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Fort Drum children practice bicycle safety while having fun Aug. 26 during a Bike Rodeo at the Magrath Sports Complex parking lot. The event was hosted by Fort Drum Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, with the American Red Cross as event sponsor. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)


Children at Fort Drum have fun, learn proper riding skills at FMWR Bike Rodeo


Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs


FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Aug. 26, 2020) – It was a perfect summer day for bike safety, and dozens of Fort Drum children attended the Bike Rodeo on Aug. 26 to learn riding techniques and the rules of the road.

The event was hosted by Fort Drum Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and sponsored by the American Red Cross.

“This is all about the kids learning bike safety, without them realizing that they are learning because we made it fun,” said Michelle Winter, FMWR Marketing director. “They’re having fun riding bikes but the course itself is educational.”

Taking advantage of the large parking lot near Magrath Sports Complex, the Bike Rodeo featured stations such as bike and helmet check, hand signals, starts and stops, and maneuvering.

“They’re also learning how to control their steering and proper pedaling,” Winter said. “We even show them how to check tire pressure using a pump.”

In accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines on post, all participants wore face masks and children were rotated between stations to maintain physical distancing. Families registered for half-hour time slots throughout the day to avoid large gatherings.

“Given the situation that we’re in, we wanted to provide families a fun, safe outdoor activity for them to enjoy,” Winter said. “It’s also a great life skill for our children.”

Representatives from the Fort Drum Garrison Safety Office and the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) also assisted on the course.

“This is a good introduction to bike riding, and it’s important to teach children at a young age how to ride safely,” said John Drozd, Fort Drum safety and occupational health specialist. “There’s a lot of little ones out here, so I’m happy to see they are getting to learn all the right things to do.”

Children received a certificate of completion and some goodies to take home after finishing the course. One participant earned a new set of safety bike lights for having the best-decorated bicycle.

“This is really the first outdoor, special event that we’ve had this summer during COVID-19, so we were very excited to have everyone here and see the kids have a blast,” Winter said.