if you’re ready to ride, touch your spokes…

Something I’ve learned pretty well from teaching is how to productively and instructively fill time while I’m waiting for everyone to catch up. Thus it is that my Bike Club kiddos often find themselves playing what I think of as the bike parts game while we wait for everyone to be ready to ride.

Here’s how it works: while Ben, my co-teacher, helps the few stragglers pump their tires, adjust their helmets, or do whatever it is they need to do to be ready to ride, I keep everyone else’s attention by asking them to identify various parts of their bikes. “If you’re ready to ride,” I might say, “touch your front fork.” Touch your crank arms. Touch your bottom bracket. Touch your brake pads. Touch your gear cables. It’s just challenging enough that they have to think about it; it requires just enough movement to engage the squirrely kiddos; it’s obvious enough when people are bending down around their bikes that soon, everyone catches on that they should be doing something. Plus, it sneakily teaches them the different parts of their bikes and they don’t even notice that we’re waiting for one last kiddo to finally roll up his right pant leg and tuck his shoelaces into his shoes.

When my mom made a special guest visit to one of my bike clubs last week, she sneakily took this picture of us playing the bike parts game:


Except for the girl in pink who seems to have confused her spokes with her rim, it seems like most of these little kiddos are catching on:)

I know I’ve said it before, but Bike Club really is one of the best things ever. Even though most of these kids said, at the beginning of class, that they knew how to ride bikes, it’s awesome to see them actually learning the skills that will keep them riding safely. It’s only been three weeks, but they already signal their turns, bike in straight lines on the road, know how to make sure their helmets are fitted correctly, can check their bikes to make sure they’re safe, and are learning the rules of right of way. Not to mention learning about the parts of their bicycles:) This afternoon, we’ll teach them how to use tools and fix flat tires…

I kind of wish someone had taught me all this stuff when I was learning to ride a bike:)

Last week, we took our very first long neighborhood ride to an awesome park about a mile away from school. After we found a super awesome hill to bike up and down a few times, mom snapped this picture of us all together. I love these kiddos, and I love that I get the chance to hang out with them and teach them about bicycles. It doesn’t get much better than this.

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