It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

20170517_JCohn_E013_LeddyPark-LearnToRide(1).jpgWe had another successful Learn to Ride class this past Saturday!  Almost 30 kids, ranging in ages 3 - 10, converged on Leddy Park in Burlington ready to Learn to Ride.  A good number of them did just that and almost everyone improved significantly!

Our Learn to Ride classes are getting themselves a following!  We had a family come back this year, because... 

last year, their son (the rock-star on the blue bike behind his sister on the pink one) learned to ride with us. Their mom was so impressed with the class that she and her friends signed up in MARCH before I even had dates set!! (And, as you can see, little sis learned to ride too!)

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We think the kudos and excitement for this program are well-deserved.  We have carefully designed the class to be low-stress and child-driven. We give kids full agency to take breaks when they think they need them, and offer snacks, water, and fun things to do to recharge. More than one skeptical adult commented that they didn't think these child-directed breaks would work, but when they saw how a child would take a break, and come back to practicing their biking skills with new energy and focus, they were sold.

Every year, we come up with more strategies for dealing with common issues like:

  • Looking at your feet instead of looking ahead:
    • We have parents holding up signs with different colored shapes to encourage looking up.  It also helps keep kids from being too cognitive about biking, which means that their brains get in the way of their bodies.
  • Gripping the handlebars too hard:
    • We offer alternate grip instructions until they find one that works for them.
  • Fear of falling:
    • We have knee and elbow pads for anyone to borrow
    • Taking their mind off of falling
      • In our last class, we had a girl who was 100% able to ride but was --understandably--afraid of road rash, so we had her spell words while bicycling to take her mind off of it AND SHE SUDDENLY BEGAN TO RIDE SOLO!!!!! Mom and daughter were beaming.  It was one of my favorite moments of the day.
  • Getting frustrated and giving up:
    • This is where the freely given rests come in.  
      • Children are able to take a break, have a drink of water, scribble on the pavement with sidewalk chalk, play with the bubbles, and then came back to the class emotionally and physically refreshed.
    • We have a lot of stickers because stickers are magic!

parents holding up the \child enjoying a sticker break (and was playing with the chin strap of her helmet)

Every time we run this class, we come away revitalized.  There is nothing quite like helping a child who has been struggling to ride, improveor even ride off on their own power!  Some of the children who come to our class have been struggling to learn how to ride for years.  It is those children's successes that are my favorite stories because the joy on their faces at their success is transcendent.  You can't help but come away with a golden glow after seeing pride and sublime happiness on a child's face.  

We would NOT be able to run these classes without our lovely volunteers, who gently usher the children through the process of learning how to ride a bicycle.  We need a very low adult: child ratio (preferably 1:1) and our volunteers make this ratio possible, giving each child special attention and support.  I am always so grateful for our volunteer community, who step up when we need it most.

If you are interested in having your child participate in the June 11 Learn to Ride workshop, go here: http://www.localmotion.org/learn_to_ride_class - but classes tend to fill up quickly so don't delay in registering!

If you want to be one of our beautiful volunteers, go here: http://signup.com/go/tpfOAPF

 

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