Bike rodeo: A full ride scholarship

Event teaches kids important lessons on fun, safe cycling

Five-year-old Peyton Behl of Fruita is helped over a ramp by Hunter Hoffman with the Fruita Parks and Recreation Department during the Back to School Bike Rodeo on Saturday morning at the Fruita Recreation Center. The free event was open to kids 4-12 and included an obstacle course, bike and helmet inspection, bike registration cards and a safety course.

Some riders rode easier than others at Fruita’s Back to School Bike Rodeo on Saturday.

The free event at the Fruita Community Center was open to children ages 4 to 12 and included an obstacle course, bike and helmet inspection, bike registration cards and a safety course, Fruita Police Department school resource officer Bob Bomar said.

More than 50 children took part, including some as young as 2 years old who navigated the course on tiny scooters, Bomar said.

Coloramo Federal Credit Union Marketing Director Steve Harrington was on hand to dispense free helmets to children who needed them.

Fruita police officer Andrew Courtney registered bikes and stamped them with identification numbers so they can be traced to the proper owner if lost or stolen and recovered by police.

Fruita Police Chief Mark Angelo said the purpose of the bike rodeo is two-fold. Children need to learn the rules of the road and gain confidence in their riding ability.

“As they go through the course more often, the confidence level increases, which is good,” Angelo said. “Then they know they can focus on other things, on the safety issues and they know how to get out of difficult situations, they’re not falling off their bikes and they become comfortable riding on the streets.”

For Fruita Middle School student Chloe DiGioa, gaining confidence to ride her brand new Beach Master was the first step in getting comfortable with a quarter-mile ride to her friend Kaylee’s house.

“I think it’s great that they’re learning how to ride, especially with the cars and things like that because I know that’s what I worry about,” said DiGioa’s mother, Sabrina Mitchell.

The threat of cars weighed heavily on the minds of most parents who attended the rodeo.

“We live in town and I want them to know as much about safety rules as possible — how to get off your bike when you cross the street and how to always be aware of cars driving around, pulling out in front of you,” Melissa Stocking said of her daughter, Madlyn, 5, and son, Mason, 7.

Mason Stocking, who showed off a scabbed elbow, the result of a mountain biking mishap, said he still needed to learn some rules in order to ride on the street someday.

Zachary Loeb, 5, who just started riding his bike without training wheels, learned the importance of stopping at stop signs and looking both ways, information he may not retain this year, but soon, said his dad, Brett Loeb of Fruita.

“Any kind of learning, if you can start it early, it’s going to help. He may not remember now, but in a few years, it’s going to pay off,” Loeb said.


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