Tour de Leaves hosts bike safety rodeo with community partners

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Tour de Leaves has partnered with area community partners to conduct a Bike Safety Rodeo and encourage youth safety in cycling on Sunday, Oct. 18.

Partners including Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Active Routes to School, Polk, Fit, Fresh and Friendly and the NC Cooperative Extension Office along with St. Luke’s’ Hospital and tour organizers are evolving the more than ten years old Tour de Leaves to grow the Family Ride segment and do more to educate community youth on cycling safety.

“Part of getting children ready to go out into the world is helping them know how to be safe in traffic,” said Mary Smith of Active Routes to School. “Whether walking or riding a bicycle, children need to know how to respond safely and properly on sidewalks and streets. Bicycle rodeos are a fun way to build your child’s traffic safety knowledge and skills and help with overall physical fitness.”

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The Bike Safety Rodeo will include skill stations directly related to everyday bicycling situations, including a bike helmet fitting. “It’s important for children to learn early the importance of wearing a bike helmet.” said Jimmi Buell with the Cooperative Extension Service, “helmets provide protection from brain injury in both children and adults.”

Free helmets will be provided by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and participants of the rodeo will receive lunch and a t-shirt for the participant fee. Additionally, all participants will be eligible to win one of two 20 inch Schwinn bikes courtesy of Active Routes to School.

For more info visit or call Lorna Dever for more info at 828-817-1544.

The Tour de Leaves was started in 1998 by the Henderson County Family YMCA. During the course of the first seven years, the venue for the start of the Tour changed from year to year. In 2006, Harmon Field became the venue for the Tour, and it has remained at this location since that year. At the end of the event in October 2008, the YMCA passed the Tour to Friends of Harmon Field who hosted it for four years.  For the last two years, the Tour de Leaves ride has benefited Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Polk County along with other area youth groups.  Three routes are offered: (1) Tour de Leaves Grande, 66.3 miles; (2) Tour de Leaves Lite, 31.9; (3) Tour de Leaves Family Fun Route, 4 and 8 miles.

– Submitted by Desiree Magnant