Winnetka kids test their skills at “bike rodeo”
Outside Greeley School on Wednesday, Winnetka Police Cmdr. Marc Hornstein (far right) supervises the Bicycle Rodeo, an event which Stan Grace's (second from right) son, started in 1987, as his Eagle Scout project. | Kimberly Fornek~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 29, 2012 9:31AM
The Boy Scouts of Troop 20 and the Winnetka Police Department teamed up Wednesday for bicycle safety.
The Boy Scouts drew patterns on the playground outside Greeley School that children had to follow to demonstrate they could control their bicycles.
Clara Geraghty, 9, explained her 7-year-old sister Gertie and her mother came to the activity, “so I can ride to school with Gertie.”
Young children are not allowed to ride their bikes to school without an adult, unless they have passed the bicycle riding tests, Clara said. “I passed it before.”
Georgie Geraghty confirmed her daughters Clara and Gertie could now bicycle the half-mile to school on their own.
“They can,” she said, not exactly enthusiastically.
The girls described the tests at the “bicycle rodeo:” “You have to do a figure 8. You have to go around tennis balls. You have to go in a zigzag,” Gertie said.
“And you have to ride as slowly as you can without falling over,” Clara said. “I guess that’s because when you’re around people walking, you have to ride slow, but you have to balance so you don’t tip over.”
The scouts disagreed on which path was harder, the S-track or the figure 8.
The riders “have to go through the S-track without getting out of the track or putting their feet down,” said Scout Jack Scullion, who has been monitoring the rodeo for the past three years.
Lexie Webb, 6, breezed through the route on her pink and white two-wheeler.
“I passed all of it,” Lexie said. “I’m going to do it again.”
She came to Greeley Wednesday afternoon with her grandmother, Joyce Gulden, and 3-year-old brother Cole, to watch the bicycle rodeo.
But Lexie engaged a police officer in conversation, asking to see nearly every piece of equipment he had: “billy club, badge, emergency button, pepper spray . . . we saw it all,” Gulden said. “The officer was really nice. He encouraged her to try the course, so we went home to get the bikes.”
Stan Grace said his son held the first bicycle rodeo in 1987 as his Eagle Scout project.
“It’s to teach kids how much they don’t know about riding their bikes, so they will do a better job,” Grace said.
The police department also registers bicycles at the rodeo.
“That is so important,” said Winnetka Police Cmdr. Marc Hornstein. “If a bike is ever lost or stolen and it gets turned in, we can trace it back to the owner.