Learning to ride a bike is an essential skill that we often take for granted. It serves as a rite of passage for many children, marking a transition from being dependent on others to having autonomy and independence. Bike riding is also a fun and beneficial activity that can improve physical and mental health, develop skills, promote socialization, and support the environment.
Physical health: One of the most significant advantages of learning to ride a bike is the opportunity to exercise and promote health benefits. It improves aerobics fitness by strengthening the heart, lungs, and muscles; while also helping to develop important skills such as balance, coordination, and spatial awareness. Exercise from biking regularly can also help prevent obesity and related health issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Mental health & skills development: Riding a bike can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and boost self-confidence. It is an accomplishment that requires persistence, practice, and patience. The sense of achievement that comes from mastering a new skill can carry over into other areas of life by helping to build self-esteem, resilience, and a can-do attitude.
Promote socialization: Biking can also be a great social activity that connects families and encourages bonding and quality time. It also provides an opportunity to interact with peers and foster and develop friendships.
Environmental and economic benefits: Another advantage of learning to ride a bike is its practical benefits. Bikes are an eco-friendly mode of transportation that promotes sustainability and reduced pollution. They can be used to commute to work or school, run errands, and explore new places. Biking can also save money on gas and parking fees and be faster than driving in congested areas.
Tillamook County Wellness Bike Rodeo
The benefits of biking extend far beyond childhood, and it is a skill that should be encouraged and cultivated throughout one’s life. That is why Tillamook County Wellness has joined the all kids bike movement and is hosting a free bike rodeo event at the Tillamook YMCA during Healthy Kids Day on April 29th from 10am-noon. A bike rodeo is an event that teaches children bike safety and provides a fun and interactive experience to practice bike handling skills. Activities include bike inspections, helmet fittings, obstacle courses, safety demonstrations, and prize drawings for participating. This event can help increase confidence and comfort when riding a bike, reducing the risk of bike-related injuries and accidents. It is geared towards children K-8th grade, and bicycles will be available or can be brought from home. There will also be a bike tune-up booth for families to bring bikes that need minor fixes such as brake alignment or a new chain.
Tillamook County Wellness is partnering with WashCo Bikes to lead the bike rodeo and also provide free refurbished bicycles to children and adults in need through the Adopt-a-Bike program. There are no specific eligibility requirements or age restrictions; however, this program is intended to provide a free bicycle to those who may not be able to acquire one otherwise. To apply for a bike, an Adopt-a-Bike application (see spanish application here) must be completed before Thursday, April 27th, 2023. WashCo Bike’s goal is to donate 5,000 bikes to kids and families in 2023 and is also currently accepting bicycle and money donations to continue to support this effort. If you feel inspired to help, go to their website and scroll down to Donate Now.
Efforts to improve biking trails and outdoor physical activity
Some great efforts are underway in the region to expand biking access to the Tillamook County community. The coastal segment of the Salmonberry Trail project aims to connect communities from Mohler to Tillamook via a bike path. This would provide an alternative means of transportation for community members to commute to work, access stores, visit neighboring towns, and a way for kids to safely bike to school. The Tillamook Off Road Trail Alliance (TORTA), a volunteer-based non-profit organization that builds, maintains, and advocates for off-road bike trails, has been supporting the Nestucca Valley School District in building a bike skills course and bike trails. They are also developing a bike trail system called the Buzzard Butte Trail Network, encompassing over 30 miles of trails on the east side of Sand Lake between Cape Kiwanda and Cape Lookout in the USDA Siuslaw National Forest. Information about these projects and other outdoor opportunities and events happening at our national and state parks will be available at the bike rodeo. If you are interested in supporting any of these efforts, please check out the organization and project websites for opportunities to contribute, including donations.
Tillamook County Wellness would like to send a special thank you to the Tillamook Kiwanis Club, whose generous donations are sponsoring this bike rodeo, as well as future events in the county. For questions and inquiries about this bike rodeo event and future efforts by Tillamook County Wellness to inspire and promote biking in the county, please contact Mari Tasche at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other wellness questions? Email us at email@example.com. For more local health and wellness information, visit www.tillamookcountywellness.org or follow Tillamook County Wellness on Facebook and Instagram.