April showers bring May flowers but they also bring a new season of Bike New York programming! Mark Plaut, our Public Programs Manager, shares the new opportunities we have in store for our students and volunteers this spring. With new Bike Practice Sessions and Incentives Programs, there are more reasons to ride than ever before.
What’s new in the Bike Education department this season for students?
A lot! First, we have a new program called the Bike Practice Session. It’s kind of like a Learn to Ride “study hall.” It’s a place where students can come to a safe, controlled environment to work on what they’ve learned at previous Bike New York classes with the help of our coaches.
So it’s designed for new students looking to get extra time on the bike?
Exactly. Our students have started to develop skills but it’s not a switch you can turn on and off. It’s something you have to perfect with practice. What we’ve found is that we teach people to ride and then students are in a limbo where they know how to ride but they don’t have a bike of their own and can’t practice. With the Bike Practice Session, students can feel comfortable and ready to roll before going to our more advanced classes.
Where can students find these practice sessions this season?
We’ve peppered our entire schedule with practice sessions across all of the Bike Ed Centers.
This brings up another new opportunity for the season: We’ve put together a package consisting of our Learn to Ride class and the Bike Practice Session. People can sign up for both of these classes at the same time, making it an easier registration process.
Practice sessions, package deals, could there be more?
There is. This year we are offering a participant incentives program. This is the first time we are offering any sort of incentive for our classes. Students have a chance to earn a new, free bike.
How do students become eligible for a new bike?
This is for anyone who, during the 2016 season, takes five of our classes in a progression starting with Learn to Ride all the way through the Street Skills Ride. We expect to have some eligible students by the end of June or early July and we’re really looking forward to it.
Is there anything new for our volunteers?
Because there are so many more classes, we’re going to need more volunteers. We have developed a volunteer incentives program that will be unveiled soon, as well as more social and recruiting opportunities. This program is more extensive than ever before and includes prizes from T-shirts to free ride entries. There are some really great things to earn.
Are you excited for the education season to kick off?
I am. We’re just a couple of weeks away now. It’s going to be a busy season and I’m looking forward to really big, fun year. Aside from the new offerings, the schedule is filled with all of our classes at each of our Bike Ed Centers. Between now and the end of this summer, anyone who wants to learn will be able to take all of our classes through our most advanced class, the Street Skills Ride.
We also have customizable Bike Safety Assemblies to bring cycling safety to your school or youth organization. There is really something for all ages and ability levels.
Sound’s like there has never been a better time to learn.
Exactly. We are offering more classes than we have any other year. There is certainly more demand than ever before. Because of the recognition of the importance of bike education, there is more interest and a need for education among New Yorkers. This is definitely one of the most exciting years we have ever had.