Rather Than An Aimless, Pointless, Monthly “Feel Good” Ride… Why Not This?

Bike Education in Action
by Dan Suraci, Jul 5, 2012

Source: Bike New York

Bike New York Logo

The continued success of the annual TD Five Boro Bike Tour has enabled us to exponentially expand our education programs.  Starting in Mid-April, Bike New York began its education season with free Learn to Ride Classes for kids and adults at nine locations around New York City.  For students already on their pedals, Bike New York also offered Bike Basics for adults and Bike Drivers Ed for Youth, to train new riders with essential skills to get them road-ready.  Bike New York has also begun offering its regular range of other free classes including Traffic Skills 101, How to Buy a Bike, Bike Commuting 101 and Street Skills.  Bike New York has also officially partnered with Citi Bike to ensure that New York’s 10,000 newest cyclists have top notch bike education.

This month marks the beginning of Bike New York’s third annual youth summer camp program, where youth enrolled in summer camps can come to a bicycle education center for weekly two-hour training sessions.  Camp Bike New York includes campers from numerous groups including the Police Athletic League, Children’s Aid Society and the YMCA to bring kids out for this program.  With four bicycle education centers, this program is expected to reach another 2,000 New York City children throughout the summer.

During the academic year, Bike New York works closely with the Department of Education to provide free bike education in New York City Public Schools.  Bike New York also provides a school assembly program which brings groups of students together for an interactive hour of fun tips and tricks for safe biking.  Last year the organization piloted an after school program giving students the opportunity to not only learn the skills, but take to the streets and explore the neighborhood under guided supervision.

Bike New York also partners with the New York City Department of Transportation, NYPD, and Recycle-A-Bicycle to produce weekend Bike Bonanzas. These events feature Learn to Ride classes, helmet giveaways, bike registration and bike swaps for kids.

Once students are riding, Bike New York offers several other classes to get New Yorkers moving in high gear.  Bike New York holds How to Buy a Bike classes, to ensure ready riders know what to look for.  The organization also offers free Commuting 101 seminars to bring biking into the work place.  These seminars allow employers to encourage healthy activity to their workers.   Bike New York also provides programs for more experienced riders including a Savvy Cyclist seminar and practice ride.  These free classes take riders to the streets with complex safety maneuvers and essential skills.

In 2011, Bike New York held more than 225 free classes at five Bicycle Education Centers in New York City Parks and Schools.  Each center houses a fleet of bicycles and safety equipment utilized by class participants either learning to ride or practicing basic bike skills during weekend classes, summer camps and after school programs.   This year Bike New York added four new Bicycle Education Centers on Pier 54 in Manhattan, Midland Beach in Staten Island, I.S. 302 in East New York and Randall’s Island.

Bike New York continues to explore new ways to reach New York’s diverse audience with free, high quality bicycle education classes.  Last Year, the organization began teaching Learn to Ride Classes in Spanish.  Bike New York plans to expand its multilingual reach into Mandarin and Russian-speaking communities.  Last winter, Bike New York piloted indoor Learn to Ride Classes at P.S. 180.  These classes filled instantly and are expected to grow this year when winter rolls around.

Bike New York’s Education Programs are primarily funded through the organization’s annual events, most notably the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, the nation’s largest cycling event.