South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) promotes pedal power
Riding the bus isn't the only transportation option South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) endorses. In fact, Wilsonville's transit agency is in the midst of a concerted effort to encourage community members to dust off their bikes and start pedaling.
SMART is holding five learn-to-ride clinics in March and April at Lowrie Primary School, Meridian Creek Middle School, Boeckman Creek Primary School and Boones Ferry Primary School and is planning other activities designed to inspire kids and their families to bike more often.
Space is limited to six students per session unless more adult volunteers are available.
"Teaching kids to ride encourages them to ride bikes as a form of transportation," Griffin said. "It's an opportunity for kids to be able to bike to school and bike with their families in the community."
During the clinics, Griffin will teach kids about basic safety tips, how to check a bicycle before riding and then how to glide, pedal and turn. She enjoys seeing kids' faces as they begin to maintain balance on their bike.
"There's a combination of excitement and disbelief in themselves," Griffin said. "They're so excited that they are successful. They usually have a huge smile on their face."
This summer, Griffin is planning neighborhood bike rides at 5:30 p.m. June 17 at Engelman Park, 5:30 p.m. July 15 at Hathaway Park and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Autumn Park Apartments community center. She chose those spots for their bikeability and concentration of residents.
"We'll do a half-hour ride within those neighborhoods to give families the opportunity to see how they can ride in their own neighborhood," Griffin said.
SMART held a weeklong bicycle adventure camp for the first time last year but has expanded its offerings this year, adding an additional week and an overnight camp for families.
The weeklong camps will take place July 20-24 and Aug. 3-7 at the City's Parks & Recreation building. During the overnight camp, families and staff will ride from the Parks & Rec building to Champoeg State Park and then stay overnight there from July 23-26.
Part of Griffin's role at SMART is to encourage the community to embrace alternative forms of transportation to driving. For instance, she held a clinic earlier this year where she helped teach students how to bring their bikes on and off SMART buses.
However, regardless of potential benefits such as lessening environmental impacts and reducing strain on local roads, Griffin says biking is simply a fun form of exercise.
"Biking is a lifelong sport, a sport you can do with groups of people, but you can also do it on your own," Griffin said. "There are people who bike much longer into life than I would say play other sports."
For more information, visit SMART's website at www.ridesmart.com/transit.
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