Opportunities for youth and adults to be physically active are always in demand. Three SNAP-Ed educators in Alabama made it their missions to provide an outlet for physical activity that was healthy, safe, and fun! With donated bikes, obstacle courses, and plenty of water to keep everybody hydrated, these educators hosted bike rodeos in their communities.
SNAP-Ed in Jefferson County, hosted a bike rodeo at C.J. Donald Elementary School. SNAP-Ed teaches the Body Quest curriculum to third grade students; a program designed to reduce childhood obesity. Through a partnership with the United Way of Central Alabama, SNAP-Ed leveraged Birmingham’s new bike lanes and community biking trails to encourage more kids to ride bikes. United Way provided the bikes, and the Children’s Hospital of Alabama donated helmets. Approximately 30 kids joined the rodeo that took place during a summer camp at the school.
The goals of this rodeo were:
- Teaching kids to ride bikes
- Increasing physical activity
- Hosting a safe outdoor event during the COVID-19 pandemic
“This is a great outdoor activity that the kids can participate in. It also benefits everybody from just being outside.”
- SNAP-Ed Educator (Desiree Hutcherson Bates)
In Calhoun County, the SNAP-Ed educator, coordinated a bike rodeo with the City of Anniston, the Wiggins Community Center, and additional community partners. SNAP-Ed programs include Eat Better, Move More and the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH). These programs encourage children to eat healthier and move more. Additionally, SNAP-Ed partners with the community center and the city for a bike club. Through this club, children can ride donated bicycles on a walking trail near the center’s property.
In the summer of 2022, SNAP-Ed worked with the city of Anniston and Wigs Wheels, a local bicycle shop to host a bike rodeo.
“I was more than happy to help with the rodeo. It made all the hard work worth it when one little girl looked up at me and said, ‘This is the best bike rodeo ever!’”
– SNAP-Ed Educator
At the Event
The goal was to teach children how to ride a bike, with an emphasis on fun and safety. The rodeo included an obstacle course for children to practice their riding skills. The course had rumble strips, cornering skills and a stop sign. It also taught use of hand signals and how to avoid roadkill.
The Anniston Police Department was on-site to teach the children about the proper use of hand signals while riding in traffic. The community center provided bikes for all children. Local high school students taught kids about proper bike maintenance and choosing the best fit for a helmet.
“From 6 to 9 p.m., kids never stopped going through the rodeo, It was a great time, and I can’t wait to do it again.”
– SNAP-Ed Educator (Tammy Hall)
SNAP-Ed in Barbour County, partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake Eufaula to launch a bike rodeo. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an uptick of children riding bikes on the sidewalks and in the streets. This led to the idea to host a rodeo to teach bicycle safety.
“The biggest goal was to get those kids helmets that fit and teach them about basic bike safety rules. We want them to ride their bikes as much as they want, but we also want them to be safe.”
– SNAP-Ed Educator (Michelle Puckett)
Once the word of the rodeo reached the community, the Barbour County Extension office received more than 50 donated helmets for local children. The Extension office hosted the rodeo, providing multiple stations for biking education. Children brought their own bikes. However, their bikes were inspected to ensure they were in good working order.
Additionally, every child who needed a helmet got a free helmet that was fitted for them. The children learned to stop and start properly and to be aware of their surroundings while riding.
Students at the bike rodeos received a full day of physical activity. Between the three rodeos nearly 100 kids throughout Alabama participated in these events. Additionally, many children received donated safety equipment. The event encouraged lifelong physical activity through bike riding.