A Wheelie-Good Family Bike Night
There’s a movement happening in Lodi, and this movement is powered by two wheels and your quads. Bike Lodi has only been in Lodi since 2015, but in those few short years they’ve made some major strides. According to Kathryn Siddle, one of the Bike Lodi leaders, Bike Lodi’s goal is to make biking in Lodi the norm. They’re doing a lot of work to make this happen, and one of their focus points has been cycling education and safety for kids. This last week they held an event at A&W called Family Bicycle Cruise Night. Bike Lodi was one of the eight recipients of a joint grant through the City of Lodi and the Lodi Chamber of Commerce called ABCD Loved Your Block. ABCD is a program that encourages people to be involved in the community by helping them with funding, through mini grants, and giving them the “know-how” to make the change they want to see. With this grant money, Kathryn and her Bike Lodi team organized a family friendly event to help make biking more safe and accessible for kids.
The event covered biking basics for kiddos. Families checked in and put their name in a drawing for different prizes, including a brand new bicycle that A&W got donated. Next, families checked out the three stations. The first station showed kids how to properly lock up their bike. And if a kid showed up without a bike lock, they got a spiffy new one on the spot. The second station was a helmet fitting station. This was really neat because the kids who showed up were actually fitted by someone from the SJ County Public Health Services. If a kid's helmet was unsafe for any reason, they were given a brand new helmet. “We’re big helmet people" said Kathryn. I still wear my helmet. I mean I’ve hit my head and I just feel like we don’t have enough brain cells. At least I don’t!” laughed Kathryn. As someone who is constantly losing everything, I couldn't agree more. I don't know of anyone who can afford any extra hits to the head. The helmets the kids were given were actually really nice too. That was part of what the ABCD grant funding covered: new helmets for kids, along with the new bike locks. The third station had bike mechanics from Performance Bikes who were fixing up people’s bikes to make sure they were safe for the road. Isn’t that great? It was more than just a few little stations, it really was a one stop shop to make sure kids had the tools they needed to safely ride their bikes around.
The best part about this event was seeing the kids show up. The very first kid who showed up didn’t have a helmet, didn’t have a good bike lock, and the chain on his bike was messed up. It was totally unsafe for him to be riding his bike around- not that the lack of safety was stopping him. So he rolled up and got a new lock and learned how to use it. Then he went to the next station and got a brand new helmet that fit him perfectly. After that, he took his little bike over and got the chain fixed and the tires aired up. That kid really, really benefited from this event. And as the evening cooled down, more and more families showed up ready to get their kids bike ready. Each kid that showed up had something they really needed help with, especially helmets and bike maintenance. Bringing this back to ABCD Love Your Block, it was really nice to see how the city and chamber's funding went right back into our community. It empowered the Bike Lodi experts with the tools they needed to help keep kids in our community safe. All in all, it felt like a really successful event that reached the people who could benefit the most. Before the event Kathryn had shared that “One of the goals is to show kids and families you can do something fun together. You can ride your bike over together to A&W and get a rootbeer float! And you can do that safely.” Mission accomplished.