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Chelsea Heineck, 11, and Anna Watson, 11, stood next to their bicycles on a sunny morning, Tuesday, April 24.  Heineck and Watson weren?t skipping school to ride their bikes — biking was part of the day?s lesson plan.

By Trista Steers
Larson Newspapers
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Chelsea Heineck, 11, and Anna Watson, 11, stood next to their bicycles on a sunny morning, Tuesday, April 24.

Heineck and Watson weren?t skipping school to ride their bikes — biking was part of the day?s lesson plan.

Sedona Fire District firefighters taught them proper biking technique, safety and bike mechanics and checked their equipment at SFD?s annual Bike Rodeo at Big Park Community School.

?We like riding bikes,? Watson said.

?I just like the wind in my face,? Heineck added. Heineck pretends she?s driving.

Watson said riding her bicycle builds muscle and is fun.

While riding bicycles, Watson and Heineck are safe — they wear helmets.

?A helmet only takes a few seconds to put on,? Heineck said.

And, Watson said, she doesn?t even notice she?s wearing it.

SFD gave helmets to kids who needed them.

Watson and Heineck, along with more than 300 other BPCS students, participated in activities all morning Tuesday.

Safety was the theme for the event.

?It teaches all the kids the basic fundamentals of safety at a young age,? SFD Public Educator Sean Chartier said. ?If we can get them in that safety mindset at a young age, hopefully it will continue into adulthood.?

Teaching a young child to wear a helmet while biking could eventually transfer over to wearing a seat belt while driving, Chartier said.

Yavapai County Sheriff?s Office issued biking licenses to students, complete with photos and fingerprints. Bike mechanics from Bike & Bean and Absolute Bikes, both in the Village of Oak Creek, checked bikes for problems, and firefighters taught students how to safely maneuver through obstacles.

Mounting, dismounting, straight-line control, weaving, short-radius turning and braking were a few skills students practiced.

At each station, a volunteer checked a box on a student?s participation card. Cards with all boxes checked went into a drawing for four new bicycles.

Financial and volunteer support from many businesses and agencies — including Farmers Insurance Agent Nash Chartier, Bike & Bean, Absolute Bikes, Yavapai College Firefighter Academy, Yavapai County Sheriff?s Office, Sedona-Verde Valley Firefighters Association, BPCS Student Council and Verde Valley Medical Center Emergency Nurses Association — helped SFD make the rodeo possible.

Each year, SFD organizes a rodeo alternating between the two elementary schools in the district. Next year, the rodeo will be at West Sedona School.


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