A Ride of Passage: DC Public Schools Teach 2nd Graders to Ride a Bike

PHOTO: Nearly 2,000 students in Washington DC will learn how to ride a bike as part of a new public school curriculum.PlayMary Bruce/ABC News
WATCH First of Its Kind Program Teaches Kids to Ride a Bike

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is working to help every second grader achieve an important rite of passage: learning to ride a bike.

In a first-of-its-kind program, 2,000 students are being taught to ride as part of the curriculum, thanks to the help of private donors and bikes purchased by the D.C. Department of Transportation.

Outside Leckie Elementary School in Southwest, Washington, D.C., physical education teacher Josh Senior corralled students on tiny blue bikes as they practiced their balance and turns as well as learned safety signals.

But, according to Senior, the boys and girls are learning far more than just how to ride a bike.

"It's independence for them, having the self-confidence to get up on the bike and go," he told ABC News. "It's nice to see it when a rider finally believes in himself, you know, pushes those pedals and goes."

Many kids raised in busy urban neighborhoods never learn to ride. The simple, yet daunting idea for the program came when Miriam Kenyon, director of Health and Physical Education for DCPS, realized that they were offering bike safety tips to students who hadn't mastered riding.

"That was the spark that said, 'Wow. I can't believe we have so many kids that are missing out on this childhood experience,'" she said.

Chloe Jordan, 7, remembers what it's like to miss out.

In kindergarten, she was the only student who didn't know how to ride a bike. But now, grinning ear to ear, she told ABC News she's planning to teach her brother.