ROCKWOOD, ONT – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 4-H’s virtual Biking Out of Isolation Club gave youth the opportunity to Learn To Do By Doing and support the Ride of Silence, an international biking event. The Ride of Silence is an international event that takes place on the third Wednesday of every May to recognize cyclists who have been killed by motorists, promote road sharing and raise awareness of bicycle safety. On May 20 as their club achievement project, 4-H’ers took part in a 10 km Ride of Silence bike ride with their families or created a bicycle safety poster to raise awareness about the event.
“Normally we would bike together and had intended to have a police escort, but after COVID-19 we had to cancel,” says Lynn Van Maanen, Chatham-Kent 4-H Volunteer. “We encouraged youth to get together with their family and do a Ride of Silence. Instead of being a big parade of bicyclers we were on our own with our families doing the ride.”
The virtual 4-H Biking Out of Isolation Club hosted all their meetings through Zoom and covered a variety of themes including bicycle safety, rules of the road, bicycle maintenance and mountain biking. The 4-H volunteers even arranged for guest speakers to join their virtual meetings and lead certain topics such as long-distance riding.
“Our goal has always been to enhance the member’s love for biking,” says Lynn. “By learning some new skills, we hope they gain confidence that they can try new things.”
Although the Biking Out of Isolation Club was hosted by Chatham-Kent 4-H, the virtual element allowed for youth from all over Ontario to participate including 4-H’ers from Essex, Wellington, Oxford, Perth and Waterloo. Not only did youth have the opportunity to learn new cycling skills but they also met other 4-H’ers they wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet otherwise.
While running the club virtually posed some challenges, volunteers had the opportunity to evaluate the way their clubs are typically run and try new things that could be incorporated into future clubs.Source : 4-H Ontario