By Bennington County Child Advocacy Center
33 elementary school students took to the streets this fall under the guidance of school staff to embrace the fun and joy of riding safely on their two-wheelers. Joy Kitchell, Executive Director of the Bennington County Child Advocacy Center, worked with Jamie Poulen and Pattie Dewey from Bennington Elementary School, and Leslie Koelker and Marlene Driscoll, from the Village School of North Bennington, to create afterschool bike riding clubs. This pilot project was a huge success. With one day of registration, Jamie cut off the signups at 16 students. Likewise, Leslie had a steady following of 17 students appear for bike club (even on the rainy days!).
The groups each ran for 4-5 weeks one afternoon a week. The key take-aways? Wear bright colors, hand signals, put lights on your bike, and ride single file. Something to include in the next round of biking will be simple bike maintenance to keep yourself safe on the road. Jamie, Pattie, Leslie and 15 of the bike club students also participated in the Just Bike! justice for kids 5-mile family ride. It was a perfect day for biking with friends and family while practicing the skills learned in the afterschool program.