By Tommy Noyes
Nouveau Naumu is the physical education teacher at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. When asked what he enjoyed most during recent youth bicycling skills trainings, he responded, “Seeing my students engaged in a life-long physical activity and learning how to do it safely.”
During six one-hour sessions with each class, sixth and seventh graders were introduced to the many concepts necessary to bicycle intelligently.
Trainers emphasized helmet fit and use. Students were amazed to see how a watermelon fared much better when protected by a helmet, compared to hitting hard pavement unprotected.
“During the bicycle skills training I learned about the two fingers rule and I learned how to signal. Thank you sooo much!” Zaileah Lopes said.
Leia Mokiao-Higashi said she would tell her friends that “if they’re smart they’ll always wear a helmet when riding a bike.”
Doing the ABC Quick Check assures there is enough Air inflating the tires, the Brakes are sound, the Chain is good to go, the Quick Releases are secure, and everything on the Checks out OK.
“I’ll tell my friends to wear a helmet and do the ABC’s on their bikes. Also, I’d tell him or her to have a light on their bike so that people can see them,” Keanu Kanoho said.
A snail race requires contestants to balance their bicycles as they steer a straight line while creeping forward at the slowest speed they can manage. This exercise teaches great bike control. “I liked how we got to do the snail races—it was hard because you have to go so slow,” Kaikane Bisarra-Kaieohi said.
Julius Naanep agreed, “They were so much fun!”
Benzy Morey learned that “you should use your left hand to signal a right turn.” There are a couple of good reasons for that: motorists approaching from behind see a bicyclist’s left side more clearly, the bicyclist’s right hand remains on the handlebar to operate the rear brake (much preferred to using only the front brake for a quick stop), and it complies with Hawai‘i state law.
Luke Gandeza got the big picture, saying, “I’ll tell friends that if they’re smart they’ll use bikes for more than fun, but for exercise and transportation.”
“I learned what to do when riding through an intersection,” Shyan Hughes said. Lane positioning at a crossroads clearly communicates to following motorists where a bicyclist intends to go.
Venice Tadena was appreciative, sharing “I’m really grateful for you guys coming to our school and teaching us about the bikes. I really enjoyed it, and it was fun.”
Volunteers helping with the 36 training sessions for six 6th grade classes included Randy Blake, Tom Christy, Rich McKeever, John Bartholomew, Jim Whitfield, Audrey Valenciano, Mark Walsh, Wayne Mukai, Lori Ingram, Jackie Kaina, Jeff Venzon, Harvey Kinoshita, Angel Acorda, Tommy Noyes and Juno Apalla.
Karlee-Rose Keale summed it up nicely. “You helped us a lot and you made us laugh. Thank you,” she said.
Visit www.kauaipath.org for more information on Kaua‘i Path’s youth and adult bicycle skills programs.
- Tommy Noyes is Kaua‘i Path’s executive director, a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor and active with the Kaua‘i Medical Reserve Corps.