We started Bike Class on Jan 9 with an introductory session. We went over the parts of the bike with the kids and told them about what we would be doing in class. I asked the students what they thought about bikes, if they knew how to ride bikes, and if they currently have bikes. The general attitude was that bikes are like toys or sporting equipment; they are fun, but most of them do not have bikes right now because bikes are for kids. Two students have cars, the others walk or catch a ride or take the bus to get places. Generally, they were surprised and skeptical about using a bike for transportation.
Here are some of their responses to the questions above:
- Joseph told me that he used to have a business fixing up and selling bikes and he likes working on bikes, but doesn’t currently have a bike. He walks to get places. He wouldn’t mind having a bike again.
- Decoria was surprised to learn that she could get around town on a bike. She doesn’t currently have a bike, but she is interested. She was very excited about the prospect of being able to take her 1 1/2 year old daughter places by bike (in a baby bike cart). Decoria was also interested in how much calories you used getting around by bike versus walking…so we discussed that a bit.
- Tim currently owns a bike, which he uses to get places to go skateboarding.
- Wesley, who owns a car, said he doesn’t really like bikes, because they slow him down when he is driving.
- Paige said she used to have a bike, but it caught fire, so she doesn’t have one any more. (I had never heard of a bike catching fire before, but there you go.)
Most of the other students know how to ride a bike and used to have a bike, but don’t any more. Generally, everyone seemed responsive but skeptical about bikes as a means of transportation.We talked a little about how many calories it takes to move a bike one mile versus a car (40 v. 1800 for a small car). And how bikes are the most efficient machine man has ever designed, capable of traveling three miles on an apple. I don’t know if any of them were very impressed by that or even if they believed me, but I hope I at least got them thinking a little. Then to prove the point that you can go shopping with a bike, I had them all come down and help me unload my cargo bike which I had loaded down with all kinds of bike tools. They were really surprised by how much I was able to carry on the bike.