Alex Brown, a teacher at Morey Middle School in Capital Hill, approached BikeDenver regarding a basic bicycle class. This week long series of out of classroom curriculum, called Morey Intersessions, includes hiking, biking and frisbee. Alex, Andrea Thibedeau and I agreed to come up with a course that would cover safe riding, helmets and flat repair. Andrea is a recent graduate from our League Certified Instructor course and volunteered to help. She did more than that; she developed the curriculum, printed the handouts and taught the road safety course. She quickly chalked out a large city streetscape on the school lot with an intersection, road hazards and various road signs. She had the students walk this course, learning to use lanes properly, signal for turns and be aware of potential hazard zones. Alex demonstrated the ABC quick check with his bike to ensure that it was safe to ride. The three key points are; Air for properly inflated tires, Brakes for proper functioning and the Crank/Chain drive train to make sure everything is working properly. I covered helmet fit and selection followed by flat repairs. We had 6 eggs to drop to demonstrate bike helmets effectiveness. We dropped 3 with protection, 3 without. We tried dropping the first one taped in a Styrofoam cup. The second one had a masking tape suspension system inside the cup. The last one we taped into the cardboard egg carton. All three broke! Even though we were unsuccessful in saving the eggs, the students enjoyed the experiment. The group tried on the different helmets and seemed to enjoy the full face helmets from a friend that races BMX. After covering helmet specifics, we removed tires and tubes, checked for foreign objects, repaired and then reinstalled the tires. Many of the students already knew how to change a flat and helped others.
Thanks to Alex for reaching out and getting his students involved in bicycling. Alex is committed to commuting to school as frequently as possible. With this intersession, the students now have the basic knowledge to begin cycling safely. Thanks also to Eric Bunch. He’s BikeDenver’s intern dedicated to our education program. He provided a great deal of support and relevant training material for this class.