La Bicicleta Verde, Local Start-Up, Gets Kids out of the Classroom and onto Tandem Bikes
About La Bicicleta Verde
At La Bicicleta Verde, it’s our mission to spread the importance of bike riding around Chile and create intelligent, memorable experiences. Not only is it a great way to get outside and exercise, but it also helps keep our city’s air clean. Riding a bike has so many benefits (here’s a list of 30!), and it’s important for us to use bikes as a way to learn and play. This month, our Green Team went to a local elementary school to facilitate an activity with tandem bikes as a way to teach students about teamwork and communication, problem-solving, and healthy lifestyles, all of which are essential life skills.
Not every lesson can be taught in the classroom. Some of the most important life skills require real-life experience for us to fully grasp what they mean. Skills like communication, taking risks, and working in a team are crucial to know, especially for children entering into their teenage years. We believe that bikes can help teach us lessons about everyday life. To us, it’s important that everyone learns how to ride a bike because biking and playing together result in many positive outcomes that we can use daily. Biking is fun, and it’s a good way to learn important lessons whether we realize it or not! So, we brought in our team to facilitate the ultimate communication activity – tandem bike riding.
This activity was designed with the school’s Manager of School Communication to meet the needs and curricular interests of the class. Based on the goals we defined with the school contact, we were able to construct this activity and focus on teaching crucial soft skills and how to live a healthy lifestyle. To introduce these topics on the day of the activity, we started with a short introduction about the activity in the classroom.
When the introduction was over and it was time for the activity to start, we could hear the students running through the hall towards the courtyard. The students were eager to start right away, but to have an organized start to the tandem challenge, we instructed them to sit around the circle of helmets for an overview of the activity. We introduced ourselves and explained that we were going to be assembling and riding tandem bikes and learning about teamwork and communication.
After the introduction, each student selected a helmet from the circle and learned how to properly use and adjust it. We talked about why we wear helmets and how important it is to practice safety precautions when riding a bike.
Assembling the Bike
Next, we split the students into groups of 4 or 5 and paired them with a La Bicicleta Verde team member. They learned how to attach the wheel to the frame of the bike and check that it was secure. To check that everything was functioning properly, the students walked the bike a few meters to test the brakes and wheels before they even got on it.
Riding the Tandem Bike
The students got on the tandem bikes (with help from their classmates and La Bicicleta Verde supervisor if they needed it), and they pedaled around cones set up in the courtyard. They practiced turning left and right, braking, and balancing on the bikes. It didn’t take long for each pair of students on the bike to learn that communication and trust is important to ride tandem, especially since the person on the back cannot steer or brake.
Super Hero Challenge
Once the students were comfortable on the tandem bikes, we gave them the option to blindfold the second rider with a superhero mask so they were unable to see. This put a lot of importance on communication skills and willingness to trust one another, but in a fun way of course! They had to communicate which way they were going to turn, instruct each other to pedal faster or slower, etc. The students were excited to try this out, and the courtyard was filled with excited laughter as they watched their fellow classmates complete the challenge.
After this 45 minute activity, the students walked away with more confidence in riding bikes and better communication skills. They learned how to trust each other, and when to take risks versus when to play it safe. They had fun learning these lessons, even if it didn’t feel a whole lot like learning! The students who had never pedaled before went home with an unforgettable experience that day – riding a bike for the first time, and being supported and cheered on by their classmates.
Check out our YouTube video from this day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH-xfN973vo
If you are interested in bringing a bike activity into your school, please contact us! We’d love to work with you.