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  • Bike clubs for kids get a boost from Pima County partners

    Feb 27, 2014 | Read More News
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    The Roy Drachman Clubhouse is the first Boys & Girls Club of Tucson to have a bike club, thanks to clubhouse staff, Pima County, the University of Arizona and other partners.

    Wheels for KidsClubhouse director Raphael Duarte said he hopes to get “as many kids as we can” into the club. He’s planned a 10-week bike safety class and “we’re going to give them a chance to earn a bike.”

    This week, the nonprofit Wheels for Kids delivered 15 refurbished bikes to the clubhouse. The group has refurbished and given away more than 1,000 bikes since 2007. It will add the clubhouse to its list of drop-off locations for “gently used” bikes. “We need to collect more used bikes,” said Rick Haupt, Wheels for Kids president.

    The Center of Excellence in Women’s Heath at the UA’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health is supporting the clubhouse’s effort with a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at improving nutrition and physical activity in low-income communities.

    Program director Martha Monroy said the center arranged for community health workers – promotoras – to receive bike safety training from the Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, worked with the County and other partners to put on a family Bike Rodeo at the clubhouse in November, and has helped fit hundreds of kids for bike helmets donated by the County. Monroy and other CDC REACH program partners will help teach bike safety classes at the clubhouse and for adults, and are planning community cycling events.

    Matt Zoll, manager of the County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, said the County has been working with the clubhouse for about a year and is working with Perimeter Bicycling Association, which organizes El Tour de Tucson, to extend the “Safe Routes to School” program to Doolen Middle School.

    City High School, St. Gregory College Preparatory Academy, Khalsa Montessori School, Paulo Freire Freedom School and Miles Exploratory Learning Center have participated in the program for some time.

    The Bicycle and Pedestrian Program uses a federal grant and Pima County funds to provide youth bike clubs with helmets, water bottles, reflective backpacks, notebooks and other gear and to get bike safety class teachers trained and certified by the League of American Bicyclists.

    Zoll plans to get the Drachman Clubhouse bike club out on the Santa Cruz River segment of The Loop between Drexel Road and Ajo Way sometime in the future once maintenance and safety improvements are completed on the path.

    “We support the bike programs every way we can,” Zoll said.

    The bike club at the Drachman Clubhouse, 5901 S. Santa Clara Ave., meets at 3 p.m. every Wednesday. For more information, call 520-741-9947.

    For more information about bicycling in Tucson and Pima County, including maps and clubs, visit the Pima County Department of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program online, or The Loop online or on Facebook.