Tags : youth



The post below first appeared on the Bike Newport blog. View the original here:  A Great Start For Our 2019 Interns



The Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition (RI Bike) is organizing a Complete Smart Cycling Class via Bike Newport and would love for you to join us. The Complete Smart Cycling Class is a very helpful overview about riding with traffic for everyone – and pre-requisite for Instructor Training. Everyone who attends this class will be better informed about road sharing and basic bicycle to be safer on the roads. We need more people to have this information and to share it with others, in particular by volunteering and helping out with Bike Newport rides and education programs. It will be a one day course on August 26th (possible different date) and it’s free! RI Bike is providing the instructor and all materials. A few details: The Complete Smart Cycling Class is a fast-paced, class that provides cyclists with the confidence to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail and how to teach children to ride cautiously and conspicuously while on their own. We will cover the basics of bike maintenance, rules of the road, on-bike skills, and crash avoidance techniques. This class is a prerequisite for becoming a certified League Cycling Instructor from the League of American Bicyclists. It’s broken down into: 1) A classroom session at one time ~ approx 4 hours 2) An on-road session which includes: A ride where the students take turns leading the group and are expected to stop, start, turn right and left, place them selves in the appropriate place in the lanes, etc Parking lot drills: the prescribed 8 avoidance and emergency exercises ~3-4 hours depending on class size. The written test and review with final questions, awarding of certificate takes about 1 hour. If you use the on-line test then this takes about 30 minutes. If you’re interested in this course, please email clare@bikenewportri.org with your interest. The post Complete Smart Cycling Class – Please join us. appeared first on Bike Newport.



Father’s Day Ride 2014 / photo by Meg Heriot

Sunday, June 19th at Fort Adams

Visit www.fathersdayride.org to register.

Bike Newport, the Newport County YMCA, Fort Adams Trust, and the RIDOT Highway Safety Program together announce the 2016 Elliot Kaminitz Father’s Day Ride, an annual family cycling event held at Fort Adams and along the scenic Newport Ocean Loop.

The annual ride honors Elliot Kaminitz, an active community member and safe cycling advocate  who was killed while riding his bicycle in Newport. The ride delivers on the Kaminitz family wish to encourage more, better and safer cycling for everyone.

This year the Father’s Day Ride will be held on Sunday, June 19th at Fort Adams State Park. Participants can choose to ride 6, 10, or 25 miles. The 6-mile loop is marked with cones and escorted by the Newport Police – making it just right for families and first-timers. Participants can also choose a brisk two-mile walk around the park. Children can practice bike skills and rack up miles in the “Tour de Fort” – safely inside the Fort walls. There will be refreshments, entertainment, yoga, massage, and plenty of bicycle happiness.

2016 brings new and exciting changes to the event. The YMCA of Newport County is joining Bike Newport as a partner to produce the event, and Fort Adams Trust is the generous host. The partners are working together to bring more local families to beautiful Fort Adams and the Ocean Loop – with the promise that everyone who wants to ride, will ride. The YMCA will also operate busses to transport families and their bicycles to and from Fort Adams. And a fee waiver is available on the registration site to ensure that financial constraints do not deter participation.

“We want as many people as possible from the community to enjoy cycling together along the ocean,” explained Bike Newport’s Executive Director, Bari Freeman. “Riding with friends, family, and neighbors in this beautiful place is fantastic – and everyone should have that chance.”

The YMCA’s CEO, Mike Miller, is celebrating the collaboration. “The Newport County YMCA is thrilled to partner on this special event.  Bringing members of our community together to ride and walk in support of safer cycling aligns perfectly with our focus areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We look forward to our continued work together for this event and throughout the summer as we offer cycling as part of the new Adams Experience Summer Camp.”

Renee Kaminitz shared that this collaboration holds great promise and brings her real joy. “Together, we are educating the public to be aware of surroundings and training our children to be safer cyclists. I’m a teacher at heart, and this event educates everyone, directly and indirectly. While people are out having fun together, we’re learning how to share the road, and we’re celebrating the safety of all road users.”

RIDOT’s Director of Highway Safety, Gabrielle Abbate, was also on hand for the announcements. “We’ve been a sponsor of the children’s activities at the Father’s Day Ride every year, “ she explained, referring to the “Tour de Fort” activities inside the Fort Adams Fort, where the children practice skills and ride loops of the Parade Route to rack up miles. “The community focus on road safety here in Newport is what we hope to see in communities statewide.”

The Father’s Day Ride raises funds for bicycle safety education at Bike Newport and the YMCA of Newport County. Activities begin and end at Fort Adams and run from 8am to noon on June 19th. For more information, to register, and to support the event as a sponsor, please visit www.fathersdayride.org or email tracy@fathersdayride.org.

Partners for the 2016 Fathers Day Ride together announced the fourth annual event on April 19th:

Kneeling (l-r): Mary Ellen Lynch, Bike Newport Outreach Manager; Kellen Farnham, Bike Newport Development Director; Olivia Kachingwe, HEZ Project Coordinator; Tracy Jonsson, Father’s Day Ride Event Manager; and Joe Dias, Fort Adams Trust Exec Director.

Standing (l-r): Miguel Sola, YMCA; Bill Villareal,YMCA; Gabrielle Abbate, Director, RIDOT Highway Safety; Greg Hall, Board President, Fort Adams Trust; Renee Kaminitz; Colleen Germain, Newport Superintendent of Schools; Bari Freeman, Bike Newport Exec Director; RI State Rep Lauren Carson; YMCA CEO Mike Miller; Henri Venable, Bike Newport Education Manager; and Chip Young, Bike Newport Board.

The post It’s time to register for the 2016 Father’s Day Ride! appeared first on Bike Newport.



Christmas came on wheels this year for Newporter Niko Merritt and her children, Jayden, Ian, and Gianna.  When they arrived at Bike Newport HQ on Tuesday the 23rd, there were four brand new bikes waiting – and helmets and locks – thanks to the generosity of the Newport Run and Chug Club and partygoers at their annual holiday party, and with the help of Newport Bicycle.

Every year, the Run and Chug hosts a party where they celebrate the season and raise money for a special gift in the community. This year, they decided to surprise a deserving family with a set of new bikes. 

Jeff Heimiller, the president of the group called Bike Newport to ask if we knew a family that would enjoy a set of bikes, and we said “Oh boy, do we.”

Niko is a dedicated and thoughtful member of the community. When she’s not busy with her kids or working at Baby Steps at the Florence Gray Center, she’s giving her time to other women and families in the community. She also serves as a resident consultant to the Education and Economic Opportunity committees of the Newport HEZ project – standing for Health Equity Zones – run by Newport’s Women’s Resource Center.

Since last year, Niko has planned to earn bikes for her family at Bike Newport’s Bike Garage, but her busy schedule made it difficult. When Jeff asked for a suggestion, it was obvious. We’re happy to see this gift go to Niko and her kids; and we’re grateful to Jeff and the Run and Chug Club for their generosity and delightful community spirit.

Huge thanks to the Run and Chug Club – who also generously contributed to Bike Newport, so we can continue to collect, restore, and distribute bikes throughout the community.

From Niko and the Bike Newport family to you and yours –  wishes for bike happiness in the new year!

The post Christmas on Wheels! appeared first on Bike Newport.



Photo (l-r): Hank Myers, manager; Ray Simas, driver; Bob Elliott, driver; Melissa Wicks, safety coordinator; Bari Freeman, Bike Newport; Harvey Chapman, driver; Paul Nobile, driver; Butch Malarchik, driver; Cindy Boiani, driver.

“We want to be part of the solution.”

– Hank Myers, Manager, First Student, Newport

School busses have unique safety challenges – requiring the utmost attention to the road, the vehicle, and their precious cargo. With an average 35’ length – there are visibility and blind spot challenges at every moment of the drive. Stopping, starting, standing, passing, and turning, our bus drivers need to be aware of what is happening inside and outside their bus. Safety is the most important aspect of school bus driving, and our drivers take it seriously.

Newport has unique challenges as well – narrow winding streets in historic neighborhoods, distracted vacation drivers on unfamiliar roads, cyclists riding the wrong way or inadequately illuminated. Not so unique are the phone-fixated and/or impatient motorists putting everyone at risk. With three pedestrian deaths in the past year, we have a wake up call to take more action to improve safety on our roads.

When Bike Newport suggested a conversation about road sharing with the district’s bus drivers, Hank Myers was keen to get started. The local manager of First Student, Newport’s school bus company, Hank manages 16 bus drivers who service the district’s three schools. “Great idea,” said Hank. “Let’s do it.” Let’s be a partner in the effort to improve safety on our roads.

Fresh off the Monday morning run, we gathered at the First Student bus depot on Halsey Street. We discussed rules of the road, bicyclist rights and responsibilities, and bicycle-related ordinances. We reviewed bike lanes, shared lanes, and state passing laws. We shared horror stories and agreed that there are good and bad cyclists and good and bad motorists.

Together we considered the value of bicycling in a town as small and scenic as Newport, where local travel is mostly under two miles – easily walkable and bikeable. We acknowledged that bicycling inherently reduces traffic congestion and improves health, economy, quality of life, and quality of place.

We agreed on a few first steps together. We’ve already begun to share information – documentation of road rules and recommendations, and helpful videos on road sharing safety. We’ll ask the local media to assist by printing daily or weekly reminders to cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians about safe road behaviors. Together we’ll develop joint messages – like today’s message to bicyclists about the importance of correct bike behaviors near school busses. Here it is:

According to state and local laws, bicycles are vehicles and must abide by all vehicular traffic laws. Therefore:

Bicyclists: When you see a stopped school bus with safety lights on, you are required to stop before reaching the vehicle and remain standing until the bus lights are no longer operating. Also, please do not ever pass a school bus on the right side. When children are entering and exiting the bus, everyone is put at risk.

If following the law isn’t enough, consider this added incentive, as conveyed by our friends at Bike Portland in Oregon: “While you sit out the delay, it may give you time to wonder about the intent of the school bus law. After all it’s meant to keep children safe as they cross the street or congregate around the bus. Despite the personal inconvenience of waiting, the letter of the law may be important here because as a living, breathing distraction in the landscape, you are probably being observed by some of the kids on the bus. These are the future cyclists of America and you, standing by, are serving as a role model. It isn’t often you are given the opportunity to do the right thing so easily and impress a very impressionable audience at the same time. Maybe it’s worth a couple minutes of standing still.” We, at Bike Newport and First Student, agree. Safety is always worth the time.

Throughout our meeting, there was a stoic gentleman at the back of the room who refused to crack a smile, no matter my eye-to-eye attention and attempted wit. He was one tough customer. But at the end of our session, he came forward, took off his glasses and delivered a bigger smile than I’d hoped for. It seems we are all indeed in this together. Thanks to Harvey, Hank Myers, and all the First Student bus drivers for being part of the solution.

Let’s get out there and be role models. Safety first.

The post PS The Kids Are Watching appeared first on Bike Newport.



From late October to Thanksgiving break, we worked with Thompson Middle School to promote and inspire more biking and walking to school. Through daily encouragement and weekly raffles, over 25% of the student body participated. On Tuesday, Nov 25th, three grand prize winners were drawn from among the students who biked or walked the most during the challenge. Clockwise from top right: 5th grader Nathaniel Thompson received a $250 gift card to Ten Speed Spokes; Kaylon Samuels received a a $250 gift certificate to Newport Bicycle; and 8th grader Graeme Clougher, pictured with our own Director of Education Mark Chesterton, received a $250 gift card to Pedal Power in Middletown. The Bike and Walk to School Challenge was funded by a generous grant from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Celebrate kids moving in the morning!

The post Thompson Middle School Bike/Walk Challenge Wraps Up With Grand Prizes! appeared first on Bike Newport.



Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons, the Bike Garage North, a shipping container located in the parking lot of the Florence Gray Center, sees youth from throughout Newport learn to live and love bikes! Whether learning basic mechanic skills, safety training, participating in the Earn-A-Bike program or going on woodsy group rides through giant piles of fall leaves, the Bike Garage North is a safe place for youth and community members to hop on the saddle and ride!

Join us on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3:30 – 5 pm and Saturdays from 12:30 – 3 pm.

The post Bike Garage North: Miantonomi Park Adventure! appeared first on Bike Newport.



Autumn is fast approaching, and with it the back-to-school rush. Organizations and companies all over the country will relinquish the talents and hard work of their interns, and Bike Newport is no exception. You may have seen these two young men about town at our various events and rides. We could not have executed our programming this summer without Rob Dowler, 17, and Kyler Dillon, 16.

Both Rob and Kyler got their start as bike mechanics two years ago at the Bike Garage at the East Bay MET School, where they’ll be juniors this fall. They both credit the MET’s Community Learning Specialist and Bike Newport Board Member Steve Heath with enticing them into learning how to fix bikes.

“I always liked bikes,” Rob says. “I just didn’t know much about them– how they work or how they’re built. I had limited knowledge.”

Kyler agrees, saying he didn’t know much before, but now: “I just like working on the bikes themselves. I ride everywhere so it’s not a chore, it’s enjoyable.”

Both guys say they like to work with their hands and fix things in general. Rob interned with a commercial retail boat repair company his sophomore year, while Kyler takes apart and fixes computers. Now however, they prefer bikes.

When asked about their favorite event of the summer, Rob and Kyler immediately respond that working at the Folk Festival giving tune-ups and helping to park the nearly 2,000 bikes that swarmed Newport that weekend was the highlight of their summer internship. “It was a bit of a grind,” Rob says, “but totally worth it.”

The paid internships are funded by the East Bay Community Action Project’s Summer Jobs Program spearheaded by Steve Dolce. Mark Chesterton, Bike Newport’s Director of Youth Programs, has been directly supervising Rob and Kyler since he was hired in March.  He says, “We are so fortunate to be able to secure funds to employ youth in such meaningful, fun and community-minded work.”

Although they’ll have to devote the majority of their time to being high school students, Rob and Kyler will still help Bike Newport out at various after-school programs and events. We thank them so much for their hard work! You guys rock!

The post Thank you to Rob and Kyler, our all-star interns! appeared first on Bike Newport.




(4/24/13) At a press conference attended by journalists, community leaders, bike advocates and the friends and family of the late Elliot Kaminitz, Bike Newport Director Bari George and supporter Renee Kaminitz today announced the first annual Elliot Kaminitz Fathers Day Ride – to take place on Sunday, June 16, 2013. The event will raise funds through donations and registrations to support Bike Newport’s extensive bicycle advocacy, education and improvement initiatives. Registration opens today on the web site www.FathersDayRide.org.

Elliot Kaminitz tragically lost his life in a bicycle accident on Memorial Blvd near Easton’s Beach just one year ago. His family decided to guide their grief into progress by working to make the Newport area safer for cyclists. Partnering with Bike Newport, the Kaminitz Family wishes to build the awareness and the funds needed to improve education, support engineering, and provide encouragement for more, better and safer cycling.

Renee Kaminitz explained. “We’re putting our efforts and energy into improving the situation so people can enjoy our beautiful island and its history on two wheels. This is how we can honor my late husband and the city he loved. We’re encouraging our friends and our community to join us in making cycling safer for everyone. We’re partnering with Bike Newport because that’s where we see action and progress.”

Elliot’s children, Ilicia Kaminitz Strasser and Adam Kaminitz, participated in the press conference by Skype from Wilmington, DE and Santa Monica, CA respectively: “My father practiced and preached safe cycling,” Ilicia shared, “starting with his granddaughters. We’ve planned from the start for this event to include our youngest riders. Safety Town will be great fun for the kids and they’re going to be better bicyclists because of it. It’s like a kick start to all-important Bike Ed.”

“We could lose some road riders to the fun of Safety Town,” Mark Chesterton mused at the display of kid-size traffic signs made possible by VHB (the firm responsible for the Aquidneck Island Transportation Study). Chesterton is Bike Newport’s new Director of Youth Programs, and he’s galvanizing Bike Newport’s corps of Smart Cycling instructors to deliver on Ilicia’s vision for Safety Town. “Imagine – this is the first road ride for many of our youngsters – three times around the Fort is a complete mile.  We’re creating our own temporary Bike Path for our kids and families in the amazing location of historic Fort Adams.”

Francisco Lovera is PE Chief Civil Engineer at RIDOT. “The Rhode Island DOT is proud to sponsor the Children’s Safety Town,” he explained. “As we work together with Bike Newport and other local organizations to improve bicycle safety and reduce roadway injuries, we know that building knowledge of cycling skills and road sharing rules is paramount – and begins with our children.”

Beginning and ending at Fort Adams State Park, the road ride will offer 5, 10 and 25-mile options, and will include some of the island’s most beautiful views, circling the Ocean Drive and continuing to Sachuest Beach and Indian Avenue in Middletown.  25-mile riders will have the opportunity to pay respects at the roadside memorial bikes for Elliot Kaminitz and fellow cyclist Mike Strickland.

The Elliot Kaminitz Fathers Day Ride is sponsored by People’s Credit Union and RIDOT. Gray Matter Marketing, the firm behind the Pell Bridge Run and the Newport Ten Miler is producing the event, and VHB Consultants are providing the child-size Safety Town road signs. Fort Adams Trust is also an event partner – making the space available and encouraging participation.

The event web site is www.FathersDayRide.org and registration is open as of today.


The post Announcing the First Annual Elliot Kaminitz Fathers Day Ride – June 16 appeared first on Bike Newport.