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Thanks To Intercity Transit, Thurston County Students Walk N Roll Their Bikes With Ease

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For many kids, having a bike is their first, true taste of freedom. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of racing your friends, riding lazily in the sunshine, or responsibly making your way to and from school. But like any vehicle, bikes require maintenance, user training and some TLC to work their best. Locally, Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll program has been working with students at Olympia’s Avanti High School and Reeves Middle School on bike safety and repair to get everyone ready for the road ahead.

Reeves Middle School’s Hope Bike Shop students tour the Walk N Roll Educational Bike Shop and get more ideas to improve their shop. Photo courtesy: Intercity Transit

Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll Program Expands Bike Education Access

A Puri is a bike educator and Walk N Roll Program Representative for Intercity Transit. They explain that Intercity Transit is helping develop bike shops at these two area schools to provide several key services. “We currently teach basic bike maintenance and safe riding skills,” they say, “and we plan on expanding into teaching repair and refurbishment in the school bike shop classes. This creates more opportunities for students to gain skills for independence, active transportation, and joy.”

Intercity Transit has offered single-session maintenance classes to the community, says Puri, and teaches in-depth mechanics to volunteers at Walk N Roll’s educational bike shop. After-school and summer sessions of Earn-A-Bike classes offer basic maintenance training. Intercity Transit staff also visits community partners through one-time workshops and hopes to increase adult mechanics education over the coming year.

Hope Bike Shop students and staff celebrate a visit to the Walk N Roll Shop. Photo courtesy: Intercity Transit

Bike Education and Training at Reeves Middle School

Reeves Middle School HOPE teacher Luke Duerre is proud of this new opportunity. “We’re excited to be part of it,” he says. “The community support and partnership has been amazing and is something that I could not have anticipated but has blown me away.”

Duerre says that the Intercity Transit partnership came about last year when he was applying for a grant from the Olympia Education Foundation to start their school’s bike shop. “I was tipped off that Intercity Transit has tremendous programming and their own massive shop and might be a good resource and source of ideas,” says Duerre. “I quickly talked to A and we took a tour of their facility and found how eager they were to partner with other bike programs.” 

Since working together, Duerre says that Walk N Roll has been instrumental in helping the school build its shop, learn new skills, and provide encouragement.  “A has been wonderful with our students in building relationships and working with them directly,” he adds. “My favorite element of our partnership is how they funnel kid’s bikes and donations to our shop for our students to refurbish and then they go directly back into the elementary school programming and fleets that Walk N Roll supports.  This has been a huge win.”

Hope Bike Shop student blends up a storm on Walk N Roll’s Bike Blender. Photo courtesy: Intercity Transit

Continued Bicycle Maintenance Training at Avanti High School

On the Avanti side, math and PE teacher Nikki Winkley came up with the idea of a bicycle class for the high school’s students. Partnering with Walk N Roll helps enhance bike safety education, she agrees, and Avanti is actively involved in developing similar programs and partnerships. They currently offer training twice a year, Bike 101 in the fall and advanced coursework in the spring.  Walk N Roll provides refurbished bikes, curriculum, and additional staffing for these classes.

“The bicycle education and repair classes cover traffic rules related to pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles,” Winkley explains. “Students learn routine bicycle maintenance, gain experience riding bicycles and learn how to safely cross intersections on foot. The program also involves refurbishing bikes for kids, an Earn-A-Bike course and internships which provide practical skills and potential job opportunities. We have plans to open the bike shop to the South Sound community, providing weekend classes.” Avanti students create a bike project to present at the end of the session during School Exhibition Night. Winkley appreciates their program’s goal of “providing students with valuable skills and potential job opportunities and extending bicycle safety education to the broader community.”

people in yellow safety vests with bikes in a circle around the instructor
‘Fix a Flat’ class held outdoors at Avanti High School. Photo courtesy: Intercity Transit

Walk, Roll, Email or Call to Share this Important Information with your youth organization or school

Want to add this program to your curriculum? No problem says Puri. “If another organization would like to meet with us to get this set up in their learning community they should,” they say.  To learn more about Walk N Roll overall, call 360.705.5855 or email walknroll@intercitytransit.com. A Puri is always on hand to answer questions and Winkley is happy to join the conversation as well. Email nwinkley@osd.wednet.edu for details of their work so far.

Then, no matter how old you are, head outside, dust off that bike, and go for a ride. It’s simultaneously transportation, exercise and fun, and being unplugged for a bit feels awfully nice. Rain or shine, around town or just around the block, your body, mind, and spirit will thank you for it.

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