The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Emma Philbrook
The Times 

Bicycle Rodeo Coming to Waitsburg

“Bikes on the Road” will give kids chance to improve bike skills


August 2, 2018

WAITSBURG – For years, summer in Waitsburg has been an excuse for residents of all ages to pump up their bike tires and two-wheel their way through the streets. But this year, Waitsburg’s youngest cycling enthusiasts are getting a little extra incentive to use pedal power: the Bicycle Rodeo is coming to town.

The event, called Bikes on the Road, will be held August 16, from 9 to 11 a.m. It is sponsored by the Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Task Force

Bikes on the Road will give kids of all ages the opportunity to challenge their bike skills on an obstacle course in the Preston Hall parking lot. But more importantly, they’ll have the chance to learn facts about bike safety, get a complimentary bike tune-up, and even be fitted with a new helmet – all free of charge.

The program, according to Nancy McClenny-Walters, the task force’s Target Zero manager, has been widely successful in Walla Walla and College Place. While the event is largely geared towards grade-school children, she adds that the whole community is welcome: “We have fit older kids with helmets, and we have even fit parents with helmets.”

The bike rodeo will be held in the parking lot of Preston Hall and on the adjoining blacktop area of the elementary-school playground. Participating youngsters will need a signed permission slip from a parent to participate – these forms can be obtained at the event itself or at Waitsburg Christian Church during registration for vacation bible school on August 13.

Once signed in, participants will be able to “spin the wheel” and answer age-appropriate questions in a bike-safety trivia game. Afterwards, volunteers will take a look at their bikes and perform minor repairs if necessary, ranging from bolt-tightening to tube replacement.

After participants’ bikes are road-ready, riders move on to another “checkpoint,” where other trained volunteers will adjust their helmets to ensure a proper fit. If a participant’s helmet is the wrong size – or if they don’t have one in the first place – free helmets are available in sizes small through extra-large.

After completing these activities, young racers can try their hand at the obstacle course before accepting a goodie bag containing a certificate of completion, a card containing information about Washington State’s bicycle laws, and stickers. To help participants beat the heat during the event, water and popsicles will be provided.

Volunteers, especially those with cycling or bike-repair experience, are still needed to help make the rodeo a success. Those interested in lending a hand should contact Pam Conover at (509) 337-8876.

Walters, for one, is particularly hoping to see the community get involved.

“It’s really…exciting to see everyone pitch in and do all of those things,” she says, but she hopes that the program has an impact even beyond the volunteers and participants.

“Educate the kids,” she says, “and they will educate their parents.”


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