St John The Baptist First Bike Week A Success

By Seamus Whelehan

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School children, their parents and teachers from St John the Baptist National School swapped horse power for pedal power as they took part in national bike week 2017.
From Monday 12 to Friday 16 June parents and pupils joined school staff as they discovered the benefits of aerobic exercise on the school run.
It was an opportunity to kick start active travel habits for the school journey and reinforce the good work already being carried out in school.
The national campaign was led by Cycle Ireland through their Sproket Rocket programme.
Sproket Rocket instructor, St John the Baptist caretaker, Phil Cunningham put the children through their paces.
Mr Cunningham said “they just loved this week.” “A few parents have said we can have bike week every week”
“We had a whole assault course they had to manoeuvre around, broken trees, the lollipop lady was out stopping traffic. They had to stop at junctions.”
While biking to school can help children get their recommended hour of daily physical activity to help maintain a healthy weight, school Principal Elma Huggard says there are no safe bike lanes for her pupils to use.
“For the kids to cycle from Broomfield down, the footpath wasn’t safe on the bridge for them.”
“Most children left their bikes in school for the week, with others cycling with their parents.”
Throughout the week the student body took part in activities including planning a safe route to school, basic bike maintenance and learning about the positive health effects of exercise.
Aidan Crowley an Irish Racing Masters Champion from Midleton spoke of his love of cycling.
Aidan was Irish champion at under 10 and repeated the win three decades later under 40.
The Gardaí gave instruction on road safety and a bicycle engineer from an Rothar gave a talk on bike maintenance.
“We had over 200 bikes in the school all week. The children have been out every day learning how to cycle. Kids had been getting the stabilisers taken off their bikes after having them for years. They’ve learned how to ride within a day or two” commented principal Huggard.
“End of year is usually crazy, this week was absolutely crazy. The children are all out cycling in the evenings” She said.

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