Ben Hur, the Royal Wedding, a Broadway production of The Lion King… putting on those shows is a cinch compared to the annual Kew Primary School Bike Education Celebration Ride. It’s a day of epic proportions – huge achievements, big hills, a massive barbeque lunch and loads of helpers – a lot of sweat, peddle-power, high-vis vests and sausages goes into making the day a success.
Bike Education has been running as an extra-curricular activity for students in grades three and four for five years. The program begins with an introductory session about bike maintenance and safety and is followed by weekly sessions in which kids learn and practice bike riding skills. The starting point for the students varies considerably – some learn to ride for the first time through Bike Education; others begin with training wheels and end without them; while the regular riders hone their safety skills. Regardless of the starting point, the result is the same – an enormous sense of achievement and a bunch of kids who vote Bike Education the highlight of their school year.
The program culminates in the Celebration Ride – an 11km affair through the (hilly) streets of Kew, stopping at Hay’s Paddock for lunch before cycling back to school, albeit slightly slower on the way home! The students are broken up into groups (there were 17 this year) and each group includes two adults (teachers and parents) and a grade six student. Along the way, the riders pass through multiple checkpoints, where parent volunteers yell helpful and cheerful things like “Keep peddling!”, “You’re almost there!”, “Sausages ahead!” (okay, that was me yelling…).
It’s worth noting that a number of passers-by commented on how marvellous the bike education opportunity was for kids and particularly how well organised the Celebration Ride was. From a parent perspective, I feel extremely grateful that we have teachers that are prepared to run the program each year – it’s certainly not on every school curriculum and KPS students are lucky to participate.
To the parents of this year’s grade three students: expect your kids to start pestering for every weekend to include a ten kilometre bike ride/ for a new bike for Christmas/ for you to join the Celebration Ride next year.
To the parents of next year’s grade threes: start working out the logistics of getting the bike to school for Bike Education Fridays now (I recommend riding)!