"What do you know or like about bikes?" Corey and Graham from Boston Bikes asked Ms. Mansfield's 4th grade class.
The kids' answers came fast and furious: "I like going downhill." "I like the idea of doing tricks." "I know how to do wheelies." "I like BMX bikes." "I know that you need to follow the rules to be safe."
"I like to ride with my friends," added Corey.
"And, I love the freedom of using my bike," said Graham, "I can ride all around the city without paying for the T."
Corey and Graham are at the Perkins to help the kids learn to ride bicycles and do it safely. So before our kids "mount up," they get some important lessons.
First: This is not the way you wear a helmet!
The helmet should lie flat on your head, not tilted back. You should be able to see it, if you look straight up. If you can't, your helmet is too loose.
The straps should make a triangle around your ears.
Once you fasten it, you should be able to open your mouth wide. If you can't, the helmet is too tight!
Why are helmets important?
The kids know this answer. "So you don't bust your head," one calls out.
What is a big difference between these two bikes? That's the next question--and, the answer has nothing to do with color or fenders. It's their brakes! The yellow bike has brakes on the pedals and you can stop it by pushing the pedal backwards. The blue bike's brakes are on its handle bars, one lever for the front tire and one for the back one.
Is a good idea to stop your bike by just pushing on the brake for the front tire? NO! Just think about what might happen.
One of the last lessons the kids learned was they must always know their ABCs--for bikes, that is. Before you start riding, do the ABC check:
A = Air. Your tires should feel hard like a basketball. Give them a squeeze to make sure.
B = Brakes. Are they working?
C = Chain. Is it strung correctly?
If so, you're ready to go!
By the end of the hour, this fourth grade class was ready to roll. Corey and Graham went on to the next class.
Meanwhile, all the bikes and helmets were just waiting to be used.....