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Middle School Bike Skills

Did you know that almost 50% of Palo Alto middle school students bike to school? Our bicycle-friendly community, flat terrain and near-perfect climate are just a few reasons Palo Alto offers wonderful riding opportunities to cyclists of all ages and abilities. To ensure students acquire the bike handling skills needed to safely navigate the roadways, Wheel Kids Bicycle Club, Inc. has teamed up with the City of Palo Alto’s Safe Routes to School Program to offer a Middle School Bike Skills Class.

Although this is not a ‘learn how to ride a bike class’, this course WILL help you gain the skills and confidence to safely ride your bike to school and beyond. The course is taught by a cycling instructor certified by the League of American Bicyclists. Everyone must bring a HELMET and a WELL OPERATING BIKE that is safe to ride. Each student must have one parent/guardian attend to observe and participate in the entire class.

The class runs from 8:30am – 1pm, is open to children between the ages of 11 – 14 and is primarily held on Saturday mornings, with one Sunday morning class. The course begins with classroom-style discussion, then moves to skills practice on a protected black-top area, then finishes with a bike ride around the neighborhood, putting those newly learned skills to practice.

The class covers:

  • basic traffic laws
  • basic bike & helmet fitting
  • the most common types of bike crashes and how to avoid them
  • how to position yourself on the road
  • how to let drivers know your intentions and proper hand signals
  • busy intersections

Typical Daily Schedule:
8:00 – 8:30:  Arrival and check-in, on Saturdays grab a cup of joe at Ada’s Cafe
8:30 –  Class starts!
8:30 – 9:30:  Classroom discussion
9:30 – 9:45:  Learn ABC quick check, get ready to ride bikes
9:45 – 10:00:  Break
10:00 – 10:45: Blacktop skills – hand signals, power starts, how to stop
10:45 – 12:30:  On street ride – practicing recently learned skills
12:30 – 1:00  Debrief, Q&A time

Class Schedule, Cost, Location:
Saturday classes:
June 17, 24; July 15, 29; Aug 5
Sunday class: July 9
Cost*: $80/student (accompanying parent included)
Age: 11 – 14 yr olds
Location:  Mitchell Park Community Center, North Adobe Room (see map below)

*Youth (ages 17 & under) may be eligible for the Fee Reduction Program, which offers a 25% or 50% discount with a $300 subsidy cap per eligible person based on household income.
For details, visit: City of Palo Fee Reduction Program or call 650-463-4900

Equipment

Both parent and student MUST bring the following items with them to class:
– Each student and corresponding parent/guardian MUST have a fully functioning bike and properly fitting helmet to participate in this class – we are all going to ride!
(Note: a fully function bike means: properly inflated tires (recently checked), working brakes
– A healthy snack for child and parent – we will have 2 snack breaks to refuel!
– A full water bottle – you get thirsty riding around in the sun
– Sunglasses if you would like
– Sunscreen applied prior to arrival at class

If you would like a customized bicycle route from your home to the Mitchell Park Community Center class location, please email: saferoutes@cityofpaloalto.org

Transfers

Changing to a class after you’ve registered is possible if space is available. Changing to a class that’s full will result in your name being placed on the waitlist in the order it was received – if space does not open in this case, no refund or credit will be provided.

Refunds

A written request (email is sufficient) must be received two or more weeks prior to the registered class session for a full refund. A 10% administrative fee will be deducted from any refund regardless of the timing of receipt of the request. If written request is received less than two weeks prior to the registered session, no refund will be made. Full or partial refunds will not be granted for absences, dismissal or voluntary withdrawal from the class for changes to the class or class schedule deemed necessary by Wheel Kids staff.

In case of weather-related cancellation by Wheel Kids, or in case of insufficient enrollment, a full refund or credit will be provided.

If for some reason you need to cancel, please email: msbs@wheelkids.com and include the following information:

  • Date of class
  • Name of parent and student registered for class

Questions

Have questions about Middle School Bike Skills?
Contact: Wheel Kids at: msbs@wheelkids.com or Safe Routes to School staff at: saferoutes@cityofpaloalto.org