Five-year-old Anna Oliphant scrunches her face at the Bike Rodeo on Saturday, advising her father the helmet is too tight. "And I want it to be loose." Anna's 7-and-a-half-year-old sister Abigail waits patiently behind her declaring, "I've been riding around the obstacles. I'm here today because I like bike riding. I think it's fun."
Photo by Shirley Ruhe.
Tiny legs wobble their bikes through the orange cones in the parking lot of the Woman's Club of Arlington on S. Buchanan Street. This is the third year for the Bike Rodeo. The Woman’s Club of Arlington, Phoenix Bikes, Bike Arlington and Kidical Mass Arlington sponsor the event. It is 10:45 on Saturday morning, April 14, and already 20 children are weaving through the obstacle course.
Meg Rapelye, executive director of Phoenix Bikes, says the purpose of the event is for children to learn to ride bikes safely. "We provide helmet checks and bike checks for safety."
Two-and-a- half-year old Margaret Levett, takes off running across the parking lot. "Wait, wait," her mother calls. You forgot your bike." Her mother, Jennifer Lane, explains this is Margaret's second year at the bike rodeo. "Last year when she was just one and a half, about all she could do was bump the cone with a lot of help from her father."
Joseph Thompson, who is attending his first bike rodeo, pedals faster than his legs will go and takes a crash onto the pavement. But a minute later he is back at it again, experimenting with how fast he can go and still keep his balance.
Angela Morici, coordinator of the event for the Woman’s Club, says she has been busy preparing for this event but with a lot of help from other club members setting up the cones, getting the snacks and making sure all of the organizations participating with their volunteers are on track and coordinated.
Roy Nanovic is a volunteer with Bike Arlington. He stands along the lanes monitoring the riders "to give the children confidence to ride safely. We don't emphasize speed but ability to stay on top of the bike."