Two children practice their biking skills around the obstacle course set up by Vienna Parks and Recreation and monitored by Vienna police officers and volunteers.
Photo by Donna Manz.
The Department of Parks and Recreation of the town of Vienna, in partnership with the Vienna Police Department, INOVA Health Services Brain Trauma Center, Spokes, and Bikes@Vienna, hosted a “bike rodeo” to kick off the 8th annual “Safe Routes to School Bike/Walk Challenge Week.”
Under the guidance of Vienna police officers and community volunteers, 126 young bike riders went through the rodeo course, and received bike-and-helmet checks. Inova brain trauma volunteers gave out 66 free bike helmets to little kids and young teens, fitting the children after they chose their helmet, while Bikes@vienna and Spokes did safety checks on their bicycles. The rodeo with bounce house took over the parking lot of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department.
“We partner with the police department, Spokes, bikes@Vienna, Inova trauma center, and Safe Routes to School, to kick off the walk/bike to school challenge,” said Brian Hanifin of Vienna Parks and Recreation. “We want to have a fun course to show kids the right way to ride their bikes in town. And the most important part is we get to make sure everyone’s helmets and bikes are up to safety standards before they can go through the course.”
This year, June 13 through 17, students at the community’s seven elementary schools are encouraged to walk or bike to school, even those who usually take the bus.
At the end of the week, the schools with the most improvement, highest overall participation, and highest biking participation are recognized with trophies at a community celebration on Friday evening.
The challenge encourages youngsters to adopt a healthy lifestyle that embraces exercise along with a healthful diet.
In 2015, Westbriar Elementary School won the overall Challenge Cup for most improved participation. For several years, Westbriar PTA has sponsored a monthly “Wednesdays are for Walking/Biking” participation. Parents of bussed children will drive their kids – and bikes - to safe drop-off spots off Old Courthouse Road and accompany their children on the walk or ride to Westbriar.