Over 100 4th graders successfully rode from Spirit Lake Elementary on a 9.25 mile ride on the trail along the west side of West Lake Okoboji. Most of the kids had never ridden these trails, nor had they ever ridden their bikes that distance.
The event was called the 4th Grade BRAWL (Bike Ride Along West Lake) and was used by the PE teacher, Tim O’Hagan, as an opportunity to expose kids to a part of the community they might not have known about, ride trails many of them had never seen before, and to teach them that sometimes they really can do things they think seem too hard at first. Spirit Lake is a Blue Zone community and this is another way we’re working to get kids excited about being outside and active.
As you can well understand, this took a whole lot of help to pull off.
Earlier in May our Spirit Lake Kiwanis Club sponsored an afternoon bike rodeo for the kids. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition was also involved in that endeavor. At that time they outfit any student who needed a helmet, and provided bikes for a handful of students who did not have one, or had one that was not a proper fit for them.
Transportation of gear to the start and from the finish was donated by Dave Kuker Trucking of Spirit Lake. All in all, they had about 140 bikes (kids, teachers, staff, parents) to get to the start!
Water and snack break were at the halfway point, which was at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory (run by the Regents). Lunch was served at the finish point, which was at a Milford church.
It took most of the kids just over an hour of ride time to make the 9 miles, not bad—considering about half of them were on single speed bikes. This was the first go at this event. Were some things learned that they could do better? Sure. Will they do it again? They believe so! It was a blast.
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