Do you remember your first bike? Where you rode it and who you rode with? On June 9, at least 100 kids got their first bike and rode with the Concord Police Department Bike Unit officers at the 2nd Annual Concord Police Department Bike Rodeo at the Steeplegate Mall.
Police officers led groups of kids through stations, teaching them skills such as riding in a straight line, scanning over their shoulder while biking and avoiding hazards and staying balanced while going slow. It wasn’t just the PD investing in kids’ safety. Children received free helmets with their bikes thanks to the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire. Helmet safety checks were done by the Central New Hampshire Bicycling Coalition and the Bike-Walk Alliance of NH. More than 100 bikes were given away courtesy of Restoration Foursquare Church and S&W Sports with Pastor Kevin Twombly doing bike tune-ups onsite.
After completing the rodeo, kids received their own scorecard and certificate signed by Officer Christy Spaulding, a special Concord PD badge, an S&W Sports water bottle, a Clif bar and the Wellness Coalition passport for Concord hiking trails.
The fun didn’t end there! Lt. John Thomas blasted dance music from the top of his cruiser while he grilled hotdogs and flipped free burgers for everyone. BMX stunt professionals wowed the crowd as they twisted their bodies and bikes over and around wooden ramps.
Everyone stayed hydrated thanks to water donations from New Hampshire Distributors and local dentists Dr. Ray Orzechowski and Dr. Shannon Arndt. Warm fuzzies and hugs were abundant with beloved police mascot McGruff the Crime Dog. Volunteers in orange “Hike it, Bike it, Like it!” Merrimack River Greenway Trail shirts worked side by side with Concord police officers to guide families through the stations, check helmets, hand out donated swag, serve food and clean up.
While your first cycling memory may not involve a party with police officers, together we can create lasting memories of a city supporting safety, fitness and fun for future generations.