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Old 08-11-06, 05:59 AM   #1
kjmillig
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High School Bike Club?

As I'm sure most of the folks here are aware, the number of kids riding bikes to school and riding in general is dropping. That's why I'm considering trying to start a bike club for recreation, advocacy, fitness, community service, etc at my high school. I teach at a ninth grade only campus about 200 yards from the main campus in an urban school district in SW Houston. I really want to foocus on community awareness of cyclists, riding safely, etc, with community service work (because that's what the public sees), and regular rides of course. I'd love to take a bunch of these kids to Houston's Alkek Velodrome, which is only about 20 minutes from our school for ataste of track riding.
What are your experiences or thoughts on the subject. Thanks.
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Old 08-11-06, 07:30 AM   #2
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KJ, call me, I'm in Houston, involved in cycling advocacy. My office is at 713-513-2168.
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Old 08-11-06, 07:33 AM   #3
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Kids these days arent the same as they used to be. I'm entering my senior year of college, but i can tell that kids 4 years younger then me arent interested in the same sort of stuff and tend to be, well, less athletic in general. It could be a good idea, but it also depends on the amount of interest people show and how many people would actually join.

I've started a Cycling Club at my University. There are about 2,000 students at my University and (including me an my SO) there are maybe 4 of us who consistantly ride, with maybe another 4 who have shown interest and joined the club. The area (PA) isnt exactly bike-friendly, but nor is it unfriendly. People in general dont seem to know how to pass me on the road, even when i am riding in the shoulder. But they also dont seem to care too much - when i go flying past they act like they've seen an alien or something.

So gauge the interest and feasibility - see if anyone would join and go from there.
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Old 08-11-06, 07:45 AM   #4
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I think it sounds like a great idea.
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Old 08-11-06, 07:51 AM   #5
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When is Driver's Education taught in Texas? In NJ, it's 10th grade. I always thought that time would be great for teaching kids about following the rules of the road when cycling.

If there were enough kids who would ride and follow the rules, you'd be able to cover the community awareness and help the kids become better eventual drivers.
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Old 08-11-06, 08:02 AM   #6
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I fully support the idea, but would caution you about one little itty bitty detail that would likely derail such an endevour before it got off the ground: legal liability. I am not sure about how the rules work where you are, but here, the school is responsible for the safety of all students on school related activites, including after school clubs. I think you can see where this is going..... just imagine when, after you do all that youcan to ensure that the kids are informed about what is expected, one of your students proceeds to get themselves whacked in traffic. It can happen, and is not your fault, but you and the school could get in trouble.

To avoid this, is there a local cycling club that you can set up with and work with to achieve the same goals? Kids that are interested in cycling might come to club rides if they hear that a teacher the know and respect is involved, and this way, you and the school are not running a club which could land you in a messy situation.
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Old 08-11-06, 03:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjmillig
As I'm sure most of the folks here are aware, the number of kids riding bikes to school and riding in general is dropping. That's why I'm considering trying to start a bike club for recreation, advocacy, fitness, community service, etc at my high school. I teach at a ninth grade only campus about 200 yards from the main campus in an urban school district in SW Houston. I really want to foocus on community awareness of cyclists, riding safely, etc, with community service work (because that's what the public sees), and regular rides of course. I'd love to take a bunch of these kids to Houston's Alkek Velodrome, which is only about 20 minutes from our school for ataste of track riding.
What are your experiences or thoughts on the subject. Thanks.
Log on to www.sprockids.com. Founder Doug Detwiller has a complete programme, including curriculum-related material (Canada-based) which might help to get such activities accepted. It also includes road safety material.
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Old 08-11-06, 06:09 PM   #8
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This is one of the most positive things I have read for advocacy on these forums. Congrats, kjmillig.

My own experpeice: I was a high school student in the early 70's Back then, the "bike boom" was in full swing. It was true that a lot more kids rode back then, but not to school. Reason: Partially social pressure, but mostly it was fear of theft and vandalism. There were bicycle posts outside the cafeteria, but if you locked even a beater bike there, it would be gone or destroyed when you went to get it. School officials did not respond, even when some well-heeled parents complained.

I was lucky. I had a science teacher who rode to the school on a Raleigh professional. He was truly a dedicated teacher, and he let me and another student keep our ten-speeds in his office. (He was a floating teacher, which is to say didn't have a classroom of his own.) Oh yeah,,, I got a "B" in physics.
Lucky me.

There was talk of a bicycle club forming, and this teacher said he would be the faculty advisor. Alas, it never came to be.

Figures from the LAB: in 1969, approximately 50% of American school kids walked or biked to school. Today fewer than 15% do. What the heck has happened here?

Fact: There used to be a bicycle rack at my old elementary school. In those days, that rack was full of boys and girls "hi-risers" on a school day. Some years ago, the entire front of the building was rebuilt. The bike rack vanished. The road way in front of the building was widened by an entire lane. Reason? You guessed it. It was done to accomodate the SUV's that are now parked in front at the start and close of a school day. What the heck is wrong with this country?

Sorry, didn't mean to rant. Again, you are to be admired for what you want to do.
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Old 08-11-06, 06:42 PM   #9
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A bike club is a great idea. We had a backpacking club in high school but alas, we never got to go backpacking. I forget the reason why, but some kind of legal mumbo jumbo. I ended up doing all my backpacking with my church youth group and with my friends.
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Old 08-11-06, 07:32 PM   #10
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trackhub,
sounds like the school I went to I rode from 1st thru 12th grade in high school we had the same problem with people stealing bikes right off the rack. We tried to get the rack moved to an inside courtyard, we even had the support of the local police. But somewhere along the way someone killed the idea, which killed a lot of the riders to school.
kjmillig...Go For It, kids need something todo today besides sit in front of computer screens and video games. I wish you the best, and let us know how you make out.

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Old 08-11-06, 08:18 PM   #11
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Tried to start one in HS. Couldn't do anything for liablity reasons. Damn lawsuit happy country. And thi9s was a Catholic School.
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Old 08-11-06, 08:36 PM   #12
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I wish I was in your school! I would love it. In my highschool, only two people, a friend of mine and me, rides "racing style" bikes.

Your students are lucky they have a velodrome close to them.
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Old 09-06-06, 07:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjmillig
As I'm sure most of the folks here are aware, the number of kids riding bikes to school and riding in general is dropping. That's why I'm considering trying to start a bike club for recreation, advocacy, fitness, community service, etc at my high school. I teach at a ninth grade only campus about 200 yards from the main campus in an urban school district in SW Houston. I really want to foocus on community awareness of cyclists, riding safely, etc, with community service work (because that's what the public sees), and regular rides of course. I'd love to take a bunch of these kids to Houston's Alkek Velodrome, which is only about 20 minutes from our school for ataste of track riding.
What are your experiences or thoughts on the subject. Thanks.
Well, I finally got approval from campus administration, and have scheduled the first information/organization meeting for next Tuesday. I'm not expecting a huge turnout, but many of the urban school kids I teach are always looking for something new to be involved with. So one never knows. I've gathered materials, made posters and handouts, etc. I'll finalize bylaws with the help of students. I'll have a display at Parent's Night tomorrow evening. I'm also scheduled to attend Bike I and LCI classes so I have more credibility with the school. I'll try to keep you informed on how it goes.
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Old 09-06-06, 08:23 PM   #14
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A wonderful idea. Hopefully you can get it past the potential legal issues and make it work!
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Old 09-06-06, 08:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjmillig
...I'm considering trying to start a bike club... What are your experiences or thoughts on the subject. Thanks.
--- May the gods be with you.
One of the responses to your post was "Kids these days arent the same as they used to be..."
Well, I believe that kids -still- like to resist the establishment. May I suggest that you tap into their natural rebelliousness by introducing the bicycle as a tool of protest against the GIANT oil companies, the GIANT auto makers, and the GIANT military-industrial complex. That should hook 'em.

Good Luck.
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Old 09-06-06, 08:45 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by kjmillig
Well, I finally got approval from campus administration, and have scheduled the first information/organization meeting for next Tuesday. I'm not expecting a huge turnout, but many of the urban school kids I teach are always looking for something new to be involved with. So one never knows. I've gathered materials, made posters and handouts, etc. I'll finalize bylaws with the help of students. I'll have a display at Parent's Night tomorrow evening. I'm also scheduled to attend Bike I and LCI classes so I have more credibility with the school. I'll try to keep you informed on how it goes.

Nice work kjmillig! The younger people learn, the better. Every school I go by around here has at least 20-30 bikes locked up all over the place--fences, trees, poles, so I know there's alot of kids who ride to school. I've thought about starting something similiar here, but the way I travel, I simply don't have the right amount of time that it would require. Anybody else from St. Petersburg/Tampa want to give it a shot?
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Old 09-07-06, 04:21 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjmillig
Well, I finally got approval from campus administration, and have scheduled the first information/organization meeting for next Tuesday. I'm not expecting a huge turnout, but many of the urban school kids I teach are always looking for something new to be involved with. So one never knows. I've gathered materials, made posters and handouts, etc. I'll finalize bylaws with the help of students. I'll have a display at Parent's Night tomorrow evening. I'm also scheduled to attend Bike I and LCI classes so I have more credibility with the school. I'll try to keep you informed on how it goes.
+1 Glad to hear you have gotten the approval.

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Old 09-07-06, 05:16 AM   #18
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I myself once thought about starting something like this back in high school.
All throughout my four years there(97-01), I at least rode every other day.
Although, the bus stop was right down the street, I actually raced it on the 3.5 mile journey from the house to the school.
As far as the club idea went, it looked like membership would be limited to those who parked at the modest bike rack. Either everyone else was afraid of getting winded, getting jacked, or being embarassed.
I also had those that would tell me that once I got a license and a car, I would completely forget about the bike.
Here it is five years after, and I'm the only one still riding.
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Old 09-07-06, 10:20 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 77Univega
---
Well, I believe that kids -still- like to resist the establishment. May I suggest that you tap into their natural rebelliousness by introducing the bicycle as a tool of protest against the GIANT oil companies, the GIANT auto makers, and the GIANT military-industrial complex. That should hook 'em.
I hadn't thought about it like that. Sounds good. "Yeah, you can stick it to the gas companies! Don't buy their overpriced product. You don't have to wait for a license or ask mom to drop you off. You've got two wheels of your own! We'll show them!"
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Old 09-07-06, 10:36 AM   #20
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Well done. Dont forget that the main object should be to have fun, and not everybody has the same idea of what is fun. Improved health and increased safety will be good bi-products. Can you get support from local bike shops - such as broken bikes to fix - if they can experience quality used road bikes and MTBs it would show them what they have been missing with the W*****t clunkers.
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