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Baloo's Bugle

May 2007 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 13, Issue 10
June 2007 Theme

Theme: Wheel Into Summer
Webelos: Traveler & Handyman
Tiger Cub


Consumer Product Safety Alert –
No helmets in the playground!
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Wear Bike Helmets On Bicycles --
Not on Playgrounds

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns that children should not wear bike helmets when playing, especially on playground equipment. CPSC has reports of two strangulation deaths to children when their bike helmets became stuck in openings on playground equipment, resulting in hanging. CPSC also has reports of four cases where no injury occurred. In two of these cases the children were climbing trees, and in the other two cases the children were on playground equipment.

Children should always wear helmets while riding their bikes. But when a child gets off the bike, take off the helmet. There is a "hidden hazard" of strangulation if a child wears a helmet while playing on playground equipment.

Some Important Facts about Children & Wheels for Parents:
Alice, CS RT Commissioner
Pioneer District, Golden Empire Council

Children are children, and according to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute there are specific reasons why they don’t SEE danger the same way we do while using bikes, scooters, skateboards or skates.  Specifically, children:

  • Have a narrower field of vision than adults, about 1/3 less.
  • Cannot easily judge a car's speed and distance.
  • Assume that if THEY can see a car, its driver must be able to see THEM. However, children are easily hidden from view by parked cars and other objects.
  • Cannot readily tell the direction a sound is coming from.
  • May be impatient and impulsive.
  • Concentrate on only one thing at a time. This is likely not to be traffic.
  • Have a limited sense of danger.
  • Often mix fantasy with reality.
  • Imitate the often BAD behavior of others, especially older children and adults

So Parents –

  • Give your child only as much independence and responsibility as s/he can handle safely. Throughout childhood, children slowly develop the cognitive, perceptual and sensory skills necessary to be safe in traffic.
  • Remember that each child is unique. Do not base rules for one child on those for siblings, cousins or neighbors. Children of the same age may require different levels of supervision in traffic.
  • Evaluate your child's behavior out of traffic. Is s/he impulsive? Does s/he stop to think before acting? Distractable? Can s/he sustain attention on something important? Is s/he a risk-taker? It is likely that your child's behavior in traffic will resemble behavior out of traffic.
  • Consider any limitations your child has and how these might influence his or her behavior in traffic. For example, does your child have vision problems? Hearing impairment? Cognitive or judgment limitations? Physical handicaps?
  • Give your child practice in traffic. Frequent supervised experiences can help children develop good traffic safety habits.
  • Teach your child the rules of walking and bicycling safety as you encounter traffic situations. Ask your children to repeat rules back to you.
  • Do not assume your child will follow the rules just because s/he can SAY them. Let your child lead you in traffic to help you assess how well s/he follows the rules. Set up situations with your child in which you shadow him/her (walk 10-15 feet behind) to allow semi-independence.
  • Grant independence in small steps to see how your child handles it. For example, let your child progress from playing in front of the house to playing on the block, to walking around the block, to crossing one street, etc.
  • BE A GOOD EXAMPLE! Always model appropriate traffic safety practices yourself, whether you are walking, bicycling or driving! Children learn from important people around them.
  • Be a careful driver, watch for children who may not yet have developed good traffic safety habits. Their safety is in your hands.

If your pack decides to put on a Bike Rodeo, it’s a good idea to give parents a check list  where they can make a note of specific behaviors they see in their child at each station – they’ll know what they need to work on with their child!

The Top FIVE Reasons for Bike Accidents:

You might be surprised at the Top Five reasons for children’s bike accidents:

  • Darting out of driveways or from between parked cars – 30% of all bike accidents, most during Daytime on quiet two-lane streets.  Median age is 11!!
  • Moving to the left without looking, or swerving when looking over the shoulder – 30% of all bike injuries and fatalities – Median age – 13!!
  • Failure to Stop at STOP signs – 20% of bike accidents, median age – 12!!
  • Riding against traffic, especially when a car is turning right at the corner.  – 30% of all bike accidents – median age 12!!
  • MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL Riding with the correct helmet will reduce the risk of head injury by 85%!! (I guess the accident s losing control and falling.  CD)

Maintain Those Wheels!

One way to keep your kids safe on wheels is to make sure those wheels are in good repair.  So take a Saturday morning once in a while to check on the family “wheels.” Wash, rinse and dry if needed. From there,  it’s really basic: parts that move need to be oiled, parts that don’t move need to be securely tight.

Here’s what you need:

  • Socket set or Crescent wrench,
  • Pliers, Hex or Allen Wrench,
  • Screwdrivers.

Things to Do:

  • Tires: use pressure on the side of the tire – too much air can lead to blowout; too little air makes steering sluggish.
  • Chain: Turn bike upside down, one person turns pedals while the other dribbles oil on the chain.  Wipe off excess. Lack of lubrication can cause sudden change in motion or locking of chain.
  • Handlebars:  Hold the front tire tightly and wiggle the handlebars from side to side.  If they move, the stem bolt needs tightening.  If you can lift the handlebars up or down, tighten the binder bolt.  At least 2-1/2 inches of the stem should be inside the tube. Loose screws could cause lack of control, inability to steer.
  • Saddle:  Grab the seat, rock it up and down.  If it moves, tighten the bolt on the seat post.  Make sure the seat is NOT tilted. Distance should be slightly more than leg length from seat to pedal on down stroke.  You may also need to move the saddle forward or back, by loosening the bolt on the seat clamp. Improper seat position or tightness could cause lack of control, inability to stay on pedals.
  • Brakes:  If your child cannot stop quickly on smooth, dry pavement, or if cables are broken or frayed, take the bike to a bike shop – this is a job for experts.  Other danger signs – if the hand brake levers touch the handlebars when squeezed, missing or slipped brake pads, squeaking brakes.
  • Reflectors:  Make sure there are reflectors on the back – reflectors that sit on the spokes are great, too.  (But night riding should be a No No for children)
  • Overall: Check all the bolts on the bike.
  • Helmet:  Make sure the helmet still fits.  When down square on the head, moving the helmet should make wrinkles in the forehead. Replace if needed.
  • Pads:  Make sure they still fit and are in good repair. Replace as needed.

 “Wheely” Interesting Facts
Alice, CS RT Commissioner
Pioneer District, Golden Empire Council

  • A bicycle headlight mostly allows others to see you.  Some of the brighter lights do help bicycle riders see at night. While most bicycle lights range from 2.4 to 20 watts, bikes ridden by police officers use lights with a minimum of 15 watts.
  • America’s first bicycle company, Pope Bicycles, began in 1877.
  • There are 99,000,000 (that’s million) bicyclists in the United States – and forty four million are kids under the age of 16.
  • In China, bikes are still the main form of transportation:  for every car, there are 250 bikes – but this is changing rapidly.
  • A bicycle built for two riders is called a tandem. Bicyclists riding a tandem sit in single file line, one behind the other.
  • The record breaking tandem was built for 35 people, and is 66 feet, 11 inches long!
  • The longest “Wheelie” ever made was held for five hours, twelve minutes and thirty-five seconds!
  • Bicycle deaths are most likely to occur in summer. Deaths are most likely to occur on Fridays and Saturdays. The peak time for accidents is 3:00-9:00 P.M. Ninety-eight percent of bicyclists killed in 1999 weren't wearing helmets.
  • Did you know that bicycles changed the way women dressed?   Before bicycles were around, women wore very restrictive clothing. Once they began to ride bicycles they had to wear clothing that allowed them to move about. In 1896 Susan B. Anthony said, "The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women then anything else in the world."
  • The first bike was iron - it worked, but it wasn’t very comfortable!

Hobby Horse to Mountain Biking
Alice, CS RT Commissioner
Pioneer District, Golden Empire Council

  • 1817 -The first bicycle, called a Hobby Horse or Swift Walker was invented by Baron von Drais, and called a Draisine – it had handlebars but No pedals!
  • 1858 - pedals were added – it was called a velocipede or “boneshaker.” By 1868, they were made in the U.S. and riding was a popular fad.
  • 1869 - the first rubber tires were used, and the name became “bicycle.”
  • 1877 - The “Ordinary” – with a huge front wheel – was manufactured in the United States.  It was very fast – and dangerous!
  • 1880 -  the first helmets were introduced – made of a crushable material called “pith.”
  • 1884 - Thomas Stevens made the first coast-to-coast ride form Oakland, CA. to Boston, MA. – and the Starley Safety Bicycle was invented. It looks like our modern bicycles.
  • 1888 – Bicycle tires went from solid rubber to pneumatic “air-filled” tires – and they made the ride a lot more comfortable!
  • 1894 - the “bloomer” makes bicycle riding easier for women – it’s a very controversial costume according to some people.
  • 1896 - Margaret Valentine Le Long rides from Chicago to San Francisco and coaster brakes are invented.
  • 1899 - “Mile a Minute” Murphy sets a new speed record – a mile in 57.75 seconds -  but bikes lose their popularity to the automobile.
  • 1962 -  a new wave of popularity for the bicycle begins and in 1972, they outsell cars by 13 million to 11 million!
  • 1977 - 2000 bicyclist ride across America to celebrate the Bicentennial.
  • 1981 - Specialized Stumpjumper became the first mass-produced mountain bike.
  • 1984 - The road race for women became an Olympic sport in 1984.
  • 1995 – The oldest professional bicyclist at age 50, Fred Rompelberg of the Netherlands set a new speed record of 166.9 mph.
  • 1996 - Mountain Biking became an Olympic sport.

Ways to Prevent Tire Damage
Santa Clara County Council

  • Don’t jump curbs.
  • Inflate tire to proper pressure.
  • Don’t ride double.
  • Use only your hands to mount tires.
  • Use a hand pump and tire gauge – don’t use gas station air hoses.
  • Avoid rough streets and alleys,
  • Avoid skidding stops.
  • Keep wheels aligned.
  • Keep the valve stem straight.

Remember:  Store your bike properly.  Although nothing can stop the eventual deterioration of rubber products, you can slow the process by keeping tires away from sunlight during long periods of storage an away from oily and greasy surfaces. For extended periods of storage (winter?), hang your bicycle or turn it upside down.



Bike Rodeo
Santa Clara County Council

Here are some ideas for you do run a bike rodeo for your Cub Scouts. The boys and their parents need to be involved in this fun activity. Include traffic safety, bike safety, and bike skills in the activities you choose for the event.  Your local Police Department can probably provide you with complete details on running this event.

The rodeo should encourage the safety, bike skills and confidence a Cub needs to ride safely. A bicycle is a vehicle with the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles on the roads. Biking is fun. In order for Cubs to know if their bikes are safe, contact your local police department. Many will send an officer out to do a bike safety checks. Stress the need to of bike safely - not foolishly. Instill good traffic habits from the start with young riders.

Once a boy learns to ride a bike, he will never forget. If he learns good riding skills when he is young, they will follow him into adulthood. Bicycling is truly a life-long activity.


  • 50 feet measurer or yard stick
  • Chalk, tape or sting - for lines
  • Traffic cones or weighted cans
  • Score sheets and pencils
  • Clipboards - for volunteers
  • Stop Sign
  • Bicycles and helmets

Organize so there is as little waiting as possible.

Divide the Cub Scouts and rotate them through the different areas.

Station One: Inspection Station –  The Cub Scout needs to have his bike checked for safety. Ask your local policeman to come and check the bike.

Station Two: Ride on the line – Make a wide line and have the Cub Scout ride his bike down the line. The line should be no longer than 12 feet.

Station Three: Helmet and bike check –Check the helmet fit and seat height. Know how to use a lock and cable to secure a bike.

Station Four: Safe Driving - Have the Cub Scouts ride their bikes around traffic cones. The leaders can choose the pattern of the cones.

Station Five: On the Street - Create an intersection on the parking lot.  Have the Cub Scouts demonstrate how to cross an intersection safely.

Station Six: Steering - Make a circle with the tape.  Have the Cub Scouts ride their bike around the circle, staying on the tape as much as possible.

Station Seven:  - Recognition - Cub Scouts receive recognition for rodeo participation and have a snack.

Fun on Wheels Rodeo
Trapper Trails

How about a bike rodeo this month?? –

Obstacle course, hand signal test, races, safety check, best decorated bike contest. Farmer Insurance representatives have great pamphlets. Local police are a great resource.

A bicycle rodeo is designed to promote bicycle safety and test specific skills on a designated course. Safety and skills can be easily adapted for skateboards, roller blades, and scooters.

This event can be held at a pack level, involving families, and a representative from the local police department to conduct the bicycle inspection and safety review. Or a den can hold a bike rodeo with just a little ingenuity, sidewalk chalk or empty cans to mark the course, and an open area. Every boy should bring his own bicycle, scooter, etc. All boys must wear a helmet whenever they are riding a bicycle.

Bicycle Inspection: -- Check the size and condition of your child’s bicycle.

  • Size: Children should be able to stand flat footed over the bicycle with at least one inch between the bicycle’s top tube (boy’s bicycle) and the rider. Inexperienced riders should be able to put both feet on the ground while sitting on the seat. For more experienced riders, the legs should be just slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke with the ball of the foot on the pedal. The bicycle seat should be level and not tilted forward or backward.
  • Brakes: Coaster brakes - Push the bike forward while pushing back on one pedal; the rear tire should skid. Make sure the brake arm is attached to the frame at the rear wheel. Hand brakes - ensure brake pads are not worn and that they hit the wheels evenly. The brake levers should work smoothly and have one inch of clearance from the handlebars when the brakes are fully applied.
  • Wheels and Tires: Check to see if the handlebars are tightly fastened by holding the front wheel between your legs and trying to turn the handlebars to the side. If they move, the bolt at the handlebar stem needs to be tightened.
  • Frame and Fork: Check the frame and fork (the metal arms on either side of the front wheel) for basic straightness. If the frame or fork are not straight, or are cracked, bring it to your local bike shop for repair.

This list is an overview of the most basic elements of bicycle maintenance. If you suspect that your bicycle is not working properly, bring it to your local bicycle repair shop for further inspection and repair.

Skills: (The course design on p. 6-12 in the Cub Scout Leaders How To Book is a clear illustration)

  • Start: Mount the bike and coast, while turning your head to the left and right– but not the bike.
  • Intersection: Use arm signals. Obey traffic lights and sign. Mark out an intersection 6 feet from corner to corner. Make stop signs from cardboard cut into an octagon and painted. Make signal lights from holiday lights or lamps with colored cellophane coverings.
  • Steering course. Mark out a straight path 4 feet wide and 30 feet long. This tests your ability to hold a straight course. Ride at a comfortable speed.
  • Circle riding: Mark out a figure eight with the circles having exterior diameters of 29 feet and a path 2-3 feet wide. Ride the figure eight 1 ½ times.
  • Steering Control / Zigzag Course. Place empty cans or cartons at 10 foot intervals in a straight line. Steer to the right of the first can, to the left of the second, to the right of the third and so forth. This tests your ability to shift balance while changing direction.
  • Riding the Spiral: Draw a large spiral on the ground (about 20 feet across) with the lines spaced 30” apart as they progress toward the center; mark an X at the center point. Ride at any speed, trying not to touch the lines. Place your foot down at the X.
  • Braking Area: Set up flags or cans at regular intervals (or mark lines across a straight course) Keep pedaling at a comfortable speed until a whistle blows. Then stop without skidding. The leader should blow the whistle when the rider is even with any flag. The rider should stop before the next flag (or measure the stopping distance with a tape measure).
  • Speed Area: Mark a straight course or a course with curves. Ride as slowly as possible, keeping your balance on the bike.

Bicycle Gymkhana
Santa Clara County Council

See the full-page illustration near the end of this issue for how to set up this type of Bike Rodeo.  I think I would use a lower jump ramp or substitute some other event.  For more idea – you can google “bicycle gymkhana” – I got over 33,000 hits!!!

How To for Bike Rodeos:
Especially Helpful for Adults -


www.eduref.org/Virtual/Lessons/Health/Safety/SFY005.html suggested format for rodeo


www.ci.fortcollins.co.us/bicycling/bike-rodeo.php - bike rodeo kit available free of charge to local organizations or schools

www.SafeNebraska.org Bike rodeo kits for loan in portions of Nebraska

Or go to a Bike Rodeo – here are a few Alice found -

Kid’s Bike Rodeos or Family Bike Events:

Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ – June 1-2   Annual Greer Days – includes Bike Rodeo – Contact: http://ci.pinetop-lakeside.az.us/calendarofevents.htm  or (928) 368-8696 ext. 224

Arkansas – Little Rock, North Little Rock & Saline County Bike Rodeo (various dates in May/June) contact: Ray Rizzardi: rrizzardi@comcast.net or 771-1147

Berkeley, CA - May 12, 11-3pm @ San Pablo Park, Free, poster contest, mock “city” to practice safe riding, games, much more. Call: Tasha Tervalon, City of Berkeley (510)981-5347

Los Angeles, CA – June 10 – 7th Annual L.A. River Ride, ages 7 and up (FEE) – family fun ride, gourmet Barbeque, T-shirts, prizes and goody bags, Daryl Hannah hosting http://labike.org

Denver, CO – June 30 – 27th Annual Fat Tire Bike Week (mountain bikes)  (FEE) – includes kid’s rides, games, activities  (800) 545-4505 or www.ftbw.com

Peoria, Illinois – June 23  Community Bicycle Rodeo 10-11:30 at the American Red Cross, ages 6-12, Free event and Free helmets to first 100 kids!  (309)677-7272

Village of the Lake in the Hills, Illinois  June 2, 9, 23, 12-2pm, Bike Rodeo (FEE)  Contact: (847) 960-7400

Eureka, Illinois – June 16 – Davenport Elementary  10am – Bike checks, Bike Rodeo, prizes for everyone  (309)467-3789

Gary, Indiana – June 11 – Indiana University Northwest, 1-3pm, Free Bike Rodeo, prize drawing  Contact: Mary Lee (219) 980-6702

Michigan City, Indiana – June 2- Kid’s Bike Rodeo, Kessling Park in La Porte, 8am – Call 873-1506 ext. 302 for information

Gardner, KS – June 23, 2007 – 1-3 pm.– GEHS Parking Lot – Free event, ages 12 and under, reg. deadline June 15 http://www.gardnerkansas.gov/parks/event-bikerodeo.php

St. Paul, MN – Each Saturday from June 2-Aug. 25 – Bike with a ranger along the Mississippi – ages 5 and up; register in advance.  (651) 293-0200 or www.nps.gov/miss

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – Mendakota Park, June 2, Bike Rodeo, petting zoo, fire truck rides, martial arts demonstrations (651) 452-1850

Omaha, Nebraska – May 20, 12-3pm, Chalco Hills – safety checks, Bike Rodeo, food and refreshments, drawings for great prizes, Free helmets for those that need them (while supplies last)

ALSO: June 2 – Bike Trail Ride Safety Rewards Day (various locations) – Get “caught” riding safe for rewards – http://www.SafeNebraska.org

Albuquerque, NM – June 9 – Bike Instruction for parents and kids 9-13. $10 – Contact: Julie Luna (505) 265-9357 or jaluna@swcp.com

Albany, NY – June 20 – Bike Safety Day at Crossgates Mall, 4-7pm, Bike Rodeo, Free Helmet (518) 445-7510 or acba@albanycountybar.com

Cincinnati, OH – June 11 from 10-12, Bike Rodeo, lunch, 1 mile ride, ages 5-13.  Contact: Officer Mel Wright  341-3535 or Officer Ryan Strange 341-3018

Eugene, OR – June 2 – Bike Day at Science Factory Children’s Museum, 12-4, $4 for adults, call: (541) 682-7888 or go to www.sciencefactory.org

Pittsburg, PA – Fox Chapel School District Bike Rodeo, May 12,  10-12, Bring bike and helmet (helmets available at nominal cost), also instruction for adults in how to keep kids safe, register by May 11th.  Contact: Alex Slezak, Rodeo Director at Alexander_Slezak@fcasd.edu.  Info:  http://www.fcasd.edu/mambo/index.php

Mesquite, TX - June 2 – 5 mile family fun ride starts at 8:10am – not recommended for children under 8, but mostly flat, with one rest stop.  $20 adults, $10 kids.  Free T-shirt for first 1500 riders, benefits Mesquite charities and scholarships. (972) 741-5900

Alleghany, VA – May 2007 – Kid’s Day and Bike Rodeo at Main St. Park, Covington, 10-2 pm – games, jumps, refreshments, ages 5-13,   Contact:  Peggy Redmon (540) 965-1770

Arlington, VA – June 3 – 7 mile family ride $15 per person or $30 per family before 5/31 – children 13 and under free.  Bike and helmet rentals available – free city cycling class available.  10-12 Free Bike Rodeo for kids up to age 12.  (202) 518-0524 or http://www.bikearlington.com

North Bend, WA – June 16 at North Bend Elementary from 10-2pm;  Free Bike helmets while supplies last.  Bring bike, helmet, gloves if you have them.  Safety course, light maintenance  (425) 888-4433 or www.ci.northbend.wa.us

Charleston, WV – May 19th– 12 noon, Bike Rodeo and Safety Course, Kid’s races, free T-shirt to first 100, www.iplayoutside.com/ (click on Sat. May 19 Tour de Lake event)

If you are looking for Bike rodeos, instruction, rides, camps, whatever, check online for your area(Just Google: bike rodeos, your location) – Parks departments, Chambers of Commerce, Bicycling clubs, State, county or regional Kid’s Safety departments or organizations – Check with your local librarian or in the local events page of your newspaper.  Your city, county or state police departments often have bicycle safety information as well.   Alice


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