Maxwelton ride promotes community and health

South Whidbey residents put the pedal to the pavement during a community bike ride on Sunday.

Ravi Neumeyer

South Whidbey residents put the pedal to the pavement during a community bike ride on Sunday.

The ride, put together by The Hub and Occupy Your Bike, aimed to promote healthy lifestyles for people of all ages. The event followed a week-long bicycle education training course by volunteers for students at the Langley Middle School. Students learned bike skills, such as changing tires, maintaining bikes and road safety.

The group of about 25 rode from the middle school to Dave Mackie Park along Maxwelton Road. This was the second time the bike group has completed the 7.5 mile ride.

Derek Hoshiko, an organizer for the bike group, said he wants the event to help build resilient relationships with people in the community.

“It’s important to have respectful discourse with drivers and cyclers and maintain a respectful dialogue,” he said.

Hoshiko said he wanted to show students that they don’t always need a car to get to school.

“We advocate the use of bikes for transportation, not just for sport,” he said.

Hoshiko’s wife, Tatiana Hoshiko, helped set up the picnic in the park afterwards. She is aspiring to be a strong bicyclist and the group helps her achieve that, she said.

“They’re really positive, supportive and never competitive,” Tatiana Hoshiko said.

Langley resident George Henny attended the ride with his son Liam, who is in the eighth grade.

Henny said he enjoyed the ride and watching his son take the lead throughout the route. It’s important to develop relationships while being fit, he said.

“I hope the ride inspires people to get involved and get fit,” Henny said. “It’s so important to participate in healthy activities.

Every year there are still about four students who don’t know how to ride a bike, said Erik Jokinen, a physical education teacher at the middle school. This is the third year the school has participated in the Washington State Department of Transportation program to help students become more familiar with bikes.

“We want to create a culture of getting kids out and start riding,” he said.

The program helps students learn how to ride a bicycle and how to be safe on the road. Jokinen said the training even helps them become better motorists by knowing the laws of the street.

Nancy Hepp, another organizer for the group, said this was one of the largest gatherings she has seen for Occupy Your Bike. She wants biking to be a good experience for all ages and was happy to see many smiles throughout the ride, she said.


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