With the wind in your face, the neighborhood rushes by as you — an exhilarated 4- or 5-year-old — ride down the sidewalk on your first bike ride.
Imagine having that same experience, but as a family, in a safe, controlled area with other kids and bike instructors on hand to help as you roll along.
Well, the City of Arvada did just that.
In May, the city will unveil a new bicycling training facility that families, schools, and other community organizations can use to teach children and adults cycling safety. Located just west of Yarrow Street and south of 52 Street, users will learn how to safely ride a bike to school, turn corners, to slalom, ride in city traffic, cross railroad tracks, how to effectively stop, and how to maneuver any obstacle they may encounter.
“It’s a really cool project and very innovative,” said Wesley Dismore, traffic engineer and bicycle and pedestrian coordinator with the City of Arvada. “You can practice these lessons in a safe place instead of having to set up cones … It’s a place that’s safer for kids.”
Along with this facility, the city’s Healthy Places Initiative actively works to create healthy programming for kids. Annually, the initiative awards grants to neighborhoods for classes, programs and events that activate a public space such as a park, and center on some sort of sport, health and fitness, or nature aspect.
“We have a park within 10 minutes of every house in Arvada,” said Rose Chavez, Healthy Places coordinator at the city. “So we want to activate those public spaces and encourage residents to make healthy choices.”
These programs are part of the Neighborhood Engagement Program, which grants up to $3,000 to any Arvada resident that seeks to enhance and install his or her healthy options for their neighborhood. The city seeks programs that will be sustainable beyond the one-year grant cycle, such as a running club or soccer program.
The Arvada Bike Training Center will focus on bike safety and is part of the city’s larger vision to enhance biking options in the city. Construction on the $80,000 facility began in late February and is expected to finish with a grand opening ceremony on May 21.
“This is a resource where the community can practice bicycling skills in a safe place,” Dismore said. “Come, use it — and play around.”