Rushton Elementary BLAST program 2024

Mia’s Journey

By Brandon Schubach, BikeWalkKC Youth Education Instructor

A novice rider...

One 5th-grade girl stood out amidst the laughter and excitement of field day at Rushton Elementary School in Johnson County. Mia (name changed to protect her privacy), a student with a determined spirit and a newfound passion for biking, embarked on a journey that would not only transform her skills but also inspire those around her.

As part of BikeWalkKC’s BLAST program (Bike Lessons And Safety Training), our team had set up a special obstacle course dubbed the "Happy Face" drill. This course aims to teach young riders essential skills like making tight turns, controlling their bikes, and navigating obstacles safely.

Mia didn't know how to ride a bike on that first day. However, with the guidance of our instructor, Miss Joanna, she embraced the challenge with unwavering determination. With each attempt, Mia’s confidence grew, and soon she was maneuvering through the course with skill and finesse.

Happy Face Drill - BLAST

The Happy Face Drill

Try the Happy Face drill

  1. Find an empty parking lot or basketball court and use chalk, rocks, water bottles, or whatever you have on hand to recreate the course.
  2. Ride the course and observe how the narrowing lane, sharper turns, and weaving around the zig-zag portion (far right in the image) forces you to change your speed or position.
  3. Keep practicing and see if you can make it all the way through without putting your foot down!

... to a champion cyclist!

But Mia’s journey didn’t end there. Fueled by her newfound love for cycling, she returned to the Happy Face Drill again and again, honing her skills with each practice session. Throughout the following BLAST sessions at Rushton Elementary, Mia continued to push herself, mastering new techniques and drills with enthusiasm.

By the end of the program, Mia had blossomed into one of the most skilled cyclists in her class. Her journey from learning to ride to becoming a champion cyclist inspired not only her peers but also everyone else involved in the BLAST program!

BLAST teaches more than essential bike skills; the program also instills confidence and empowers students to reach new heights. In Mia’s story, the BLAST curriculum and instructors paved the way for her to persevere, practice, and achieve her goals.

Congratulations, Mia, on your incredible achievement! Your journey from novice rider to champion cyclist is an inspiration to us all. Keep pedaling towards your dreams, and remember, the sky’s the limit!

Brandon Schubach

Brandon Schubach likes cats and riding bikes. This is his 10th year as an instructor with BikeWalkKC.

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Posted in Bicycling, BikeWalkKC News, Johnson County, Local, News, Safe Routes to School and tagged , , , , .