We present many short bicycle skills courses (usually known as bike rodeos) for neighborhood groups, schools, scouts etc. These 1-4 hour events introduce basic traffic concepts and bike-handling skills, with a chance to practice them in a car-free setting like a closed parking lot, for children, youth, or adults. Besides how to fit a helmet and check the mechanical safety of their bikes, students learn the meaning of “yield” and “right of way” — and how to watch out for other road users who haven’t! They also practice steering around obstacles, stopping and starting safely and efficiently, and scanning for road hazards and other traffic around them. Youth and adult programs also include practicing evasive maneuvers. All are based on the League of American Bicyclists’ Smart Cycling curriculum.
When bikes are brought to rodeos which don’t pass the Safety Check station, we try to do minor repairs while the participant uses a loaner bike for the course. If unsafe bikes are expected to be a common issue we can address these — and some more major repairs — with a separate service before the rodeo, in an intensive bike-repair session we call a “fixathon.” We can also provide this as a stand-alone service; for instance, to facilitate and encourage cycling in neighborhoods without a bike shop.
We’ll work with a community partner group to identify a suitable location like a rec center or school gym, and bring a team of experienced mechanics and all the parts, tools and supplies needed to fix as many bikes as possible as fast as possible (hence the “fixathon” name!). Since the Covid pandemic we have started offering this program remotely; picking up the bikes from a neighborhood partner’s location, repairing them over the next week or so, and returning them ready to ride for a rodeo or community ride, if desired.
For years the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op has helped people use bikes to attend large public events like Burning River Fest or Parade the Circle by parking and watching their bikes in a secure, convenient location, and assisting with minor on-the-spot repairs as needed. We also rent semi-secure portable racks and streamlined this service so that it can be administered by event organizers’ staff or volunteers, or even offered as a self-park if demand is small but secure bike locking spots are scarce. This service helps organizers produce events that are more attractive to cyclists and safer for all, by providing an organized, designated area for bike parking.
A Bike Scavenger Hunt is a great way to help a lot of people to use their bikes all at once, with all the camaraderie and support of an organized event, but without the logistical difficulties of mass-start rides, the “herd mentality” of bikeathons, or the obvious illegality of alleycat races and Critical Mass.
Group bike rentals and tours
We rent basic bikes for groups of 5 or more, who can provide their members’ sizes and damage deposits in advance, and pay the rental fee in one payment at the time of the rental ( for corporate groups payment and any damage fees can be invoiced together after the rental). Group rates are $20/half day or $30/day. Delivery is available for up to 50 bikes for $100 per trip anywhere in Cuyahoga County, and beyond for $2/mile additional.
We provide League of American Bicyclist-certified ride leaders for groups, with or without rentals, starting from our shop in the Flats (1/4 mi. from the Towpath Trail Canal Basin Park) or other locations. Custom-designed sightseeing routes of the Flats and Downtown Cleveland are available on a range of topics, from baseball history to local poets.
Pre-ride safety briefings
For bicycling events held on open roads, as most are, it is important for the safety of the riders — and the liability of the organizers — that participants understand their rights and responsibilities toward other cyclists and traffic, and take responsibility for the mechanical safety of their bikes. OCBC has extensive experience providing this information in a fun and engaging way. Safety talks should be scheduled early in the year, and require a PA system for greater than 50 riders, or enough time to schedule a series of smaller groups.
Assemblies and other large-group presentations
Presentations to large groups address topics of specific interest to each group, so must be scheduled at least one month in advance. A computer projector and screen are usually needed, and a PA system for outdoor groups larger than 75 is required. Our fee for this program is $200 for up to two hours, with scholarships available for qualifying groups. Standard school assemblies usually address K – 3rd, 4 – 6th, and 7 – 8th separately.
We are often asked to present bike safety education as part of a larger program, such as Active Living by Design, Safe Routes To Schools, or Bicycle Friendly Communities. A good example of this is the Steps to a Healthier Cleveland program, which we taught to fourth grade students in ten Cleveland schools, and continued under the CMSD Safe Routes to Schools program.
In designing the Steps Bicycle Ed program, we were challenged to leave the most meaningful impression on the greatest number of students in the shortest amount of time, so this program was presented in a series of only three visits: an assembly, an in-class lesson, and a class-period of on-bike skills drills in the school parking lot. In this setting it was also important for what we taught to relate to standard curriculum, so we customized the program to do that as well.
Other examples of customized short programs we have designed and presented are large-group safety orientations for charity rides, volunteer training for a free, community bike-share project, and workplace wellness programs on bike commuting.
We also provide consulting services on safety, mapping, and logistics to organizations presenting bike rides or other events.