CYCLE Kids is committed to strengthening the emotional and physical health of children by giving them the skills to lead active and healthy lifestyles, using the fun and practical skill of riding a bike.
Physical Education teacher Tim Cronin is a true booster of the CYCLE Kids program.
Students in his 5th grade gym class have enjoyed the program so much, many of them now ride to school. In Somerville, the CYCLE Kids curriculum has become part of the fifth grade gym program across the school system. For Cronin, the program is a natural fit. “I biked as a kid the way all kids my age did – at least in the neighborhood I grew up in. Then about a dozen years ago I really got into it and became an avid cyclist. Since I love biking and I love working with kids, the CYCLE Kids program is perfect for me.”
Cronin especially loves working with special needs kids and those with physical limitations, including obesity. He describes several obese students as “nervous about riding at first. But now they enjoy it. I have noticed that many of my students have gained confidence and feel comfortable learning to ride a bike in front of their peers. This confidence stays with the kids even after they have left the gym.”
Cronin’s lessons in bicycle riding, safety, and nutrition are reinforced by the homeroom teachers, who use the CYCLE Kids workbooks as part of their literacy curriculum. Kids are so enthusiastic about the CYCLE Kids program, they become enthusiastic about reading and writing about bikes and the healthy life skills associated with riding them. When students in the Somerville community were invited to enter an essay contest on what it meant to them to be a “CYCLE Kid,” the winning essay came from Cronin’s school.
Says Cronin, “Some of the kids I teach are natural athletes; some are not. But by riding bikes we all have fun together. The kids laughed about learning the hand signals, since some of them kept getting right and left mixed up. And some of the girls had a hard time getting their pony tails through their helmets. Before they start out, the kids all like to help each other put on their helmets and adjust them.”
Recently, a group of 8th grade girls asked Cronin to teach them to ride. Cronin laughs. “I think that’s one more sign of how excited people in Somerville have gotten about the CYCLE Kids program. Teachers, parents, students, even the Police Officers love it!”