From OutThere Colorado
By Stephanie Earls
When the coronavirus pandemic triggered shutdowns and stay-at-home orders in March, Daniel Byrd remembers having one immediate thought, one big regret.
“I wish we had gotten every kid a bicycle,” said Byrd.
Because learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage that every kid should experience.
Because learning to ride a bike isn’t just about learning to ride a bike.
“It’s a sense of freedom and independence, and now it really takes on a whole new level of meaning,” said Byrd, whose Colorado Springs nonprofit, Kids on Bikes, teaches bike safety and helps get refurbished cycles and equipment to kids who might otherwise go without.
Kids on Bikes has been pursuing that mission since 2005, hosting camps, bike clinics, family rides, carnivals and programs that teach riding and safety skills. Kids can “earn” a free bike, helmet and upkeep equipment, by completing a program on bike safety and cycling basics.
Like all learning during COVID-19, those lessons shifted online.
“All our curriculum before the pandemic was a minimum of four to eight weeks of after-school bike club type activities, where they’d learn with, and from, their peers,” said Byrd, whose nonprofit coordinates with program partners, at schools and community centers. “We consolidated it and condensed it and said, let’s give them any and all resources we have and make it online.”
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