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Burbank rolls out free classes to encourage more cycling

May 29, 2012
(Times Community…)

Classes on bicycle safety, skills and repair are in full swing in Burbank as city officials take advantage of a state grant to encourage more biking and less driving.

“We’re hoping the kids spend the summer on their bikes,” said Cory Wilkerson, a city transportation planner.

In one class that began in February, adults spend four hours on two consecutive Saturdays learning bike safety skills in a classroom before applying those lessons on city streets.

On June 2, a skills class for children as young as 6 years old will begin and run the first Saturday of every month.

All classes are free and made possible through a $100,000-state grant. Each class features two instructors and typically do not exceed 15 students.

A trailer once used as an office by city officials is now dedicated as a bike workspace that will remain open every Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m., Wilkerson said. It is also open on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from 4 to 7 p.m. Located at 354 E. Orange Grove Blvd. in Burbank, cyclists can repair, build or maintain their bikes.

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Wilkerson said he recently witnessed kids working in the trailer for the first time.

“There was a group of seven or eight kids that were very excited and loud and pulling out [bike] stands. It was cool to see that many kids excited about it,” he said.

In taking the classes, many students will have the opportunity to earn a bike that has been donated to the program. But under an instructor’s guidance, they are also responsible for repairing the bike.

“Once they’ve fixed the bike themselves, they’re allowed to keep it,” Wilkerson said. “The belief is that when kids have that much time invested in something, it becomes more valuable to them.”

Students can also repair their own bikes through the program.

To register, visit burbankbike.org.

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

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