Spring is in full swing, and school-based cycling programs are back in demand! Our Bike Education team has been busy working with schools to equip New York City youth with the skills and experiences they need to enjoy the benefits of biking.
A GLIMPSE AT what we’ve been up to:
- Bike New York donated two fleets of kids’ bikes to NYC elementary schools in Brooklyn and Staten Island for school-day programming.
- Our team at Recycle-A-Bicycle is preparing a third fleet for a Queens elementary school that serves special needs kids, too!
- We’ve scheduled several Bicycling Field Trips, a free program that offers New York City Middle and High Schoolers the chance to learn how to ride a bike the first time or, for those who already know, some basic bike handling and safety skills.
- The New York City Department of Education and Department of Transportation Bicycle Safety Program is BACK!🤩 After a lengthy two-year hibernation, we can’t wait to get this program up and running. Bike New York supports this effort (that now involves 300 bikes, soon to be 400!) with curriculum, teacher training, instructor support, and bike repair.
We’re ecstatic about our magnificent Bike Education team’s work. However, we want to take a moment to highlight the work of the Myra S. Barnes Intermediate School 24 on Staten Island, led by innovative Physical Education teachers Nicole O’Connor and Joseph Brancato.
Last fall, Bike New York loaned 24 mountain bikes to IS24. Then, BNY staff members trained IS24 P.E. teachers on a plethora of bike skills to teach the IS24 students:
- Learn to Ride curriculum
- Basic bike handling skills
- How to lead safe, fun group bike rides
The fun doesn’t stop there! We, of course, had to teach the P.E. staff our Slow Bike Race and Name the Bike Parts Relay Race.
Through funding from the New York City Department of Education CHAMPS, IS24 implemented an after-school cycling program using the skills taught by Bike New York staff.
“We are thrilled to bring this program to our school to share another type of lifetime activity that will promote health and wellness to our students and their families even after graduating from IS24. The students have embraced this new activity and proudly bring their helmets attached to their backpacks to school as a symbol of being a part of the IS24 Cycling club,” said Nicole.
IS24 principal Lenny Santamaria echoed, “It has been an absolute pleasure observing the introduction of our school Bike program in collaboration with [Bike New York] and NYC DoE CHAMPS. Our students have access during P.E. class, recess, and after school to enjoy a safe and healthy space to learn how to ride bikes along with supportive Teachers.”
So far, Nicole and her fellow teachers have taught 13 IS24 students how to ride a bike for the first time, and 125 students have learned bike skills during P.E. classes!
Miriam, a student at IS24, was excited to learn new skills, “As an experienced rider, I learned about the different parts of the bike that I probably would not have learned about if it were not for this program.” Another student, Ariel, enjoys the program because it removes barriers to cycling, “The program encourages people who haven’t had the opportunity to ride if they do not have a bike. It also allows people to think about lifetime sports and the safety behind it.”
We applaud the game-changers in our city, like the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, IS24, and teachers like Joseph and Nicole. They are making an effort to bring more on-bike education to NYC schools; Bike New York is thrilled to support them.
Written by Bike New York’s Director of Education, Rich Conroy.