Last week, 10 Peabody Elementary third, fourth and fifth graders completed the first-ever Revolutions' Bicycle Ambassadors program. The children worked all semester learning safe street bicycling skills.
The term "Bicycle Ambassador" is used because the students worked to encourage other students and families to also ride to school. Revolutions Bicycle Cooperative generally works to get more people of all ages on bicycles and partnered with Peabody Elementary school children and their families to specifically use bicycles for transportation to school. The hope is that riding bicycles rather than riding in cars to school will lead to healthier, more active children.
In the pilot year of the program, students received recycled bicycles that were refurbished by Revolutions, plus new helmets and sturdy bicycle locks. They complete a series of safety workshops and street riding skill training conducted by Revolutions. In April Revolutions hosted a community "Bicycle Rodeo" at First Congregational Church. And by riding around Peabody Elementary’s neighborhood, they connected students from all parts of the school’s boundary.
During their Thursday club meetings, Bicycle Ambassadors learned to how to use hand signals and navigate intersections. They took neighborhood rides to get comfortable riding in the street, and using bicycle lanes. And they learned how to properly wear helmets and lock up their bicycles.
The Bicycle Ambassadors enjoyed a celebration ride last week to complete the semester.
Revolutions Executive Director hopes to expand the program in the future. "We have dreams of doing this in more schools, with more children. We believe that bicycles provide an excellent transportation choice that children can continue to use on into adulthood. Why not use a bicycle to get to middle school and high school, as well as jobs, the grocery store, the library and the park?" she said.