Biking in PE: To Ride or Not to Ride?

Biking is a fantastic form of exercise and exposing your students to it is an amazing opportunity, but is biking in PE right for your curriculum?

Check out my school’s story and some things to consider when deciding if biking is a good fit for your school and students.

Bicycle and helmet

My School’s Story:

My physical education staff currently has 32 mountain bikes at our disposal and has been trying to work through a variety of hurdles to get them integrated into our 9th through 12th grade curriculum.

When we first purchased these bikes, our class length was a little short on time to incorporate biking, but we had a plan in place to make it work.  Now as many of you all know, even our best plans never seem to work the way we’d like, and for us, this came in the form losing more minutes in our class length.

To overcome this obstacle, we got creative and started a mountain biking club at our school that meets every other Friday for one hour.  We are still working on finding a new way to add biking to our regular physical education curriculum with short periods too and hope to soon have things riding smoothly.

Things to consider when trying to decide whether or not adding biking to your curriculum is a fit for you and your students:

Feasibility: Decide whether or not adding biking in PE is a feasible plan. Do you have places for students ride? Is it something your students would enjoy learning about in class? Funding:  You’ll need to purchase mountain bikes, helmets and the necessary equipment to keep the bikes in safe working order. Equipment Purchasing Tips: Things to keep in mind before purchasing. Keep student age in mind- you may need different frame sizes Student ability levels – some students may not know how to ride a bike. We make it known to all of our students that if anyone doesn’t know how to ride, but would like to learn they just need to email their teacher and we can try to work out a time to meet and learn in a one-on-one environment. Bike Repair Tips: If possible, outfit your own bike shop repair station.  We do a lot of our own repairs and minor bikes adjustments to help keep costs down.  Any major issues that we are not comfortable working on go directly to our local bike shop. You may also find that you have a student or two who love to do bike repairs and that is a fantastic ace in the hole! Storage:  We thought through several different options, before finally settling on a storage building.  We really were hoping to have a spot in our building, however space was a huge issue as 32 bikes are not easily stored and our custodial staff was not thrilled with the idea of muddy or wet bikes coming into the halls.  Our storage building is large enough for all 32 bikes plus helmets, tire pumps and some minor repair tools.  We keep the majority of our tools indoors to keep items in cool, dry spot to prevent rust and weather damage from being in an outside storage building.  Our storage building has two entry points, one is a standard door for quick easy access to supplies and the other is a garage door, which I highly recommend for ease of getting bikes in and out. Administration support: Will your administration be on board? I encourage you to do your research and reach out to or even going to visit a school with a successful biking program in place.  Then, make a pitch they can’t refuse! After all, we are now in the business of exposing our students to fitness ideas that will last them a lifetime and biking is an excellent form of exercise that can be done throughout a lifetime!  

Jason is a High School Physical Education Teacher at Midd-West High School in Middleburg, PA. He is also the Head Boys & Girls Track & Field Coach, and a former Head Boys Basketball Coach. Jason and Midd-West High School were one of the winners of the Carol M. White PEP Grant in 2010.

Jason is a High School Physical Education Teacher at Midd-West High School in Middleburg, PA. He is also the Head Boys & Girls Track & Field Coach, and a former Head Boys Basketball Coach. Jason and Midd-West High School were one of the winners of the Carol M. White PEP Grant in 2010.

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