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Why D.C. Teaches Kids to Bike

Why D.C. Wants to Teach Every Kid How to Ride a Bike

Starting this fall, all second graders in D.C. public schools will learn to ride in PE class.

CityLab, Sept. 1, 2015

Before the start of the new school year in Washington, D.C., as families were buying supplies and teachers were drafting their lesson plans, Miriam Kenyon was spending her days in a warehouse in the city’s Northeast quadrant, surrounded by bikes.

She and a group of volunteers were building them: Diamondback Vipers and Mini Vipers, 16- and 20-inch kids’ models. “They’re BMX bikes, so they’re really sturdy and they’re made for multiple uses,” explains Kenyon, the director of health and physical education at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).

All the bikes in the warehouse—a huge fleet numbering 475—had to be ready by the time the first bell rang on August 24. Once assembled, they were divvied up and shipped to elementary schools for a novel educational experiment.

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