Biking to School: Why, When, and How

Many adults can recall a time when they took their bicycles anywhere and everywhere, sometimes miles from home without a backward glance from their parents. However, the times have changed and safety has increasingly become a well-founded concern for parents of young children.S13PH_21147

The dual questions of: when is my child ready to bike to school alone and will they be able to get from home to school and back safely continue to rise parental concern and leave parents asking is it worth the risk to even let them bike?

So let’s break it down!

AGE:

lilly1The age a child starts biking to school is a big concern for many parents, but there is really no right answer to this because every child is different and develops at different times. For some children this can be as early as third grade or perhaps younger, for others it may mean middle school is the best time for them to begin biking. Therefore, it is important to go by what feels right to you as a parent, for your child, and your family. A great way to learn if your child is ready is to start by biking with them to school. This way you can see where their skill level is at and if there are things they still need to learn you can teach them as they go. After you believe they might be ready you can always do what my father did and follow them, secretly, in the car to reassure yourself that they are in fact ready to bike on their own.

Another great way to let your child ease into biking to school is by starting out young and giving them levels of freedom. Perhaps first they are just allowed to bike around the block alone. Then to a nearby park; each time increasing the distance and practicing this new form of communication.

If you are not comfortable with your student biking alone it is possible that a bike train in your community already exists or you could create one. A bike train is a group of children who bike to school together every day and are led by an adult supervisor. For more information click here.

Fact: According to the Safe Routes to School website: “In 1969, 48 percent of children 5 to 14 years of age usually walked or bicycled to school. Compare that to 2009, where 13 percent of children 5 to 14 years of age usually walked or bicycled to school.

SAFETY:

lilly2Many parents’ biggest fears are about traffic and safety and living in an area with high levels of traffic make this quite understandable. To address this concern it is good practice to ask yourself if biking to school is a possible option for your child, for some parents who live far away or in a very busy town the answer may be no, but perhaps there is another route to school that is safe for your child. If a safe route exists you can ride with your child and teach them how to ride the route safely; where the stop signs are; where they should be riding their bike; and areas where they may have to be more cautious.

Secondly, more general safety concerns can be prevented by teaching your child both the rules of the road and safe practices such as wearing a helmet every time they are on their bicycle. These lessons can be instilled early and be non-negotiable rules when your child is on their bike. For more educational information about safe riding and how to correctly wear a helmet check out the Bicycle Safer Journey which provides videos and quizzes to educate your child and have them sign the pledge to wear there helmet every time they ride their bike on Helmets on Heads

HEALTH:

Lilly3Finally, it is easy to say that there are just too many concerns and questions to deal with or that the risk is not worth it, but conceder this. According to Momentum Magazine “studies demonstrate that a 30-minute walk or bike ride to school greatly increase a child’s ability to focus in the class room”. To top that, the USDA recommends 60 minutes of physical activity for children each day. With the staggering numbers reported pertaining to childhood obesity and inactiveness biking proves to be a potentially successful way for children to not only hit their levels of active minutes each day and maintain a healthy weight, but also be more focused in school.

RESOURCES:

For more information check out these great resources!

Safe Routes to School: http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/

Bicycle Safer Journey: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/bicyclesaferjourney/

Helmets on Heads: http://www.helmetsonheads.org/

Get Out and Ride!

-Samantha C.

 

Advertisements

National Center for Safe Routes to School and Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads Mini-Grants Program

safe_routes_to_schools_logoThe National Center for Safe Routes to School and Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads program are teaming up to provide 25 $1,000 mini-grants to 25 schools across the country.  These mini-grants support a common goal of both organizations: to support educators, communities and families in encouraging children to safely bike to school.

“Communities across the country continue to be creative and successful in finding ways to make it safer for children to bicycle to school,” says Lauren Marchetti, Director of the National Center.  “We want to use these mini-grants to help support schools in their efforts to cultivate a culture of safe bicycling and helmet use for students.”

Applications are now being accepted for mini-grant activities planned for the second half of the 2014-2015 school year. These funds can be used to fund activities ranging from the nuts and bolts to help start or sustain bicycling programs, to new, inspiring ideas that explore the range of benefits of safe bicycling.  Selected mini-grant proposals will fit a school’s needs and interests around safe bicycling and helmet safety education, and will require that correct helmet use be a mandatory component of any program. Recipients are also asked to share the Helmets on Heads pledge with students or youth involved in their program.

Helmets-on-heads-blog“Schwinn, through the Helmets on Heads initiative, is excited to team up with the National Center to offer support to schools throughout the U.S.,” says Milissa Rick, Global Director of Consumer Activation, Pacific Cycle. “These grants will aid local communities in educating children and parents about the importance of wearing a helmet each and every time they ride a bicycle. And we think that this kind of local level education is one of the best ways to help instill good cycling habits.”

Mini-grant applications are due Wednesday, October 22, 2014, and award winners will be announced in December. The mini-grant activities should occur between January 1, 2015, and the end of the Spring 2015 semester.

Download the application or apply online.

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Vasu

Communications Manager, Safe Routes to School Programs

vasu@hsrc.unc.edu

(919) 962-7769

A Safe Summer with John Wayne Cancer Foundation

Looking for something fun to do with the kids this summer? Schwinn and the John Wayne Cancer Foundation Block the Blaze skin cancer education program have teamed up to host an exciting video contest. The contest makes learning about skin cancer prevention and self screening simple, easy and fun!John Wayne

Entering is easy!

Anyone age 9 (as of June 1st) and older can submit a 15 second video with sun safe tips for preventing skin cancer and up to 10 winners will receive a Schwinn Cruiser bike! Plus the top 10 ranked video submissions will be posted on John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s social channels and website. Talk about 15 seconds of fame!

Videos can be submitted until August 24th so start brainstorming now! Entries will be accepted on YouTube, Instagram and can be submitted here: http://bit.ly/SunSafe4Schwinn

Both Schwinn through its nonprofit foundation Helmet on Heads and John Wayne Cancer Foundation are committed to educate the public about staying safe while having fun outdoors. Safe habits are best learned when young and can be contagious when the youth get behind it. After all who better to communicate the importance of a healthy lifestyle to kids than kids themselves!

Need a bit of inspiration to get started? Think of the 5 sun safe tips: sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, cover with clothing and seek shade. Check out this video below that several junior lifeguards put together to remind people to say #sunsafe4schwinn this summer and every summer!

Beating the Summertime Blahhs: DIY Whimsical Picnic

Summer is a wonderful time when you are a kid. There is no school, just a few organized sports games or other activities in the evenings and ample amount of time to catch up on all that play time you have missed during the school year.

The first few weeks are always a blast! There are so many things to do and see, but inevitably the Summer boredom eventually kicks in.
So what do you do when the daytime blahhs occur and the kids are saying “I’m bored” every two minutes?

FacebookTwitterWell this is exactly the conversation I had with my friend Lizzy last week. I am expecting my two younger cousins, ages 12 and 9 to come over for a weekend and although I am excited to see them, I have been incredibly nervous about how to keep them entertained for a whole weekend and stay within my small budget (aka keeping it as free as possible).

Lizzy happens to be a babysitter for two children around the same age and had just recently taken the kids to what she told them would be an over-the-top picnic adventure at a local park that was just a short bike ride from the house. She let me in on a few of her strategies to create a whimsical picnic, keep the munchkins entertained, and your wallet happy.

Tips to create an affordable and whimsical picnic:

1. Utilize what you already have at home:

  • Lizzy took inventory the day before of everything the family already had, such as a bed sheet, several board games, a few crates and bungee cords to carry the items on the bicycles, and cake mix for a cupcake snack.
  • Using items that were already available made her shopping list short and also helped to rejuvenate items that the kids had grown bored of. After all Yahtzee at an outdoor picnic is much more entertaining than Yahtzee at a kitchen table.

2. Add a touch of whimsy:

  • Since Lizzy wanted the picnic to be extra special she went to pick up a few added decorations from Walmart the night before.
  • A few simple and affordable decorations such as lanterns, paper flowers, pillows, and candles help make the atmosphere that much more exciting and gives the picnic that over-the-top extravagant feeling.
  • The kids also like helping to decorate the picnic area with fun and colorful decorations!

3. Make travel simple, fun, and a healthy experience:

  • Lizzy thought it would be a great idea to get to the picnic by bicycle. The kids already had two Mongoose bicycles in the garage so all she had to do was ride her Schwinn Cruiser over that morning and strap the crates on to the bikes with bungee cords.
  • Biking to your destination gives it a secretive and fun feel reminiscent of the book The Secret Garden and adds to the whole experience.
  • Plus, bonus points, biking is great exercise and gets the kids moving!

4. Let them take control of setting up the picnic:

  • Once you get to your destination let the kids set up all the goodies that you have packed in the crate. This well help them feel like they helped create the picnic and makes it even more special!

5. Enjoy!

  • After all the setup is complete the possibilities are endless! Play games, eat cupcakes, watch the clouds, and enjoy the spontaneity of a whimsical picnic!
    IMG_0027IMG_0047

Kiss those blahh days away and Get Out and Ride!

– Samantha C.

 

Earth to Echo: A Lesson in Friendship

Discovery. Adventure. Friendship.

10373849_321818194640461_5171572369054710151_nThese are just some of the tag lines that perfectly describe the new Earth to Echo movie about three inseparable friends whose lives undergo an incredible change.

Now being a twenty-three year old woman I have to admit I was not expecting to be entertained when I first sat down to a prescreening of Earth to Echo, but I dragged my friend Ben with me, popped some popcorn and decided to embrace my inner child.

…and were we surprised. Not only were we, two postgraduates, entertained; we were thoroughly engaged. We didn’t multitask, talk, or check our phones we were just watching. We were a part of the story.

Earth to Echo castEarth to Echo follows the story of Tuck, Munch, and Alex who are a trio of best friends that are being forced to move because a highway is being built through their community. Each boy has their own quirks which makes them both misfits and highly relatable to all kids (after all who didn’t grow up thinking they were a bit different?).  Yet, just as they are beginning to pack up and move away from each other something strange begins to happen to their cellphones. What occurs next is an adventure of a lifetime shot in first person point of view via GoPros, YouTube, smartphones, and even text messaging which is right up Gen Y’s alley and may have played a role in us putting our own phones down for a bit. Furthermore, the characters travel independently just like most kids (and some adults like me) do, by bike! What better way to show case the freedom and chance for adventure that both technologies offer kids.

Anyways, Ben and I are were thoroughly engrossed in the movie and reflected about it afterwards; we related to some of our own experiences, reflected on what we were like at that age, and also decided that we were due for a real spontaneous and crazy adventure too!S14_EarthToEcho_FBPost-1v2

We can’t all discover aliens though.

Which is why I am excited to announce Schwinn’s latest contest; “Explore Your World”! Here at Schwinn we partnered up with Earth to Echo, Delta Vacations, AND Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex in order to bring a chance for one lucky winner to go on an adventure that almost rivals Tuck, Munch and Alex’s.

On July 14th one lucky winner will receive a trip for them and three friends to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, travel courtesy of Delta Vacations AND a bike for them and three friends that they get to choose from the Schwinn Shop Now site AND four Schwinn Blutunes Speakers so that they can stay technologically ahead and play their Earth to Echo playlist on the go!

Unfortunately for us, Ben and I may not have an adventure that good anytime soon, but I think that everyone can learn a valuable lesson from the movie and characters in Earth to Echo. We discovered that same lesson just a few weeks later with a group of friends on an epic canoe trip down the Wisconsin River. It is also the lesson we learned last year when we had Christmas in July (see photo below). This lesson being that friendship is the greatest adventure of all!Christmas in July

Enter to win the Schwinn Explore Your World Sweepstakes here.

Get Out and Ride!

– Samantha

Learn 2 Ride: A ‘Push’ in the Right Direction

8Since working for a bike company I have begun to feel like I have a responsibility to encourage more people to get on bikes and enjoy riding. I also like to volunteer when I can, so with these interests in mind I signed up to be a volunteer at the annual Madison Recreation Learn 2 Ride event. This year Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads was a sponsor of the event so it was a great chance for me to see how kids in such a great bike town like Madison can learn to ride.

As I rode my bike to the event I reflected on my experience learning to ride a bike. I remembered the hand-me-down Schwinn that rattled with noisy training wheels and the inner frustration of seeing friends and siblings pedaling off while I was still wobbling behind them. Eventually I was able to master what seemed then unachievable and the open bike ride became mine.

It was a huge relief when my son didn’t have to learn the same way I had. When he was 4 one of the neighborhood kids about the same age had already learned to ride without training wheels. My son was immediately interested and our neighbors let him borrow the special training bike that their child had learned on. It was a balance bike or sometimes called a “strider bike” it had a small wheel size and no pedals or crank arms. My son spent the next two weeks gliding up and down the sidewalk sitting on the bike and pushing with his feet. Soon he could steer and balance the bike without his feet touching the ground for long lengths and then he was ready for his own bike with pedals. Amazing! What took me years took him only a few days! It was fantastic that he easily learned without the frustration I had remembered as a child.

When I arrived at the event I donned my volunteer t-shirt and then got my instructions. Everyone that volunteered was sourced from various groups around the city that had bike, helmet fitting, or bike mechanic experience. Cristine, the leader, reminded us that we were not just there to work, but we were also there to be positive and give encouragement to the kids in the form of high fives. The bright green volunteers’ shirt even said “I like high fives and I cannot lie”.

2Soon students and parents arrived for the class. Each of the parents had been asked to prep the child’s bike for the class by removing the training wheels and pedals from the student’s bike and lowering the seat on the bike so the child could put their feet flat on the ground while sitting on the seat. After the bikes were ready to go the students were each asked to sign the Helmets on Heads pledge; that they would wear their helmets each time they road their bike. Then they were treated to a helmet fitting and free helmet courtesy of Helmets on Heads.

10Helmet fitting was my station, so for the first part of the class we were very busy. Each student was shown the proper way to wear a helmet, how to adjust it for the right, secure fit. Many parents were unaware that the front brim of the helmet should be no more than two fingers (the child’s fingers) above the brow line. Only in this position is the helmet ready to do its job. When most bike crashes happen the rider falls to the front or the side so without the helmet in the correct position the front part of the head is unprotected and the helmet can’t function as it was designed. With the helmets fitted and in place and their bikes ready, the students were ready to hit the bike courses.

After finishing with my station I went out to the courses to see how the students were doing. Just as Christina had said there were some children that were easily getting the feel for gliding and balancing and others that looks like they would struggle for a while. In some cases you could tell by looking at the faces and body language of the student and parent that the child had been trying to learn for a long time and that this was almost a one last-ditch effort. What was clear was that no matter what brought the students and parents to the class that day each was there to face the problem head on. There was a real sense of purpose in the air.

The idea of the balance bike approach to learning is really not that new. Later, when I had time for a Google search, I learned that the idea of a balance bike was first invented by Karl Drais, a German inventor, in 1817, and was the first form of the two wheel bike we know today. The proponents of this method claim that children learn to ride faster since they first learn to balance and counter steer and then worry about pedaling later. This was the case with my son, and I was growing more convinced that it could work for others too.

Little by little as the class progressed around the bike course the length of the glides got bigger and bigger. As each student went by we encouraged them to lift their feet up a little bit more; glide just a little bit more. Some students were taking to it right away, in fact one that initially struggled when their parent was running next to them was now having success gliding and was already back at the mechanics station to get their pedals back on. Still there were some others that needed to continue with the push, push, glide, push, push, glide, technique.

One of the staff members working with a student who was getting very frustrated suggested that maybe they needed to take a 10 minute break. Looking defeated, the student headed over to a nearby curb to rest under one of the trees for a while. This gave me an opportunity to chat with the student and parent.

The parent was very appreciative of the event and said they felt they already made some great progress that day. They mentioned what a positive learning environment and relief it was to see so many other children of similar age that needed to learn to ride too. A class like this was very encouraging especially to older children that didn’t learn to ride as fast as their friends. I thought about my learning story and could see what she meant. Sometimes struggling to learn something means you feel like you are alone, struggling by yourself, and just knowing that others share your plight can be very encouraging in itself. The parent also mentioned that having other adults be the learning coach instead of the parent was also a nice change of pace. I could see her point; there was less pressure here and lots of high-fiving friendly faces. After the short break her son started making amazing progress with his gliding.

1Little by little students were growing more confident in balancing with each rotation around the course. It became clear that the reasons that a student would struggle were as varied as the students themselves. The variations of the apparent mental barriers ran the gamut; boy, girl, short, tall, older, younger, parents, no parents, athleticism, shy, fear of falling, fear of pedaling; each symptom started to erode away with each glide. Whatever the past inhibitor was, today they started to crumble and disintegrate as frustrated grimaces gave way to wide grins.

As successful gliding students got their pedals back they would come back to the course and do more laps as they got acquainted with pedaling, turning and braking. By the end of the day as students morphed into two wheeled riders the volunteers were ready to high five the world’s newest bike riders.

As an observer it was fantastic to see one of childhood’s most remembered moments and lifelong skills learned right before my eyes. It was an honor to help the students and parents conquer their learning demons. Witnessing the parents’ emotional responses felt a little like the magic of watching an infant taking their first steps.

6I would love to say that everyone that day left on two wheels, but there were still some that would need some more time and practice that the class time couldn’t allow. But those students were given a solid skill base that would have them riding when they were ready and an opportunity to come back to a future class if needed. For the many kids that did find success, they were given something priceless; the chance to feel the freedom of riding a bike. There is nothing else like it. I didn’t have to ask afterwards if the students enjoyed the class, the proud smiles on their faces said it all. I pedaled home feeling like I had done something good for the world.

Get Out and Ride!

-Katie

Check out the video from last year’s event below!

Bicycles and Life Lessons: 5 Classic Kid’s Movies

When you are a kid a bicycle is truly your vehicle to freedom and adventure and no one knows that better than Hollywood.  After all what better way to solve a crime, locate lost pirate treasures, or simply escape the world of adults than by bike. The following are five classic kids’ films and five life lessons we learned from them.  Why are we counting down these films? Well, let’s just say that we are planning another big adventure, so stay tuned!

Now and Then (1995): This movie is perhaps one of the most defining childhood movies for girls at the time (I know it was for me). Now and Then took “Girl Power” to another level. In the movie four childhood friends, Samantha, Roberta, Chrissy, and Tina return to the memories of their childhood in the momentous summer of 1970. Initially the girls’ largest concern was how to pool money for their dream treehouse, but soon after a late night cemetery séance they become obsessed with finding out what happened to “Dear Johnny”. Becoming a new age version of Nancy Drew, they use their bikes to travel to a neighboring town’s library to search for clues. In a movie about friendship and the transition to girlhood to womanhood, bicycles serve as a vehicle for freedom and sisterhood.

gifLife Lesson: True friends will always be there, no matter what happens.

pee-wees-big-adventure-dvd-coverPee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985): Pee Wee Herman, a child in his own right, goes for his first big adventure in this eighties film. After his beloved Schwinn bicycle is stolen by his arch nemesis, Francis Buxton, Pee Wee sets off on a cross-country adventure to the Alamo where he believes his bike is located. Pee Wee discovers news things, new people, and eventually ends up in Hollywood where they’re making a film about, you guessed it, bikes!

Life Lesson: Sometimes you just have to let go and enjoy the whimsy of life.

My Girl (1991): It’s the summer of 1972 and Vada, an 11 year old girl, is in love with her teacher, a hypochondriac, and obsessed with death. With a father that runs a funeral parlor and a deep seeded personal belief that she was the cause of her mother’s death, it isn’t really surprising.  Despite all of these personal quirks her best friend, Thomas J. sticks by her side. Their summer adventure is complete with kisses, bikes, and tragedies that lead to a story that shows the true growing pains of entering adolescence.large

Life Lesson: Growing up is hard and sometimes life isn’t fair, so cherish each happy memory and live each day to the fullest.

Goonies-posterThe Goonies (1985): A group a friends face the end of the world as they know it when they find out their neighborhood, aka “the Goon Docks” is facing foreclosure to make room for a Country Club. Feeling powerless to the situation the boys escape for one last adventure to save their homes after finding an old newspaper clipping, a Spanish map, and an artifact that relates to a local rumor that there is hidden pirate treasure in the area. Bikes in tow, they find themselves in a sticky situation when the map leads them to a criminal’s hideout. The Goonies is a must see for a timeless tale of just how important friendships are.

Life Lesson: “It’s our time”. Never give up on something you believe is right.

The Karate Kid (1984): “Wax on; wax off”.  After moving to California from New Jersey, the main character, Daniel finds that his mother’s promises of posh living were not completely accurate. On top of that he struggles to fit in to the local crowd and quickly accumulates grief from a group of bullies who taunt him relentlessly even when he is just off on a bike ride alone. Just when life seems like it will never get better Daniel meets his soon to be mentor, Mr. Miyagi, who shows Daniel the art of karate and shows us how to believe in ourselves.

tumblr_mn8uppjc0i1qc3bo6o1_500Life Lesson: First learn stand, then learn fly.” It takes time to reach your dreams.

Have a suggestion for movies we missed? Leave a comment and let us know your favorite classic kid’s movie that featured bicycles below!

Get out and ride!

-Samantha

National Bike to School Day, 2014

Many people are aware of May Bike Month and Bike to Work Day, but you may be less familiar with National Bike to School Day, which happens a week earlier.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

National Bike to School Day, which is coordinated each year by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, provides an opportunity for schools, communities, children, and parents to test out the idea of kids riding their bikes to school. It is a great way for everyone to experience the benefits that bicycling can bring while also providing an excellent opportunity to encourage bicycle safety.

This year Schwinn under our non-profit initiative, Helmets on Heads, was able to act both locally and nationally to help support National Bike to School Day.

Final Waunakee

Students at Waunakee

Locally, my colleague Steve and I attended the Bike to School event held at Waunakee Intermediate School. We came armed with stickers, a giant banner for the students to sign, and helmet education in order to spread the word about helmet safety. Over 200 students biked to school that day, and I am pretty sure they nearly ran out of places to put all those bikes. The PE teacher, Jason, said the kids could hardly contain their joy and that “the buzz all day was about how cool it was”. We had a lot of fun too! Too see all the pictures from the Waunakee event head over to the Helmets on Heads website: here.

Nationally, Helmets on Heads went straight to Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C. with the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Here, Safe Routes celebrated with a sendoff of more than 200 students from a dozen Washington, D.C. schools. At the event students were able to come together to celebrate biking by getting fitted for helmets, signing the Helmets on Heads pledge, collecting stickers, and biking together to school in organized bike trains.

DSC_0112

Victor Mendez, Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation

“The number of communities and families coming together to promote safe bicycling to school is inspiring,” said Lauren Marchetti, Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which coordinates National Bike to School Day. “We are thrilled to see the support and excitement for this event continuing to grow.”

More than 2,100 schools have registered so far to host a Bike to School Day event this year, already surpassing last year’s event numbers by over 400.

But we didn’t stop there!

ToysRUsedit

Lilly at Toys R Us

Schwinn wanted every kid to have the chance to be part of something bigger, so we partnered with Toys “R” Us and created an awareness in-store event. A Helmets on Heads pledge banner was the center piece. A total of 596 participating Toys “R” Us stores across the US invited kids to sign the pledge to wear their helmets every time they ride.

Schwinn offers bikes for the whole family at Toys “R” Us and realizes how essential it is to educate all riders on the importance of biking safely, and the importance of wearing a helmet each and every time they get on a bike. These pledge banners were the same ones that were brought to D.C. and Waunakee; they really helped kids see and feel like they were a part of larger cause which their peers also support!

Have you signed the pledge yet? Help us reach our goal of reaching 15,000 pledges by signing online at http://www.helmetsonheads.org/pledge/

Get Out and Ride! (but wear your helmet!)

-Samantha

Schwinn Friends: Getting Creative with Helmets

10168112_697087410350798_7506761286876563045_nAs a young child who stubbornly refused to wear a helmet unless it fit my 5 year old definition of “cool”, I was really encouraged to see a helmet that not only embraces each child’s unique personality, but also makes safety fun and exciting.

With a contest on Facebook currently up on RideSchwinn, where 18 participants will win their favorite helmet and a launch date for the newest Schwinn Friends 3D helmets coming up this Easter, April 20, 2014, I decided to ask the product team, a few questions about how they came up with this idea.

Brian & Kylee

Brian & Kylee

Brian Koons: Is a Product Manager at Pacific Cycle, and one of the Schwinn Friends 3D helmet designers. He is fluent in German and spent time living and working abroad in both Heidelberg and Nuremberg, Germany. Brian is a bit crazy for football (the kind you play with your feet) and has attended 3 World Cups. A true old fashioned gentleman, Brian’s “special lady” is his pup, Kylee.

Schwinn:What inspired the design/concept of Schwinn Friends 3D helmets?

Brian Koons: The Schwinn Friends 3D helmets were a collaborative effort among Molly, and Terry, of the product development team, and myself, but we also had a lot of help from our manufacturing partners to make this happen. After we came up with 40 unique designs we decided to ask kids what they liked best. They picked their favorites and from that we came up with a final six, the last four of which will be in stores this Easter. With these new helmets, we wanted to offer something that engaged and excited kids at their level. By letting kids customize their own helmets the joy of toy-like products and the quality of Schwinn helmets come together into a helmet that both delights and protects. In short, we made safety fun.

Schwinn:How do you think this design will encourage kids to wear their helmets?

Brian Koons: We’ve really blurred the lines of “I have to wear my helmet” which is safety oriented, and “I want to wear my helmet” which is fun. With the ability to customize and create unique versions of the characters, kids will be able to express themselves in their own way and wearing their helmet will be fun and exciting which will equal a desire to ultimately wear it. A helmet will only work if kids wear it.

Schwinn:What should parents look for whenever purchasing a helmet for their kids, or for themselves?

Brian Koons: Fit is of the upmost importance. Always try on and adjust the helmet when shopping, because, if the helmet does not fit properly it may not perform as intended. (For more information on how to properly fit a helmet please visit http://www.helmetsonheads.org/)S14_3DHelmets_Tab_Large

Schwinn:Where and when can the Schwinn Friends 3D helmets be purchased from?

Brian Koons: These helmets can be found now in Wal-Mart stores and on Wal-Mart.com.

Schwinn: What designs are available now, and can we expect any new designs in the future?

Brian Koons: Both our Rockstar Helmet and Pink Princess Helmet are available NOW in-store and online at Wal-Mart. The Puppy, Monster, Butterfly, and Lizard will be available this coming Easter also at Wal-Mart.

How to make the Dizzard using the Puppy and Lizard helmets!

How to make the Dizzard

Schwinn: One unique thing about these helmets is that kids are not limited to the suggested design on the box, in fact Brian has been sporting his own zany combination in the office.

Brian, can you explain your unique helmet creation that you came up with using the helmet plug-ins?

Brian Koons: This helmet is called the “Dizzard” it is a combination of both the Puppy (Dog) and the Lizard. It sort of represents me as well; 1 part adorable and 2 parts crazy.

Want to win a Schwinn Friends 3D helmet? Vote for your favorite at RideSchwinn on Facebook and be entered for a chance to win one!

Get out and Ride!

-Samantha

Helmets on Heads Bike Share Giveaway: National Center for Safe Routes to School and Schwinn Partner Up

406844_438060716253470_1037248329_n (2)The National Center for Safe Routes to School officially announced its partnership with Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads program for the 2014. The two groups will be planning several activities throughout the year; the first will focus on Bike to School Day with a contest called: Helmets on Heads Bike Share Giveaway. This giveaway will give 10 schools and community organizations across the US a chance to win 10 bikes and 20 helmets.

Bike to School Day, May 7, 2014, is a national event that gives communities across the country the opportunity to join together in bicycling to school on the same day. The national event is part of the movement for year-round safe routes to school and encourages biking to school as a healthy way for kids and families to make their school commute fun and active.

logo“At Schwinn, we are dedicated to bicycle safety,” said Alice Tillett, president of Pacific Cycle. “We are thrilled to partner with the National Center for Safe Routes to School to ensure that parents and children are educated properly on the correct use of and importance of helmets. We want kids to ride safely every time they get on a bike, and National Bike to School Day is a great kick off to the 2014 Helmets on Heads initiative.”

Individuals, schools and organizations that register their Bike to School Day event online are eligible to win one of the ten drawings for Schwinn’s bike and helmet giveaway. Each giveaway will include 10 bicycles and 20 helmets to be awarded to a winning school.  Drawings will begin on Wednesday April 16th. Winners will be announced weekly on the Safe Routes to School and Schwinn Facebook pages.

To learn more about these great organizations and the 2014 Bike to School Day Event, visit: http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/node/50743

WBTS_Logo