me, and for many parents, it’s almost this indescribable feeling watching them get it for the first time. It’s like watching a bird take off. Not only do kids learn how to ride; they learn how to ride safely. We teach them how to wear a helmet, and that it’s always important to wear a helmet, so that we get the whole package. It’s important to wear a helmet, so when you fall you don’t hurt your head. Sometimes at these Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike programs, D.O.T. shows up to give out helmets to the helmetless. It’s cool because not everybody has a helmet, and you can get a helmet right now. We trained the Parks Department & Recreation staff and some Urban Park Rangers how to do the Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike method so that the Parks people could put together their own events, all throughout the five boroughs. It’s a great program, and also the fact that it’s free and it’s available to anyone that wants to learn–it’s wonderful. I think over 500 kids have been taught now, through Parks staff and through Bike New York staff. I’m Diana, and this is my park. To find out when and where the next clinic will be held, log on to Bike New York’s website.