HDMS Fall 2023
The new school year. First day of school. First semester at HDMS. This year we did something different. We had 2 separate groups. 2 groups of 10. A Monday/Tuesday group & a Thursday/Friday group. The Monday/Tuesday group, known as "The Death Riders" or TDR, had something that I haven't seen in my time in the Major Taylor Program. TDR had 2 kids that had NEVER ridden a bike before. The Thursday/Friday group, known as "Seahawks Themed Bike Club" or STBC, was full of kids that were primed and ready to roll out from the get go. Initially, I had set up one curriculum for both groups but that wasn't going to work. Learning to ride a bike can be very challenging and really annoying. I dont really remember a lot of learning how to ride, or maybe any. But I know that for some it is easy and for others it is next to impossible. I didnt know what really was gonna go down. Normally we ride out. We hit the streets and cruise. Everyday is a new destination and little lesson on the goings on. STBC started up no problem. Immediately taking it to the streets. Teglia's, Pat Baker, Ardmore, Deer Park, & we were just getting started. STBC took some spills, including one where a kid full on fell into a huge patch of goatheads on Wedekind Rd. He prolly had close to 200,000 goatheads stuck to him and his bike. TDR was having a different experience all together. Luckily for me and the kids who didnt know how to ride, everyone was super patient and helpful in the process. I had never taught anyone to ride a bike and was hitting up the net to see any and all pointers. In a discussion at work, our mechanic JJ told me to pop the pedals off and kinda hook the kids up with a strider type situation. I did and it def helped. Also, and I cant really stress this enough, the kids who could ride kept it positive and created a good healthy space for learning. Even when the frustration was almost bringing them to tears, the Death Riders, stuck together. We did a thing where I would take a smaller group out and back on little adventures while the others would be in the parking lot helping the kids who couldnt ride then we would rotate. And we were on our way. Slowly but surely we are making our way around town. Dick Taylor, Sparks Memorial, Reno Bike Project (4th St.) and as we were learning the ropes in the streets our kids in the parking lot were going through it. A teacher at the school described the way a child was so afraid of the bike that they handled it like they were "handling an atomic bomb." We pressed on. Both TDR & STBC were pounding the pavement. At different clips but onward we went. We did a Slow Race. Last one to the finish wins. Quick lock. Lock Pick-up, where one of TDR got so good that they could ride by a coin on the ground and lean down while riding and scoop up the coin and ride off. Very Very impressive stuff. We jumped, we rode, we climbed hills, we bombed hills, we were doing it all and at the same time the 2 kids that have never ridden a bike were cruising around the parking lot. We all went around the block. We were in the streets. Officially. Then I got Jury Duty and missed a class and Andy took TDR as a whole all the way to the skatepark. Like a baby bird leaving the nest, the 2 kids were fully out there. Fisherman's Park 1, Poulakidas, Hills to Hug, Donut Bistro. By the end of the semester the kids who couldnt ride could ride no prob. Everyone in both groups really enjoyed the program and all of them were brainstorming things that we can do in the years to come. TDR rode a total of 485 miles. STBC rode a total of 679 miles. Making a grand total for the semester well over 1 thousand miles. Also, we planned future semesters including and advanced class and a learn to ride a bike class. Which is so sick.