Georgia Bikes promotes bicycling across the state through our efforts to create Complete Streets policies, support building local advocacy organizations, and provide bike safety education among many other functions. Our educational efforts are broadened and higher impact through collaborations. We are highlighting activities that are done in part with those we collaborate with during the year. This is to not only identify their good work and to share learning experiences, but to issue a challenge to communities to take up one of these featured activities in your area. We also encourage those who do host many of these same activities and classes to talk back and let us know what you are doing and how it goes. Sharing is caring and the more ways of doing things the better we will facilitate our growing bicycle community state-wide.
In March 2018, we co-hosted a Earn A Bike class with Decatur Active Living and the staff at Ebster Community Center in the city of Decatur, GA. In case you’re unfamiliar with Earn A Bike, it is a low-key, hands on, learning environment to learn bicycle safety, bike handling skills, and basic maintenance and by completing the process, the individual earns a bicycle. It definitely creates relationships, if you have any questions about Earn A Bike program development, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Must haves for a successful Earn A Bike
- Tools that support learning. Basic is okay! Our Tweens Guide to Bicycling is easy.
- Working bicycles
- A supportive team
- Basic tools- bicycle pump with an air pressure gage, multi-tool, lights, bike lock
- Create a program that best fits your goal, resources, and needs of the community.
- When working with children and young people, it is good to have at least two adults to teach, demonstrate and support. We had four to five students participate and there were two adults. If kids are working in groups or pairs, up to eight students with two adults works well. One to share the material and the other to float between the two groups to facilitate learning. Over eight, add an additional adult. This becomes more important when on the road, practicing a group ride.
- Having visuals or using the environment will help with communication. Remember most young people do not understand the principles of driving so practice and demonstration creates pathways to learning.
- Providing children with written information and reviewing the principles will support their use of that tool and increase the likelihood that they will use it again in the future.
- Allow youth to demonstrate their knowledge and skill. Additionally, have them to take turns leading the group. Provide a review their skills. This feedback gives them both confidence and the opportunity to see what they did well and what need to improve.
We asked Staff at Decatur Active Living (DAL) and Ebster Community Center (ECC) a few questions about why they wanted to host this class and here are their responses!
Why did DAL/ ECC decide to host this program?
We wanted to provide a fun, educational opportunity for at risk youth to learn about bike safety and earn a bike that so many of the participants don’t have. This is a new program to Decatur Active Living. We had several bikes and citizens donated some bikes so we thought it was the perfect opportunity.
What does an earn a bike program do, provide, solve?
Earn a bike provides participating youth the opportunity to learn bike safety, the proper way to take care of their bike and for many of them; the chance to have their own bike once they complete the program. From observing bike behavior around the Ebster center, most children and teens have never been taught the rules of the road, their importance of respecting cars and how to ride safely. Earn a bike program teaches that in a small group setting for kids to really understand the responsibility of having a bike. This program makes a difference for kids that participate and lifelong bike lessons are taught.
What do you hope this provides for the community?
Earn a bike will start a new trend in the Ebster community. Earn a bike graduates will show off their cool bikes, they will share with their friends what they’ve learned and their ridership will keep the bike culture diverse in Decatur. The more kids we have graduate form this program, the better chances of Decatur having safe, smart bike riders around the city.
What are upcoming kid focused bicycle-related programs at DAL?
Our annual bike camp is June 11-June 15th. This camp for kids 8-12 years old dives deeper into bike safety, proper bike handling, bike maintenance and rules of the road. The weeklong camp makes cycling fun and encourages campers to ride more often to school and with their families. The city is also offering a Bike Rodeo event on Thursday April 5the during spring break. Our bike rodeo for kids offers bike maintenance checks, helmet fitting and a fun bike safety obstacle course. We also offer bike registration in case a bike is lost or stolen, its registered with Decatur Police department and if found, can be returned to owner.