KALKASKA — When Pastor Bryan McInerney first heard of bicycle rodeos in 2006, he knew that the event would be a good fit for the Kalkaska community as well. The following year, his church held the inaugural rodeo and nine years later, the Kalkaska Bicycle Rodeo is still going strong.
Scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 13, the ninth annual Bicycle Rodeo offers youth the opportunity to receive some minor bicycle repairs, learn some important road safety techniques and enjoy a free afternoon of snacks and activities with fellow cyclists.
As the pastor of the Kalkaska Church of the Nazerene, McInerney said his role in organizing the event is fueled by his passion for the community and service through Jesus Christ.
“We care about people, we care about children and we care about the community,” he said. “Any way we can help our community, we look at that as a way to exercise that care and our faith through Jesus Christ.”
Hosted in the Kaliseum parking lot on Fairground Road, participants ages 4-12 can register for the event on-site and immediately begin the course. The first stop — the bicycle tune-up station — allows for minor repairs like seat adjustments, tire pressure checks and other quick-fixes to ensure the rider is ready to begin.
Those who register are also automatically entered into a grand prize drawing for a brand new men’s or women’s bicycle. Upon completion, each rider is awarded a goodie bag regardless of the outcome of the drawing.
After registration, bicyclists can cycle through six safety stations with an emphasis on maneuvering, stopping, crossing intersections, signaling, performing figure eights and driveway turnouts. The Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Department and local fire departments will be on-hand to provide assistance.
“They fingerprint the children and get them and their bicycles into the system,” McInerney said. “Since they’ve started doing this, a whole bunch of lost or stolen bicycles have been able to be returned to their owners.”
Free bicycle helmets will be available for children, hotdogs and snacks will be provided at no cost and police K-9 teams will be offering demonstrations. “Eddie Eagle” is also scheduled to make an appearance at the event.
“We’ve had tremendous feedback,” McInerney said. “The community is so appreciative for providing this service. Many families have continued to come back; I’ve watched riders start out as little kids and grow over the years.
Source: The Leader