Milwaukee Elementary School holds "bike rodeo"

It's a strange name but it has a great message. Franklin Elementary held a bike rodeo Friday for students to learn how to ride their bicycles safely.

"It just creates an awesome opportunity for our kids," Michael Hicks, a Physical Education teacher at Franklin said. "A healthy opportunity at that."

This has been part of a four to five-week course where students strapped on a helmet and learned how to properly ride their bikes during gym class. So instead of dodgeball, basketball or running, it's a class in practicality.

"Local motor movement," Hicks said. "Keeps them occupied and safe. Some don't even know how to ride and if they don't know how to ride at this time, chances are later on in life, they won't get a chance."

Third and fourth graders went through several obstacle courses including a 'snail race.' The winner wasn't the fastest, but rather, the one who went the slowest and most methodically through the course. It involved balance, avoiding obstacles and stopping to look for dangers.

"Safety is always critical," Sara Hmielewski, Principal at Franklin Elementary said. "We know there are cars that don't always pay attention to children playing. Having safety equipment when riding out there is important. Also, some families don't have resources to provide to their children. To be able to provide that for those families and support them so their kids can have fun safely is a great thing for our kids."

The students were all given a free helmet as part of the class. 

But in addition to safety, the class also is a lesson in confidence. Learning how to do something and do it successfully can have lasting effects well into adulthood. 

"I think that being the 06 ZIP code, it already has a bad reputation," Hicks said. "We have good things happening here and we want to continue doing that."

"This is a lifetime activity they can take with them," Hmielewski said. "If they learn how to do it as children, they can take it throughout their entire life. Self-esteem, knowing they can be successful, you take that success from one area and it bleeds into every area of their lives."

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