On a sunny, spring day, a group of children, four to seven-years-old, sit on their bicycles. They wear helmets to protect their heads and gloves to protect their hands. Their mothers, standing nearby, watch them closely. The children are ready to learn how to ride.

Rachel Varn still remembers how she felt riding a bicycle for the first time. Now, her job is helping children experience that moment. She left her job of selling bicycles to become a trainer for bicycle riding last year. She founded Pedal Power Kids to teach bicycle education.

Before starting a ride, she teaches the children how to make sure the bicycles are in good condition for safe use. She calls it “the ABC quick check.”

“A” is for air, she explains. “We have to check our tires before we ride. B is for brakes. We want to make sure our brakes work before we find ourselves on the top of a hill about to go down. And C is for chain.”

The rest of the training is more fun. The children learn riding skills, from balance and pedaling to turning, starting and stopping. And they learn to keep their eyes up and look ahead while riding.

Learning to ride a bicycle can open a whole new world to children. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and freedom. They become more sensitive to their surroundings and better able to make safe, smart decisions going from one place to another.

Varn’s goal is to get more children on two wheels. She says, “That’s really a great way for kids to be active and develop healthy habits. It helps reduce pollution and just keep families and communities connected.”

Since starting Pedal Power Kids last year, Varn has helped around 250 new riders.

The children in the classes are happy and excited about their experiences. They have fun riding with their friends. They give names to their bikes. And they enjoy doing the ABC quick check for safety.

Varn observes, “We probably wouldn’t be playing lacrosse when we're 75 or 89, but we certainly can be riding a bike!”

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

brake - n. a device for slowing or stopping

chain - n. a series of metal links that are connected and used for moving a bicycle

pedal - n. a lever that you push with your foot to move a bicycle

accomplishment - n. something done or achieved successfully

lacrosse - n. an outdoor game in which players use long sticks with nets for catching, throwing and carrying the ball


Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

1. What is Rachel Varn's job?

2. What is the ABC quick check?

3. How does learning to ride a bike affect children?

4. How many children have learned how to ride a bike through Power Pedal Kids?


Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

brake, chain, pedal, accomplishment


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

1. What do you think of Power Pedal Kids?

2. Do you know how to ride a bike? If yes, do you remember how you learned to do it?

3. What are the best sports activities for children?

4. How often do you exercise outside?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA.