Can-Bike 4 Kids

...and adjusting the helmets.
Reading Time: 4 minutes
First instructions to the 17 children who participated.

Ottawa’s oldest bicycle advocacy group, Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC), was -amongst others- founded by Bruce Timmermans. From Dutch descent, he was used to cycling as a means of transportation, before the word environment was invented and CO2 was mostly found in soft drinks. When he died in 1999, CfSC received donations which were set aside for good use in bicycle advocacy.

In 2011, there was still a small amount left and Jamie Stuckless of Green Communities Canada applied for the remaining amount to use for cycling education programs for kids. Together with Can-Bike, they approached a number of schools to give a condensed cycling instruction on a Saturday morning.

Jamie Stuckless, who works for Green Communities Canada, set up a program for schools to participate in a special condensed Can-Bike 4 kids course in Ottawa

For the love of cycling

Surprisingly, some schools felt that they didn’t need the free course. Not because they thought the education wasn’t necessary, but they thought it should go to schools with families with less means. That was very generous. All this takes a huge amount of organisation and it took Jamie many, many hours to find the three schools which eventually signed up. I am sure that if you’d count the hours, she probably works below minimum wage (are you listening, Provincial Ministers of Transport?).

Adjusting the bikes….
…and adjusting the helmets.

Taking to the streets of Ottawa

After some adjusting of helmets and bikes, there was some skill exercise and once they got that somewat under control, we took to the streets. Dirk, a blond three year old boy, couldn’t really grasp the concept of staying to the right and tended to veer to the centre of the road: “Dirk, back to the curb”…..”Dirk, get back to the curb”…”Dirk, watch where you’re cycling”.

Skills exercise under the watchful eye of Cassandra of City Wide Sports, which runs the Can-Bike courses.

Interesting to note that some parents thought their neighbourhood was ‘way too busy‘ to cycle, where as in reality I hardly saw a car. An example of perceived unsafety, I guess. When we eventually had to move to the centre of the road in order to turn left again, the few cars kept at a very safe distance. Their neighbourhood appeared great for children cycling actually.

He was too nervous to go on the street initially, but I convinced him to cycle with me as he shouldn’t miss the best part of the course. So off we went and he was happy.

Here are a few more pictures of the training which took place on June 9, 2012. Personally, I think the bike course for (4) Kids should be polished a bit, as it was still a bit too much of an adult course, with little engagement from the kids, other than following instructions. There was a bottle of water for them; still being a kid myself I think I would have liked some juice and cookie or so half way. But these are details.

And we are ready to put everything to the test: hitting the road.
For most of them, their first road experience.
And there is the first pothole and their first stop sign. Some of the participants couldn’t even read yet…

Detail: All parents agreed to have pics of the kids except one, so I had to bend into some interesting ways to always hide one girl behind others.

More information

Interested in a course: Can-bike courses are given in several places in Canada, but the CCA website appears not up to date (cut backs?) For Ottawans, the best page to go is to City Wide Sports.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this most vivid analysis of how to deal with fear. I have experienced some of these techniques myself and got insight into some others. I am living with the strong possibility of recurring ovarian cancer having been originally diagnosed in October 2011. However, I have managed to put that fear under control by facing that possibility, facing the worst case scenario – death and then moving beyond it. I have taken a very proactive stance to empower myself by nourishing my mind, body and spirit. Like you, I’ve found very healthy ways to eat. In addition, I am very proactive about enjoying my life by filling it with as many fun things to do including laughing as much as possible. I have strengthened my faith which gives me the courage to keep those other aspects of my life strengthened. I am a deep believer that cancer has to be dealt with holistically. In fact, we should all live our lives holistically, cancer or not. I recall my deep feelings of fear when it was thought I might have breast cancer and a permanent limp in my leg not long after completing chemo for my ovarian cancer. I remember applying the techniques of self-love, relaxation, and letting go and letting God take control. Once I did that, the fear subsided. Shortly after that my breast biopsy proved negative and the limp in my leg completely vanished (turned out to be a case of bursitis in my hip). My fear had convinced me the limp was the result of damage done to my body by chemo.
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