Horns honked and bells rang as eight children on bicycles rode in a parade from Patriots’ Casa to the Central Academic Building at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
The University Police Department hosted Bike Rodeo, a safety and handling training program for children ages 6 to 12 June 23.
The participants were children, grandchildren and friends of A&M-San Antonio staff.
“We don’t get to do this kind of event throughout the year,” Officer Karen Tucker said. “We wanted to offer something to the campus community children.”
The young cyclists colored and watched “Bluey” during the first part of the program while officers inspected everyone’s bike gear and made sure participants were hydrated.
The ball really got rolling when the Bike Rodeo parade started.
Sgt. Roderick Lewis was met with a chorus of children squealing “Yes!” when he asked them if they were excited to go on a “fun little ride.”
Lewis is a university police officer at Trinity University, whose police department partnered with A&M-San Antonio’s for the rodeo.
Four officers on bicycles and one patrol vehicle escorted the cyclists as they wheeled through their trail. Some university staff came out of their offices to cheer the children on.
Cpl. Juliana Torres, another Trinity officer who volunteered for the bike ride, led the parade of helmeted kids on her own bicycle.
“I love to volunteer,” Torres said.
Analyssa Gonzales,7, headed the parade of children. Her dad, Valdemar Gonzalez, cheered her on, and he said that he took Analyssa to the Bike Rodeo because her “nana” works at the university.
Following the bike parade, participants took a Bike Rodeo Safety Course, where they learned that bicycle riders should be able to touch the ground with both feet when mounting a bicycle. They also learned why it’s important to always wear a helmet when riding.
“It protects your head,” Analyssa said after raising her hand to answer the question of why wearing helmets is essential.
After completing the safety course, the kids took on four different obstacle courses on their bicycles: a straight line test, a single obstacle test, a balance training test and a circle steering test.
The rodeo ended with more bicycle fun and little gold trophies for all participants.