A wintry mix didn’t stop a group of Culpeper children from enjoying the bike trails at Eastern View High School on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office and Girl Scout Troop 3126 hosted a bike rodeo for area bicyclist enthusiasts – helping youngsters learn the importance of traffic signs, yielding to pedestrians and how to ride in inclement weather.
Kendra Weist, Girl Scout Troop 3126 Leader, said about 30 Girl Scouts and their siblings turned out and then several members of the public participated in the bike rodeo course.
“We let them go first to test the stations because they are going to be helping with the stations,” Weist said of the scouts.
The sleet pelting the bikers helmets didn’t keep them from riding, and actually aided in the educational aspect of the day.
“It did work out well that way, it was a great lesson for them to learn when can you ride in the elements and when can you not,” Weist said.
The troop and the CCSO had six stations planned, but decided against a bike wash station based on the weather. Instead, bikers learned about traffic signs and hand gestures before going through a cone course with Deputy Melvin White. From there, they graduated to going on a trail ride through the Eastern View bike trails with bike officers deputies Dana Martz and Rob Hefner.
“They’re having a blast with that,” Weist said.
Martz said they turned the inclement weather into a teaching moment for the bikers.
“The sleet has melted, so the road is not icy, the pavement is a little damp but it’s not puddles,” Martz explained. “We’re actually in safe conditions today.”
Emerald Hill Elementary School fourth-grader and troop member Grace Faulk smiled broadly when talking about her experience.
“Sometimes if you’re in a difficult situation then they taught us how to safely ride our bikes in this type of weather,” Faulk said. “It was a very educational day for me, I’m glad I came.”
White said the CCSO are always looking for opportunities to work with other civic organizations like the Girl Scouts.
“It’s awesome,” Deputy White said. ““We just think it’s great, we here at the sheriff’s office are all about community service. The weather is not very cooperative, but it’s fun.I see the smiles on the kids faces, they’re having a good time,” White said.
The CCSO had five deputies on hand helping and six CCSO cadets working with the bikers.
“I think it’s good for them (the cadets), because they can learn how to better relate to the kids,” White said. “A big part of our job is all about communication and how you relate to people.”