For many of the kids it was their first bike and for some it was their first time on a bike.“The main thing is to learn how to balance,” said Chris Webster, Wish for Wheels supreme event …
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For many of the kids it was their first bike and for some it was their first time on a bike.“The main thing is to learn how to balance,” said Chris Webster, Wish for Wheels supreme event commander for a kindergarten bicycle giveaway for 75 lucky Thornton Elementary School students.
Adams 12 Five Star Stadium was busy March 1 with volunteers from Wish for Wheels, Sage Hospitality and Thornton Elementary as they hosted a Wish for Wheels and provided 75 bikes for all 75 kindergarten students.
Thornton Elementary has partnered with Wish for Wheels in the past to provide free bicycle helmets for the kindergarten students, according to Assistant Principal Shannon West. Wish for Wheels then partners with a company in the local area who picks up the cost of the bikes and the helmets and then provides volunteers to help put the bikes together.
“The local company helping is Sage Hospitality from Denver and they have about 100 volunteers here today to build the bikes and help teach the kindergarten to ride the bikes.” West said “This could not be done though without the great help from Courtney Mitchler who is a teacher at Thornton Elementary. Courtney is the one who set this all up and made this such an incredible day.”
The kindergarten students each teamed up with two volunteers who helped unpack and build their bikes. For some of these students, this was their first bike and they were proud to show them off.
After the bikes were built, the volunteers helped the kindergarten students learn to ride. When asked about training wheels, Wish for Wheels’ Webster said he prefers to skip them.
“We purposely do not provide training wheels on the bikes as this holds the students back from learning to ride,” Webster said.
Webster said the bikes were set up to help young riders learn. Some were Strider bikes, special bikes that don’t have pedals but teach the riders how to balance.
“Strider bikes sit lower and the kids keep their feet on the ground and push themselves until they learn how to balance and then they are ready for pedals,” Webster said.
Other times, normal bikes were modified to work like Striders.
“In some cases, I will remove the pedals and imitate the Strider bikes,” Webster said. “The kids learn to balance then put the pedals back on. But in most cases doing this type of event, the volunteers are great and can teach the kids to ride in a day. Others are riding within a few days.”
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