A valuable, free event about bikes, cars, and safety

COLUMBIA, Mo 9/30/13 (Beat Byte) --  A free workshop held at Columbia's Armory earlier this month taught over half-dozen children safety, riding, maintenance, and other important bicycling skills. 

Bike experts Gina Overshiner and Joe Silsby led the Columbia Kids’ Bike Workshop, a joint effort between PedNet and City Hall's Get About Columbia Program.   Overshiner organized and led Smithon Middle School’s Bike Brigade and Bike Club for three years. 

With rising traffic, the workshop's goal is increasingly important:  teach children how to ride safely on local streets and trails. 

Kids brought bikes, helmets, and sack lunches for the one-day workshop, prepared to spend most of it on streets and trails.  Parents answered a short questionnaire beforehand: 

1)     Can your child ride and control a bicycle?  Ride in straight line, make turns, stop and start smoothly?

2)     Does your child have any health issues (mental or physical) that we should be aware of to help them enjoy the class fully?

3)     What is the farthest your child has ridden a bike in the last year?

4)     What is your child’s attitude toward biking?

5)     Has your child ever had a bicycling accident?  Does he/she have anxiety about biking?

Workshop instruction included details on important skills such as how to stop.  

"We teach our students to stand on one pedal while coasting to a stop, then put their other foot on the ground while keeping their rear off the seat," Overshiner explained in an email about the event, referencing the video below.  "This enables the rider to place one foot flat on the ground and control the bike while stopped and during take off."

Afterward, instructors provided feedback to parents, including individually-tailored tips for better riding. 

"Your child did a great job remembering to scan (look over shoulder) and signal when making turns and riding on the street," Overshiner explained.  "We raised the bicycle seat a little to help with better pedal extension."