Bicycle instruction drops in on summer fun

KALAHEO — The number of hands dropped to one when Dr. Randy Blake, executive director of the Kaua‘i Path, asked how many of the Kalaheo summer fun students had taken a bicycle class.

Almost all of the more than two dozen students between ages 7 and 11 years old knew how to ride a bicycle, but just one had been through a bicycle class to learn the mechanics of riding safely.

“This is the launch of an instructional series of programs made possible through the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant,” Blake said.

Getting help from volunteer instructors, Blake walked the students through the basics of bicycling riding including getting the proper fitting bicycle helmet, an accessory all of the students knew about, but none knew how to get it to fit properly.

The ABC of bicycle inspection also yielded correct answers: A is for air pressure, checked with the thumb-o-meter stored in your pocket, B is for brakes and C is for chain and crank, indicating the degree of awareness the young riders had for bicycles.

Despite these non-riding exercises, the students patiently worked through it, eager to take off when given an opportunity to put the braking exercise into practice.

Blake arrived at the neighborhood center with a van equipped with special racks to accomodate the two dozen or so bicycles used for the training.

“We have to be prepared,” Blake said. “In this case, we brought the bicycles for the students to use.”

The public has an opportunity to also learn bicycling this Saturday when Blake leads a limited enrollment class on Traffic Skills 101 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Department of Health, Vector Control Building located behind the Department of Water in Pua Loke.

The class will be repeated on Aug. 20.

This class is geared for people ages 14 and older and participants need to bring their own bicycle in good working condition and their own helmet.

There is a registration fee of $50.

Described as a fast-paced, nine-hour course, the class prepares cyclists with a full understanding of vehicular cycling and covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques. It also includes a student manual, states the Kaua‘i Path website.

As a follow up to the Saturday class, Team Buddly and fellow bicycle riders invite any rider who feels capable of riding on the road in a group to a fun bike training ride, April 17 starting at 8:30 a.m. from Java Kai in Kapa‘a.

The course, about 20 miles and intended for mountain bikes and hybrids, will travel north on Ke Ala Hele Makala‘e, the multi-use path, continuing on to Anahola and returning via the Spalding Monument.

There are options for shorter rides and because it is an unsupported ride, riders need to be prepared to fix their own flats.

Visit www.kauaipath.org for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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