Bike “kindergarten” expands to nearby districts

Kindergarteners at Indian Lake Elementary School in Vicksburg get ready for a ride in 2021. Photo by Paul Selden.

Inspired by the success of the All Kids Bike Kindergarten PE program in Vicksburg schools, neighboring Climax-Scotts and Schoolcraft school districts have received funding from The Vicksburg Foundation to bring the program to their elementary schools as well.

The innovative program includes an eight-lesson curriculum, PE teacher certification, 25 balance bikes with pedal conversion kits, helmets and support for five years from the Strider Education Foundation. The program can be conducted entirely on school grounds or inside a school gymnasium.

“This will especially benefit many of our students and their families who may be struggling during these unusual times,” said Superintendent Doug Newington of the Climax-Scotts district. “It would be great to provide the opportunity for all of our kindergarteners to learn to ride a bike. It will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”

Schoolcraft Superintendent Rick Frens agreed. “All Kids Bike is an incredible way to teach our students a life-long healthy hobby at an early age. Riding a bike is a great way to stay active and enjoy being outside, and our kids need healthy habits more than ever. Bike riding is also a fun family activity.”

Bike Friendly Kalamazoo is acting as the area’s local fund raiser, helping schools apply for grants and raise the money from local supporters. “The program will help our most precious resource learn to ride safely, and give them a fantastic opportunity to exercise, as well,” said Bill Adams, Bike Friendly’s vice president and chair of its fundraising committee.

Vicksburg PE teacher Sawyer Duncan was one of the first to implement the program in Michigan, in 2021. “While riding a bike seems like a skill that everyone learns, that is not always the case. This program teaches students balance, coordination, perseverance, bike riding and safety. As Bike Friendly Kalamazoo’s Education Chair, my goal is to spread this program to area elementary schools so that every student in greater Kalamazoo knows how to ride a bike safely from a young age.”

Vicksburg Superintendent Keevin O’Neill praised the program. “The All Kids Bike program was easy to integrate into our physical education curriculum and is relatively easy to adopt in any school that has a playground, indoor gym, or safe space in a parking lot. Most importantly, the students thoroughly enjoy the program.”

Information about Bike Friendly Kalamazoo’s All Kids Bike Kindergarten PE Program will be updated at The organization is a 501c3 Michigan nonprofit organization whose mission is to help make the greater community even more bicycle friendly.

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