Community Health

Funding level: Up to $50,000

Description

The idea behind Kids on Wheels is to empower children to start riding balance bikes (bikes without pedals) as young as possible and to spark a lifelong love of cycling. The program started in 2015 by running week long sessions in daycares in Vancouver. Through the use of balance bikes and engaging classroom activities children were exposed to the joys of cycling and an active, outdoor lifestyle at the earliest possible age.

Cycling is an essential life skill that provides opportunities for children to be physically active, experience the outdoors hands on, and can be easily integrated into daily life by riding to school, riding with friends and as a family activity. Kids on Wheels is unique since our participants are so young (2 to 6 years old) that the outcomes of the program will be carried by them for the rest of their lives, from childhood onwards.
The idea we are seeking this grant for is to expand beyond the daycares and to open the experience to all children! We want to establish Kids on Wheels Zones where kids can come with their parents and ride our balance bikes in a secure, fun, and interactive space.

We plan to target ten main events in metro Vancouver that attract families with young children, such as two or three Car Free Day events, Ride Don’t Hide, MEC Bikefest, the Vancouver Bike Show, the Mural Festival and other street festivals. All the events we will target must focus on one of the following: sustainable lifestyle, outdoor activity, active transportation and awareness of physical and mental well-being.
Our plan to participate in public outreach events goes hand in hand with our mission and belief in getting more people outdoors, and introducing the joy of cycling to the youngest members of our society. This aspect of the program grew and was built upon our experiences as well as the need to have those kinds of activities at events around Vancouver. Since our program runs in daycares only during weekdays, and events are usually on weekends it will allow us to take maximum advantage of our gear, and allow many more children the opportunity to try out balance bikes.

We believe that even a short interaction with the bicycles will light a spark in the children’s eyes and will encourage the parents to continue in this direction. We currently have 22 balance bikes of different sizes, brands and materials, as well as 20 helmets. The advantage of having a wide variety of bikes is that children will be able to try out different bikes and see which is most comfortable for them.
The Kids on Wheels Zones would be staffed mostly with volunteers, in addition to one instructor and the coordinator who will be in charge of the overall coordination of the events. They will have opportunities to engage the children with their enthusiasm about cycling as well as to provide information to the parents about balance bikes and their advantages.

Similar to our setup in the daycares we will have a few signs such as stop signs, a crosswalk, and traffic cones to make it a fun interactive activity. With the help of our staff and volunteers we will give each child the balance bike that we think would fit them best, however, children will be free to choose and try a few bikes.

The Kids on Wheels Zone also encourages social interactions between the kids and they learn to ride together and follow the rules of the road. Children who might be intimidated by riding usually get excited when they see other children riding. There is just something about seeing other children riding excitedly that attracts more children to ride. While many families attend events like Car Free Day, there is a lack of activities for young children in those events. Through our Kids on Wheels Zones we’ll bring back to life the thing that is missing from our streets today - children riding their bicycles freely!

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VANCOUVER, BC
VANCOUVER, BC

The British Columbia Cycling Coalition (BCCC)

Location: Vancouver