A number of community organizations and businesses are coming together under the umbrella of Wilton Youth Council’s Free Play Matters Task Force to host a family bicycle rodeo. Adults and children of all ages are invited to participate in a drop-in course, where they will learn the skills to ride safely. Anyone aged 12-and-up may also participate in a guided road ride.

“It is the YMCA’s goal to empower and encourage children to live healthy and active lifestyles while also building an understanding of how they can take actions to be safe. This event promotes the concept that skill translates into safety, and that being safe is both smart and cool,” says organizer Mary Ann Genuario of the Riverbrook Regional/Wilton Family YMCA. “This event represents a true partnership among the community and a dedication by local businesses and agencies to the children within our community, and we are glad to play a part in it.”

The course and road ride are being organized by the Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club. Volunteer Nancy Rosett says, “The aim of Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club is to offer well-organized rides, promote a general interest in cycling, provide a cycling-related social forum and encourage safe bicycling. We are pleased to participate in the Wilton Bicycle Rodeo to help teach children how to ride safely. Our hope is that many of the participants will develop a lifetime interest in safe cycling.”

Representatives of Outdoor Sports Center and Cannondale, a maker of bicycles based in Wilton, will be on hand to offer bike safety checks. After having their bikes inspected, participants will be guided through the rodeo course, where they will learn and practice skills such as hand signaling, turning in a limited space, and maneuvering through obstacles.

The aim of the task force is to inspire and educate the community about the critical importance of free play to children’s development, and to facilitate the creation of more opportunities for children to have appropriate independent experiences.

Jennifer Bradshaw, an environmental educator at Woodcock Nature Center, is an active member of the Free Play Matters Task Force. She says Woodcock Nature Center is very happy to participate in the Wilton Bicycle Rodeo. “Our goal has always been to get children back outside in nature. Learning to safely ride their bikes allows them to enjoy the outdoors and the fresh air while confidently maneuvering the path ahead.”

The Bicycle Rodeo will be held in the parking lot of Miller-Driscoll School on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (with a rain-date of Sunday, April 7). Participants of all ages are welcome. Drop in any time between 10-11 a.m.; the course closes at noon. The guided road ride for ages 12-and-up departs at 10:30 a.m., but please arrive at 10 a.m. to allow time for the safety check.

Registration is recommended online. A signed waiver is required for each participant riding the course (adults and children). Save time at arrival and complete the waiver in advance online.

This event is sponsored by Cannondale, Miller-Driscoll School, Outdoor Sports Center, Riverbrook YMCA, Sound Cyclists, Wilton Police Department, Wilton Youth Services, Woodcock Nature Center and Wilton Youth Council’s Free Play Matters Task Force.

Contact Genevieve Eason of Wilton Youth Council via email with any questions.

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