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Bike Rodeo Events

Activities for Kids to Develop Riding Skills, Bike Handling Ability

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Boy on a bike throwing a newspaper at a clothes basket.

Playing newspaper boy is a lot of fun.

(c) Doug Schaeffler

Below are ten different events and activities you can use as part of a bike rodeo. Each of these can be a particular station that each kid must complete in order to successfully "pass" the bike rodeo and be eligible for any prizes that you might choose to offer.

In general, each station is worth ten points, and points are awarded or deducted for performance of each. Keep track of each kid's score and tally them at the end if you wish to award prizes to the top performers. Note that most of these events can be scaled up or down to fit the space you have available.

  1. Safety Check

    Check that each kid's bike is road-worthy by inspecting tires, brakes, handlebars and chain. Here is a detailed guide of what to look for.

  2. Helmet Inspection

    Each kid's helmet should fit snugly, and come mid-way down the forehead. Check to be sure that the chin strap is tight enough and that it fastens properly, and that there are no cracks in the inner shell or outer helmet.

  3. Zig-Zag Course

    Create a course using chalk, tape or paint to create a zig-zag path between 30 and 50 feet long with four or five 90-degree turns along the way. The edges should be about three feet apart. Deduct 1 point each time a kid's wheel touches a side.

  4. Slow Race

    Lay out a course that is either a long straight line or a loop that brings riders back to the start. Two riders at a time should compete, pairing kids of approximate same age and riding ability. The object of this event is to be last, i.e., ride slowest.

    Ten points are awarded for the "winner" (slowest rider) with a deduction of one point for each time a foot touches the ground. Give the second place person six points, with the same one-point deduction for each time he or she touches the ground.

    This develops balance and bike handling ability.

  5. Figure Eight

    Lay out a fairly tight figure eight path i.e., two thirty-foot circles that barely touch each other. Add additional markings so that the path this figure eight creates is two feet wide.

    Have each kid ride the figure eight three times as slow or fast as they want. Deduct 1 point each time a kid's wheel touches a side.

  6. Stop on a Dime

    Create a single straight line, about twenty five feet long. One end is the start, the other end is the finish line, which you should mark clearly with a bold line, along with additional shorter markings every four inches a total of two feet in front of and behind it.

    Have the kids begin at the start line, and ride toward the finish, aiming to stop pedaling and apply their brakes so that their front wheel ends up squarely on the main finish line. Deduct one point for each four inch marking that the rider stops in front of or behind the target finish line.

  7. Long Roll

    Find a spot that is either flat or goes slightly uphill. Create a start line and a mid line about 25 feet past that.

    Direct your kids to start pedaling at the first line and pedal like mad until they reach the next point, where they must begin coasting. The object of this event is to roll as far as they can, scoring more points the farther they go before touching the ground.

    Give eack kid a minimum of five points, and then add an additional point for each distance mark they hit beyond a certain point. You will probably need to have kids do a couple of test runs to get a sense of how far your kids can roll before you draw your lines showing scoring for distance achieved.

  8. Spiral

    Draw two-foot wide path that goes in a spiral around a large (five-foot diameter) circle. Have each kid ride the spiral from outside in as slow or fast as they want. Deduct 1 point each time a kid's wheel touches a side.

  9. Paper Boy

    This is a fun event that allows kids to play at being a newspaper delivery boy. You should include it if at all possible in your bike rodeo as it is always a real hit.

    For this you'll need is five to ten targets (clothes baskets, large tubs, trash cans, etc.) and an equal number of rolled newspapers, plus a bag that can be slung over a shoulder to hold the papers.

    Lay the targets out one after another in a course, and have the kids ride the "route" trying to throw a newspaper from the bike in each target. You can award points based on successful deliveries, i.e., putting the newspaper on target. Naturally, you should feel free to modify the rules, awarding more points for difficult targets, etc., whatever you need to do to make it fit your particular situation.

  10. Balance Beam

    Draw one main line about 30 to 50 feet long, with two smaller lines approximately three inches on either side of it. This will give you a path six inches wide that your riders should follow.

    Have each kid ride the course, following the center line from one end to the other as slow or fast as they want. Deduct 1 point each time a kid's wheel touches a side.

The key to this is to be flexible, knowing that everyone of these events can be modified to fit your setting and the age and ability of your kids. Regardless of how you finally end up structuring it, you can be sure that your kids will have a great time and learn lots about bike riding, honing their abilities in the process.
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