Bicycle safety was on full display at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Mechanicsburg on Sunday, May 19. The second annual Bike Rodeo, sponsored and organized by the Parish’s American Heritage Girls (AHG) troop, was a great way to remind parish and community children of bicycle safety, right in time for summer.
The AHG troop hosted their first rodeo last year, after several parents suggested the safety event. A huge success, the troop decided to continue hosting the rodeo.
“The whole purpose is safety,” said LaDawnna Clancy, who is one of the founding members of the AHG troop for the parish. Six stations were set up for the rodeo, with each testing a safety or skill component of bicycling, explained Clancy. However, before participants could start the rodeo course, they first had their bike checked by a trained bicycle mechanic, had their helmet fitted and had to demonstrate they could stop their bicycle.
“We check their tires, seats, breaks and helmets,” Clancy said.
Carole Green, another founder of the troop, explained the many stations of the rodeo and that the troop incorporated the AHG bicycle badge requirements into the rodeo.
“The badge requirements are part of this. They (the kids) have to demonstrate that they can stop, ride on a line and look for cars,” Green said.
The rodeo stations also demonstrated using hand signals, stopping on an “X” and controlling the bicycle through an obstacle course.
Maureen Lee, also a founding member of the troop, added that learning the importance of communicating when biking was an important lesson for the day.
“We talk to the kids so they know they need to communicate,” Lee said. “Especially if they go out on a trail and there are pedestrians, what do you do? We talk about that.”
New to the rodeo this year was a ride through the local neighborhood. Participants had to successfully pass all six skill stations before they could participate in the community ride. Before the group left for this ride, Clancy reminded participants to use their hand signals and watch out for cars potentially pulling out of driveways.
In addition to the safety education side, the rodeo was also collecting used bikes for donation to Operation Wildcat: Project Bikes. This program from the Mechanicsburg Area School District accepts new and gently used bikes, which will be distributed to students in need.
“It brings people together to do something fun,” Green said. “It’s also community service.”
“This is great,” said Dan Liberatore, a parishioner of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton who brought his son, Nicholas, to the rodeo. “He’s enjoying it and I think it’s a great idea. He rides a lot and likes to ride. I think it’s good to have the bikes checked. The kids see it as fun but they are also learning.”
The event was open to all members of the parish and to youth from the community.
By Rachel Bryson, M.S., The Catholic Witness