Free clinics, new equipment to help kids learn to ride a bike available at Tidelands HealthPoint Center for Health and Fitness
Kids will have a unique and fun way to learn how to ride a bike through a new program at Tidelands HealthPoint Center for Health and Fitness.
The Pawleys Island fitness center has received a $2,500 grant from the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation to buy balance bikes and launch a program to help teach kids the basic techniques of riding a bicycle.
The 16 balance bikes, in a range of sizes to accommodate various ages, will help children learn how to balance without pedals. On a balance bike, kids propel themselves by using their feet to push along the ground. This helps teach young kids how to independently balance on a bike, gives them a sense of control, builds confidence and develops spatial awareness and other skills.
In addition to purchasing the balance bikes, Tidelands HealthPoint will hold free bike clinics to help children learn to ride and improve their bike-riding skills.
The first free clinic is set for 3 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at Tidelands HealthPoint, 12965 Ocean Highway in Pawleys Island. Ages 5-12 can learn using the balance bikes, and any child can bring his or her own bike to navigate through a skills course that will be set up in the parking lot. Participants will learn safety skills such as giving hand signals and correctly using a helmet, as well as basic bike maintenance such as pumping tires. Advance registration is required by calling 843-237-2205, ext. 0.
“Riding a bike is like a rite of passage for many children,” said Kim Vanlandingham, manager of Tidelands HealthPoint. “Our team wants to help children develop and improve their skills so they can stay active riding their bikes. This program will help lay the foundation for children to develop bike-riding skills early in life, which we hope plants a seed to continue being active by riding a bike as they get older.”
At Tidelands HealthPoint’s popular summer camps, leaders noticed that some school-aged campers had not yet developed their bike-riding skills because of a lack of access to equipment or a safe place to practice. Many campers – through supervised access to the pool at Tidelands HealthPoint – learn basic swimming skills. Leaders decided to do the same thing with learning how to ride a bike: give kids the access and instruction they need to develop this life-long skill.
In addition to offering the balance bikes to summer campers and year-round members, Tidelands HealthPoint will continue to sponsor free clinics for kids in the community.
“After developing their basic skills through our program, we hope kids will confidently ride their bikes with their parents through their neighborhoods or conquer the many active bike paths available in our area,” Vanlandingham said. “Riding a bike is a great way for children – and adults – to stay active and healthy. We hope this will help lead to a family fitness activity that is not only fun but also good for overall health.”