New Brighton Middle School Bike Club Rides Again
"When's the next bike ride?" At New Brighton Middle School (NBMS) in Capitola, that question gets asked a lot, thanks to the return of the NBMS Bike Club.
The Bike Club spun up in the spring of 2014 as an offshoot of Ecology Action's monthly Bike/Walk/Skate to School events. As a volunteer for the program, I had a conversation with administrators at the school, and it was agreed that giving kids opportunities to ride bikes together would help advance several of the school's purposes.
Bikes give kids the freedom to travel on their own, to explore, and to visit friends and socialize. Kids who bike to school daily are more attentive and engaged in the classroom than kids who arrive by car. Kids who ride bikes are more likely to avoid health issues, such as childhood obesity and diabetes. Kids on bikes are never stuck in traffic. And riding bikes is fun.
In order to have a fun ride, safety is thoroughly covered. Members of the NBMS Bike Club receive free helmets and learn how to care for and fit them properly, courtesy of the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency. Routine bike maintenance is taught with the help of mobile bike mechanics from the Cabrillo Bike Coop. Bike safety checks—tire inflation, brakes, and seat height adjustment—are performed before every ride. Kids practice riding as a group to learn the rules of the road: ride single file, except when passing on the left; give hand and voice signals to communicate with other road users; obey stop signs and signals; and "take the lane" when the roadway is too narrow or to avoid hazards in the bike way.
The kids of the NBMS Bike Club have ridden their bikes to the Forest of Nisene Marks and the Chanticleer Park pump track. An extra-curricular Saturday ride was coordinated with Trips for Kids Santa Cruz (TFKSC). TFKSC provides the sweet mountain bikes, helmets, gloves, healthy lunch, transportation to the ride location, and trained ride leaders, all for free.
Start your own bike club¶
To start a bike club at your school, it just takes a supportive Principal and one teacher advisor. Contact me for help getting one started.
I want to thank the Principal of NBMS, Craig Broadhurst, and two new teachers who are helping lead the Bike Club this school year, Ms. Wayte and Mr. Dickson, whose support has made this possible.
Theresia Rogerson from the County HSA is one of those awesome dedicated public servants who came out to the Bike Club to fit kids with helmets, then trained us to follow in her giant footsteps.
The article Volunteer starts bike club at Capitola middle school appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel from March 19, 2014.
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