Parent volunteers Mike Levesque (left) and Etienne Tremblay help Grade 1 student Reese Sieben during an after-school bike club that has been operating at École Parc Élémentaire in Fort Saskatchewan this year.
Students at École Parc Élémentaire in Fort Saskatchewan are getting a crash course in all things cycling thanks to a new after-school program hosted by parent volunteers. From now until the end of the school year, close to 40 students in the school’s Bike Club will be meeting once a week after school to improve their cycling skills and learn how to stay safe as they bike around the city.
“This is my first time in a bike club, and so far it’s awesome,” says Grade 4 student Kai Levesque.
“I joined the group because I love going for bike rides and riding to my friends’ houses, but I’m having so much fun learning to ride on the obstacle courses as well.”
The club is open to students from kindergarten to Grade 6, and meets every Tuesday after school. Safety is the primary focus, but parent volunteers also want to help students of all ages develop the skills and confidence they’ll need to become avid cyclists.
“Most of the students who attend already enjoy being on their bikes, but the bike club will reinforce why biking is fun and how to be safe,” says Jake Derksen, the parent coach of the club.
“We’re lucky in Fort Saskatchewan to have access to so many paved trails as well as over 25 kilometres of mountain bike trails. By the time our club wraps up for the year, we want our youngest riders to become more confident and adventurous on their bikes and our older riders to be responsible, conscientious cyclists.”
When students graduate from the course at the end of the year, there will be a special bike rodeo celebration, where they will traverse obstacle courses and show their parents how far their skills have come.
“On the surface, our students are learning to become better cyclists,” says principal Dan Verhoeff. “But at the same time, we’re showing them the importance of healthy living and exercise, the joy of spending time together outdoors and encouraging them to get out and explore their community.” ❚
Robert Michon is a communications and public engagement assistant for Elk Island Public Schools.