Photo courtesy of Pedalhead Bike Camps

New bike safety camps for young children to be offered in June

Many Ballardites celebrated May’s Bike to Work Month by riding their bikes more frequently. Some are more mindful of pedestrians while driving. No matter how citizens celebrate, the issue of safety, education and mindfulness is important while on the streets of Seattle.

Moreover, safety and accessibility are key in the implementation of the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans, and with an unprecedented flux of people moving to the region, conflict on the road is paramount.

Incidentally, in this time of need, a British Columbia based company called, Pedalheads Bike Camps, has rolled to the region to offer their learn-to-ride bike program for children age two to twelve.

The camp programs are designed to teach beginner cyclers bike skills needed to lose the training wheels and build the knowledge and safely needed to independently ride urban roads.

Ben Oryall is Manager of Regional Expansion for Pedalheads, and said that since 1995 they have trained over 160 thousand kids to safely ride their bicycles, and now he’s looking forward to offer the programs to kids in the Seattle area.

“Biking is such a big part of the culture here and similar to the culture in Vancouver, B.C., and so I think parents looking for extra help educating their kids would be interested in our camp,” said Oryall.

The camp is designed to focus on the needs of children. Pedalheads Camps have two programs for two to three year olds to help teach them the feel for simply being on a bike with a caregiver. For ages four and up, there are eight programs that touch on riding basics, street riding and safety, maintenance, changing gears and advanced maneuvering. Furthermore, the camp courses are offered five days a week and range from 45-minute sessions for younger riders and two and a half -hour long sessions for ages four and above.

“We hire young adults who have a background in working with kids and coaching other sports like soccer, baseball, and other activities, and we train them with 15 hours of specialized cycle training that we have developed over the years that uses interactive role play with kids.”

With citizens more apt to ride, Oryall said that family cycling is becoming more popular. However, busy parents might not have the time to adequately teach their children a thorough understanding of bicycle skills and safety.

“Family cycling is definitely becoming more prevalent and a common way to get around, especially as the City is trying to become more bike friendly; and so with an increase in cycling also comes an increase in safety and need for controlling your bike. It's important to start kids out early so that by the time they are around 10 they can be just as proficient as their parents when riding on the roads. “

Oryall said that as a culture, North Americans outsource learning to “professionals” and compared Pedalheads to other activities taught by instructors such as swimming, driving, and skiing. However, he said that since it’s a camp it makes it a little more fun for the kids.

“It is a summer camp so safety I our first priority and then fun and then learning, and we really try to have an interactive experience for the kids.”

Pedalheads will be offering open houses through May and early June to give parents and kids better idea of the camp programs. Then camps will start in June and summer at Seattle Magnuson, University of Washington and Bellevue area.

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