Getting Schoolkids Back on Bikes

There's been much discussion of late about getting children out of their parents' cars in the morning and onto their feet. Or wheels. We all know about the rising incidence of obesity among children, and one way to combat Xbox and junk food is to have them commute under their own power--be it foot or pedal. Out in the suburbs beyond Seattle, where not all new housing developments have sidewalks, parents are naturally concerned about their kids' safety when biking on the street. Here in town, parental anxiety would rise even higher at the thought of children braving rush-hour traffic. But as Seattle tries to get more people, kids included, out of their cars, here's an interesting new program that specifically targets minority youth.

Fundraising is now underway for the Major Taylor Project, which only sounds like a military operation. Named for the pioneering African-American bike racer Marshall W. "Major" Taylor (1878-1932), this new outreach program is sponsored by Cascade Bicycle Club and King County. With some donated bicycles and volunteer instruction, the project will establish three bike clubs in the south end: at the Global Connections High School (SeaTac), at the YES Foundation (White Center), and at Bike Works (Columbia City). Mountain biking, track racing, cyclocross, maintenance, and road riding skills will be taught to kids ages 13-17 in small (groups of 15) adult-supervised classes. Parents and potential donors alike can see the link above for more information. And, yes, the kids have to wear helmets.

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