1.15.2006

ah
blogging, a whiskey and coke, and the distraction of cable television
perhaps a little reread of this last post may aid in allowing this to make sense

Bike Rodeo at the Fitness Expo

this weekend a portion of my saturday was spent working the bike rodeo at the nbc four health and fitness expo at the dc convention center
it was a wild little scene
not just the bike rodeo but the fitness expo as a whole
this convention center experience is a part of city culture that would not occur for me to investigate had I not volunteered to help out with the waba/city bikes booth

first trip to the new convention center
first trip to a health and fitness expo
the whole thing is quite a scene
booth after booth after booth giving out a key chain that will never get to meet a set of keys
all sorts of free pamphlets that may never get read
wrist bands to causes that people don't even know

that said
there were free flu shots, cpr classes, cooking classes, fitness, safety booths
there were consultations for quiting smoking
there were free massages
heart and blood pressure tests
there were climbing walls and emergency vehciles
Home Depot aprons and a wooden craft project for holding a potted plant
still not sure what home depot that has little to do with health or fitness
but they had a great little craft set up with the highlight of that free mini orange apron for the kids

it was vast
a labrynth of health and fitness
guide dogs and face painting
raffles, roulette wheels, virtual longest drive, and other fair-esque fun
there was food
there was safety
there was education
some food for free
some food for sale
there was performance
there was competition
there were games and play areas
there were corners of the convention center room that I did not touch upon

the whole fitness expo was a two day affair
two full days of free fitness fun

saturday was my day to do my part with the folks of WABA
that is... the washington area bicycle association
it was a little bit of local whose who in bicycle advocacy
i was one of many small people in the presence of some pretty active individuals
phil koopman co-owner of city bikes was sharing the word of commuting
scott scudmore of more was working a position I was going to fill in the rodeo so he could go back to the booth of a cycling not for profit that slips me (but it will come back to me, was it bikes to the world? no?)
then of course there were some waba heavy hitters, dorcas and maggie to name a few

quickly I tried to fit in
some handshakes
some hellos
some explanation of the rodeo course and the rodeo routine
in minutes I was on my way

with pride I was wearing my city bikes wool jersey as I worked with other rodeo volunteers to try and get a rhythm
there were people handling waivers
there were people handling helmets
there were people organizing lines
there were people handling people
there were a few of us maning various points of the rodeo course
somehow in the evolution of the morning I moved from post to post
finally finding that I worked most efficiently working moving along side of the kids for several of the rodeo stops
with the kids who could ride I ran along side of them and barked orders and encouragement like it was an agility training event
when there was time offering a second loop with less guidance and only encouragement
there were kids who could not ride without training wheels yet were on bikes without training wheels
there were others that had to be caught before crashing
handbrakes were new to many
at least one child rode without training wheels for the first time

each kid was a quick little puzzle
first get a read of their personality
then get a read of their ability
inform them about the bike
inform them about braking
verify their understanding of hand brake only
then reexplain the course
on the first pedal stroke... re-evaluate their ability to ride a bike
adjust accordingly

eye contact was good and safety was stressed
no one went to the ER while I was on duty
not even me

the kids seemed to have a good time
I definitely had a good time

after my efforts at the rodeo ended I lent a little time to Phil's commuter section of the booth
tried to preach the word of the bicycle to those that would listen

it was a windy ride cross town to get there and back
not enough distance to really call a ride
but it was most definitely windy
it was most definitely cold

sunday was a little different
this time I was not there as volunteer
this time I went to the convention center with my two boys dean and grant
we went early after a breakfast outing
while lisa went to yoga then got to walk the dogs
after a warm breakfast at the adams morgan diner we went to the convention center
it was there that we learned that we were not the only early birds
it was difficult finding a space
but not absurd
difficult just the same

the morning into the afternoon was killed wandering around from booth to booth
running from tall fish with feet
running to the clowns making animals with balloons

coaching the boys to be polite and not grab
teaching the boys to be thankful when they were given the swag from each booth
allowing the boys space where they found interest
luring them away when I felt it was time to migrate to the next booth or activity

a good way to spend a cold windy winter day
lisa got a kick out of the polaroids from the got milk booth
lisa got to go to yoga and hike the dogs for a bit in the woods
the orange home depot aprons were worn well into the late afternoon
vanity mirrors, pencils, magnifying glasses, stickers, tattoos, condoms
free samples of things I am not familiar with all got poured onto the floor
as the boys searched their baskets for forgotten treasures
a few pieces of candy
a blow up beach ball from the circus booth
each piece junk reminded me of part of the day
and maybe will act to remind some people of health or fitness
the fireman's helmets came out after dinner

WABA
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City Bikes DC



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