Location: MI

Paola Sunflower Elementary Bike Month Ride

On Monday, over 100 kids from Sunflower Elementary in Paola, Kansas rode together in celebration of Bike Month.

The kids, accompanied by volunteers from MiCoVelo and members of the community, rode for about 2 miles on a loop through a neighborhood near the school. It was the culmination of an ongoing effort to promote bicycling and bike safety in Paola.

Here’s some information from the bike club — Paola’s Youth Promoting Bikes:

It’s amazing what school staff and kids can accomplish when they put their minds to it. Sunflower Elementary, grades 3-5, has been pushing hard to promote cycling and bike safety. The best way to make change is to get our youth involved in something. May is National Bike month, and here are short summaries of what they have accomplished.

— Alicia Cooks 4th grade class raised enough money to purchase 151 helmets for students that don’t have one. In addition, Heads Up donated 75 more, so they now have 226 helmets to hand out to students! MiCo Velo helped the cause by donating some of the proceeds from Tour de Vino.

— Principal Staci Wokutch and other staff helped us promote National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 8th. Weather wasn’t great as it was rainy, but they still had a decent turnout of students riding to school. MiCo Velo members Callie Benton and Scott Dreiling led a small group of kids through the rain to school. Over 25 bikes were counted on the racks outside the school. Before classes started, the entire school gathered in the gym and MiCo Velo President Scott Dreiling talked to kids about benefits of biking to school and bike safety. A Heads Up representative also talked about the importance of wearing helmets when riding.

— At the same assembly, it was announced that the school would host a ride on Wednesday, May 15th for any student that came to school with their bike and helmet. The ride will start at 1:30, so students will be able to get out of school to participate. The ride will start at Sunflower, go north of schools through Heatherwood subdivision, through middle school parking lots and surrounding streets, and back to Sunflower. It remains to be seen how many students will ride, but judging from the excitement at the assembly, this may be the biggest bike event Paola has ever seen!

— Last, but certainly not least in the kids’ eyes, Paola schools and the Paola Police Dept are teaming up to promote safe cycling. Police officers will randomly stop kids that are riding with a helmet, and hand out free ice cream coupons. What a great idea!

Here are some photos from the event (which actually took place on May 20th due to a delay in ordering the new helmets):

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Sunflower Elementary needs more bike racks!

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Kids lining up to set off.

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Kids waiting for the ride to start.

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And they’re off!

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Concentrating on the turns.

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Kids were psyched to ride in celebration of Bike Month!

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Just a small portion of the 100+ cyclists.

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Some kids needed a little help with helmet adjustments…

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High fives as the ride wraps up.

What a great turn-out! There were a few minor crashes (but no injuries), a few dropped chains and other mechanical issues, and a few isolated sprinkles, but the threatening rain held off, and there were smiles all around.

Hope it becomes an annual tradition.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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