BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - At a glance Wednesday morning, it seemed like another normal day at Woodruff Elementary School. However, upon closer inspection, the bicycles lining the racks and the purposefully arranged traffic cones indicated an exciting break from the norm: the annual William Woodruff Elementary School Bike Road-eo.
According to one of the event’s organizers, Officer Mark Stallone, “the Bike Road-eo is a way of determining whether the students have the ability to ride safely on the streets.”
It consists of four separate challenges: slow speed riding, a figure eight, proper balancing, and stopping. The course is composed of traffic cones and located on the blacktop next to the school, with Officer Stallone overseeing the completion of the course by each rider.
“We test their ability to ride in a straight line, use slow speed, avoid obstacles, turn the bike in different directions without putting their feet down, and stopping their bike with the brakes,” said Officer Stallone. “Feedback is positive. We can identify students who don’t have the ability to ride the bike safely on the streets and address issues they need to practice on.”
Students ranging from second to fourth grade participated in the Bike Road-eo. Parent volunteers and teachers were on hand to help out. Other event organizers included Michael Coviello, Mary Itri-Hicks, and Principal of Woodruff Patty Gasparini.
Another important aspect of the event is the sticker design contest. Students are challenged to sketch a sticker design for the Bike Road-eo, with the winning design printed on actual stickers that are handed out to those who complete the course. Kelly Li, a third grader, is responsible for this year’s winning design. Her sticker features an owl wearing a helmet and riding a bicycle.
“Our school mascot is an owl, so I used that idea with the Bike Road-eo,” said Li. Her stickers were a hit with participants, as they eagerly scooped them up after finishing riding.
Although the Bike Road-eo provided students with a fun and active morning, it also provided them with important safety lessons for riding on the road. Hopefully, these skills will remain with them for a lifetime.