Kindergartners learn to ride at Crooked River Elementary’s first Bike Rodeo

Kindergarten students at Crooked River Elementary School were all smiles this week as they raced around a track for the school’s first Bike Rodeo.

The idea came from a national movement called All Kids Bike.

The goal is to teach kindergarten students in PE classes how to ride a bike by making the experience fun and engaging.

Crooked River PE teachers AJ Pickhardt and Erin Woodward developed the Bike Rodeo in partnership with Officer James Young of the Prineville Police Department.

They set up a bike course on the bus loop at the school and the students rode through and around various obstacles like cones and large truck tires during their PE class.

“We taught the students how to properly wear a helmet, know if their bike is a good fit, and how to safely navigate on a bike when in town. Officer Young has been a large part of the instruction and planning alongside Ms. Woodward and me,” Pickhardt said.

Students ride on balance bikes called a Strider.

The bikes don’t have pedals and the tires are short so students’ feet can easily reach the ground, giving them more control and an opportunity to learn how to ride without training wheels.

Pedals can be added later once students become more comfortable.

The bikes were purchased through a donation from Scott Porfily at SMAF Construction in Prineville, and every student will receive their own helmet thanks to the Prineville Police Department and Crook County Fire & Rescue.

A 2017 study by DJ Case and Associates and multiple state and federal wildlife agencies found that children spend three times as many hours with computers and televisions each week instead of playing outside.

Pickhardt said the main goal is to have fun learning to ride a bike and encourage students to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

“This program has been such a powerful and positive addition to our kindergarten program this year. There is nothing more thrilling than watching the absolute joy of a child riding a bike for the first time! We are excited to continue it each year.”

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