Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Arkansas Earth Day - BACA Bike Rodeo

BACA and the Arkansas Sustainability Network's ReCycles Bike Co-op teamed up to present a cycling information booth and a mini-bicycle rodeo for kids at the Arkansas Earth Day festival at the Clinton Presidential Library center on April 26th. ReCycles provided a set of eight refurbished kids' bikes for use by kids who dropped by the BACA display as well as a couple of wrenches (e.g., bike mechanics) to help tune and make any necessary repairs to bikes which the kids may have brought themselves. Fellow LCI Willa Williams and I along with Danielle de Prieux of ReCycles served as the "cowboys" for the rodeo, presenting simple riding and traffic safety instruction to the kids who took part. Willa also brought a truckload of bike helmets for the youngsters, and gave a substantial part of them away during the day.


Here’s the mini-rodeo setup, where the kids would ride a straight line, dodge a small obstacle in the road (represented by a pink tennis ball half), then stop at a traffic signal, look both ways to clear traffic, turn left, and then negotiate a chicane back to the finish line.

The BACA tent is set up in the background.


The rodeo in action… Danielle mans the start line, while Willa straightens up the tennis balls


Gordon Fisher and Ron Rizzardi greet visitors to the BACA booth, and pass out information on BACA and ABC activities, commuting and utility cycling tips, and BikeEd class brochures. Having our own tent this year made it a lot more comfortable for the booth volunteers, as well as greatly increasing our visibility at the festival.


A young rider negotiates the Rock Dodge part of the bike rodeo.


Another view of the BACA booth and display.

All in all, it went pretty well. I lost count of the number of kids who stopped by to try out the bike course, and at least four or five tried to spend a good part of the day with us. There were a few traffic problems in that our location in the corner of the parking lot tempted many spectators to walk through the area, to include the bike course while the kids were trying to ride it. A note to myself, next time bring some engineering tape to block off the course to these interlopers. On the good side, it added a bit of randomness to the bike course as the kids actually had to deal with randomly wandering pedestrians at unexpected times. One little fellow did a flawless Quick Turn when a lady chatting on her cell phone walked directly into his path.

Lots of bicycles, and bicyclists were seen wandering around the festival, which is always a Good Thing…

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