The signs directing us to Hecksher State Park assured us that it was time for Gary and Dan to get off the parkway. We pulled up to Field 2 to find the Bike Rodeo and a few members of the Boy Scout Troop there with their families. Carmelita had arrived just minutes before us and she came over to help us set up our booth. We had agreed to provide a tire inspection/inflation station along with a demonstration of how to fix a flat tire. This was to be just one of many stations being set up to train the youngsters how to properly adjust their helmets, inspect their bikes for safety, navigate obstacles.
We set up the booth quickly which left plenty of time to catch a ride, so we hopped on our mountain bikes and took a spin around the park. Hecksher is a cool park with bikes paths, hiking trails, beaches, nice views, plenty of cyclists and lots of wind... the two of us agreed that a ride needed to be planned to this location. We will definitely have to plan a ride out here.
The two flat tire fixers returned back to the site to see that the obstacle course was ready. In the remaining time before the demos were to begin we ran the course to evaluate our skills. Some of the older kids were already testing the course and blazed right through it with flying colors. Gary on the other hand, had some trouble. In spite of keen concentration and repeated efforts, Gary failed miserably! At least we made him wear a helmet to insure that he didn't break anything with his head if he crashed...
The Scouts began to pouring in, which meant it was time to start doing tire demonstrations. A flow of kids began to develop between the different stations. Children with properly adjusted helmets started to line up at the Pedal Pusher table. As they did Gary or Dan asked, "Well, what can we do for you?"
The scout would often reply, "The man over there (Gesturing) says I need some air in my tires."
Gary or Dan would question, "Ok, how much air do you need?"
The youth would inevitably answer (with a confused look on his face), "I don't know?"
Then the experts would proceed to show the children how to find their tires' pressure rating and how to pump them up.
Then with awed faces the kids would say, "Wow, that's a lot of P.S.I.'s"
Of course the two mechanics found several bikes that needed some additional care. Dan must have straightened, fixed and repumped 70-100 valves and fixed several sets of brakes. While at the same time Gary rotated a fork to actually point forward, helped a kid fit his bike so that the brakes would work better and fixed his share of tires also.
This experience may have been as educational for the instructors as it was for the children. It was alarming for the adults to see the number of children riding on improperly setup or unsafe bikes. But it was reassurring to know that 200 scouts would be a bit safer thanks to the efforts of the Boy Scouts and all the other volunteers that helped out.