Fruitvale Elementary students participate in bicycle rodeo

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)-- Dozens of third graders at Fruitvale Elementary School got a unique kind of hands-on learning today. While participating in a "bike rodeo," students learned safe bike riding and bike handling skills.

The rodeo is part of the "Safe Routes to School" grant the City of Grand Junction received in partnership with Grand Valley Bikes. The $30,365 grant was awarded by Colorado Department of Transportation.

"We teach pedestrian and bicycle skills for the kids, which is especially important right now since the bus routes have changed, and more kids are walking and more kids are riding bikes," said Amy Agapito, co-coordinator of Safe Routes to School program and board member of Grand Valley Bikes.

Students learned safe riding skills, such as proper signaling and stopping mechanisms, and how to make sure the bike is safe before getting on it. Fruitvale's physical education teacher Paul Hughes said along with teaching safety, the program encourages physical activity.

"The kids are absolutely loving it," Hughes said. "They're taking kids who've never rode a bike before and that same day, within a half hour, kids are riding on two wheels. It's very cool. They're really taking the balance concept and teaching kids to be safe on those bikes."

For some students like third-grader Amy Rider, this was her first experience on a bike.

"I always wanted to ride a bike," Rider said. "Today I am learning things about bike safety and if the helmet fits right before you get on."

The grant builds off a Safe Routes to School grant received last year, which was used to purchase kids' bicycles to bring to the schools for rodeos.

Fruitvale Elementary is the fourth District 51 school to participate in the rodeo. Grand Valley Bikes staff has previously held rodeos at Tope Elementary School, Rocky Mountain Elementary School, and Dual Immersion Academy. This spring, Chipeta Elementary will also hold a bicycle rodeo.

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