Clay Neely / The Newnan Times-Herald
In the bicycle rack outside Elm Street Elementary School, you will usually find a few bicycles parked during the school day.
Thanks to Elm Street physical education coach Judd Baker, the extra spaces may soon fill up.
Earlier this year, Baker responded to an opportunity to help teach kindergarten children to ride bikes through a grant opportunity from All Kids Bike.
The All Kids Bike Kindergarten program provides schools with all the equipment and materials teachers need to teach children to ride.
The program includes teacher training and certification, a structured eight lesson program, a fleet of Strider bikes, pedal conversion kits, fully adjustable helmets, a Strider 20 teacher instruction bike and a support plan. over five years.
According to information available on the All Kids Bikes website (allkidsbike.org), “two-in-one” conversion bikes “help riders gain confidence and learn more advanced skills on a balance bike.
Then, when the kids are ready, it easily converts into a pedal bike with the installation of the Easy-Ride Pedal Conversion Kit.
While waiting for the bikes to arrive, Baker went through a professional development and certification process to teach children how to ride during their physical education classes.
“I had to be prepared because I knew that as soon as the bikes arrived the kids would be ready to ride them immediately,” Baker said. “I don’t see anyone not being able to ride a bike in first grade depending on the weather and the fun we’re going to have.”
On Wednesday morning, Baker was ready as the kids at Elm Street Kindergarten previewed the 25 new bikes that will be part of their physical education program.
To help support local communities and help encourage future outdoor enthusiasts, Yamaha Motor Manufacturing sponsors the program for Elm Street and Western Elementary Schools.
Yamaha recently awarded a $ 30,000 grant to fund six All Kids Bike programs, including two in Newnan, two in Marietta, and two in Cypress, Calif., All located near the company’s offices.
Taka Imanishi, president of Newnan Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Company, is an avid mountain biker and can be found often at Brown’s Mill in Coweta County.
Robert Brown, Yamaha vice president of finance and operations support, said the company is proud to give the grant to schools and hopes it will help young people spend more time outdoors.
“I think it goes really well with everything Coweta County and Newnan are doing with LINC, the mountain bike trails and C Jay Smith Park pumping trail,” Brown said. “I see a lot of kids there and I think that goes hand in hand with our mission to get kids off their screens.”
Elm Street Elementary School Principal Dr Christi Hildebrand said she was grateful for the work Baker and Yahama have done to bring cycling to young riders of all demographics.
“As a title 1 school, for many this could be their first experience with a bike. For those who are afraid or apprehensive, they can learn in a safe environment, ”said Hildebrand. “It’s good for the community in the long run and we like to promote this kind of activity.
The local bike advocacy group Bike Coweta is looking for other local businesses to help set up the All Kids Bike program at other schools in Coweta County.
For more information on the grant program, visit BikeCoweta.com or allkidsbike.org.