Mike Dowd, a Social Studies teacher at Midwood High School, played an instrumental role at founding the school’s cycling club last year. He wrote about the experience for Streetsblog:
Despite my modest recruiting efforts, more than 30 new students attended our club’s next meeting. To my surprise, the vast majority were girls, few were regular cyclists, and many didn’t own a bike or had never learned to ride. But for whatever reason, they seemed interested in the club.
The class has become so successful that Mike had to avoid too much publicity this fall — they were already at the limit. He advocates making cycling a regular part of the physical education curriculum in schools and giving the subject all the funds that would entail.
Imagine cycling centers in locations like Floyd Bennett Field and Flushing Meadows Park offering afternoon, weekend, and summer classes. This wouldn’t require anything complex or expensive. Bike New York operates classes using just a large tent for instruction and a few lockers for bike and helmet storage. If the city were willing to pay for instruction, perhaps private money could help fund some of the overhead and supplement the in-school classes with other activities, like group rides.