Back to School, Bike to School: Resources and Tips

Several counties across Metro Atlanta have already started back to school.  So long, summer days of fun.

But just because the wee ones are back in school, doesn’t mean your summer bike riding is over.  Here’s some helpful tips on how to encourage kids to bike to school.

1. Plan your route. The most direct route to where you’re going might not always be the safest or most bike-friendly commute.  Try researching your route on Google Maps using the bike option.  Another good resource is Ride the City; it even lists bike shops along the way.  Or, check out this bike suitability map from Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

2. Test ride the route. It’s always a good idea to spend an afternoon or a weekend test riding the route.  That way, you can be sure of any problem areas or areas you might feel uncomfortable and make proper adjustments.  This is especially helpful for teaching kids to ride to school.  Knowing the route will boost their confidence.

3. Nervous? Don’t go it alone.  Getting a neighborhood group to ride together (think of it as a ride pool) can be a great idea, especially for those new to the concept.  It’s a great way to meet people in the area and at your school.  Plus, there’s always safety in numbers.

4. Be the example. Kids learn in a lot of different ways, but one of those ways is by example.  If you already commute to work by bike, take a longer route so that you can incorporate your child’s school route and they can ride alongside you.  We highly recommend riding with children 12 or under!

5. There’s plenty of resources out there. Check out these helpful sites for more information:

Safe Routes to School

Walk Bike to School

Walk Bike Schools–Although this is Seattle-based, there’s lots of resources on how to get a program started

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Civil Bikes Featured in Bicycling Magazine

Civil Bikes, an Atlanta cycling tour company, was recently featured in Bicycling Magazine!  Civil Bikes is a wonderful organization that pairs two of our favorite things–bikes and education.  Taking a tour with Civil Bikes would be a wonderful idea for a corporate retreat, a camp or school field trip, showing visitors around the city, or just getting to know your own city better.

Check out the full story here.

Keep up the good work, Nedra and company!

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Sopo Teaches YMCA Summer Campers How to Build Bikes

Last week Sopo taught about 40 East Lake YMCA Summer STEAM campers how to build bikes from scratch.  The week-long program consisted of learning bike terminology and the proper use of tools.  At the end of the week, 10 bikes were built by the the campers for the East Lake Y Youth and Teen Development Center to enjoy!

For a more in-depth look at this project, be sure pick up the next copy of Atlanta Velocity Magazine.

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Fun at the Velodrome

This past Saturday Sopo managed the bike valet at the Dick Lane Velodrome Omnium Pro Race Series.  Riders met up at The Spindle to hang out, then rode to Sopo to pick up others and fix any mechanical issues, then on to the Velodrome in East Point.  About 30 people made the 10 mile trip by bicycle to enjoy the amateur, pro, and even youth races.

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Local youth take the track between pro races. The Dick Lane Velodrome has a free youth program to encourage youth cycling. For more information, visit their website.

 

Bike Train and Valet at the Velodrome

Sopo and The Spindle are teaming up to lead a bike train!  Join us this Saturday as we ride to Dick Lane Velodrome to watch their pro race series.  We will be leaving Sopo at 5:00 p.m.  The ride is about nine miles and will be a no-drop, easy pace.

Schedule of events:

3-4:30pm: Hang out at The Spindle
4:30pm: Ride bikes from Spindle to Sopo Bicycle Cooperative
5pm: Bike train to the Dick Lane Velodrome
6pm: Professional races begin

Click here for more information about the pro race. 

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Shop Closed Saturday, July 4

Sopo will be closed on Saturday, July 4, in recognition of Independence Day.

Happy Birthday America!

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Fifth Monday Shop Clean-up–We Got Your Summer Project!

Every so often, the calendar allows us to have a 5th Monday where no previously scheduled program is planned.  Last night, Soponistas spent some time cleaning the shop, parting out bikes, organizing wheels, and pricing bikes for sale.  One thing’s for sure–we got wheels!

It might not look like it, but these wheels are actually organized according to size.  That big pile there?  26 in wheels galore.

It might not look like it, but these wheels are actually organized according to size. That big pile there? 26 in wheels galore.

The before scene.

The before scene.

OMG...There is a floor!

OMG…There is a floor!

monday night 3-frames

Frames, frames, frames…we got ’em. Perfect for a summer project!

Specialized Rockhopper as-is: $25.  We got all the parts you need to make it your own!

Specialized Rockhopper as-is: $25. We got all the parts you need to make it your own!

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Motobecane road bike as-is: $20. Solid bike, just needs a few parts, love, and maybe a bath.

 

Shared

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Sopo volunteer and board member, Kat Volzer, recently returned from a trip to Vancouver.  Vancouver was an incredibly bike friendly city with bike lanes on almost every street, most of them protected.  This shot was snapped near Jericho Beach where there was a crushed gravel walking/bike path.  Share the road, share the path, share the love!

 

The Link: Spring Session Wrapup

 

Army veteran Randy poses outside of Sopo's back door with a mountain bike he completely rebuilt at Sopo.

Army veteran Randy poses outside of Sopo’s back door with a mountain bike he completely rebuilt at Sopo.

6 weeks. Each Saturday morning for the past 6 weeks, Sopo Bicycle Cooperative has welcomed a group of residents from the Gateway Center for the Homeless into the shop.  As part of the Link, Sopo’s earn-a-bike program with Gateway, over 31 Gateway residents made it to the shop and 17 earned bikes through volunteering.

Navy veteran, Calvin, from the Gateway Center fourth floor shows off the bike he earned at Sopo.

Navy veteran, Calvin, from the Gateway Center fourth floor shows off the bike he earned at Sopo.

Each participant from Gateway either earned a bike or fixed up their own bikes over the six weeks. While a bike might seem like a small thing, the increased mobility, better health, and sense of confidence that two wheels can provide should not be overestimated.

Nathaniel, a veteran of the US Army and Gateway resident, gets ready to ride off on his new Schwinn from Sopo.

Nathaniel, a veteran of the US Army and Gateway resident, gets ready to ride off on his new Schwinn from Sopo.

In exchange for a free bike, each participant had to volunteer at the shop for four hours. In all, over 76 hours of volunteer service were provided to the shop by Gateway residents. For a small, local nonprofit like Sopo with no employees, those volunteer hours make a huge difference.

Sopo volunteer Chris helps Gateway resident Larry fix a flat.

Sopo volunteer Chris helps Gateway resident Larry fix a flat.

In addition to volunteering at the shop to earn a free bike, Gateway residents also attend classes on bike repair at Sopo. This past session had great classes on topics such as, the ABCs of Bike Maintenance, Fix-a-Flat, and Brake Adjustment. Besides getting a free bike, but keeping it in good working order is just as important.

Sopo boardmember, Kartapreet Singh, gives a class on bike safety at Sopo for the Link.

Sopo boardmember, Kartapreet Singh, gives a class on bike safety at Sopo for the Link.

A great group, very eager to hit the streets and get their lives back on track. We also had many veterans (over half of the participants). Certainly an honor to give back to those who have served our country.

Mark, a resident of Gateway's veterans floor, shows off his muscles and his new Royce Union.

Mark, a resident of Gateway’s veterans floor, shows off his muscles and his new Royce Union.

What really makes the Link special are those participants from previous sessions who come back and work on their bikes. Witnessing the transformation from living on the brink of disaster to rebuilding a functioning life is very gratifying. Not saying that a bike can do it all, but I am sure it plays a part.

Troy, a veteran of the US Navy and previously a employee during the Link employment program at Sopo, comes back to work on his bike.

Troy, a veteran of the US Navy and previously a employee during the Link employment program at Sopo, working on his disc brake.

Bike Train to DLV Pro Race

Join us this Saturday for a bike train to Dick Lane Velodrome!

Sopo will be leading a bike train from the shop to Dick Lane Velodrome in East Point Saturday, May 9, for the pro race series.  Meet at Sopo at 4:45 p.m.; the train will be leaving around 5 p.m.  Don’t worry about bringing a bike lock–bike valet will be there!

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Entry for the race is $5 per person and $10 per family.  Food trucks will be available on site.

Click here for more information about this event and Dick Lane Velodrome.