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Chester County Press

Bike Kennett distributes 55 free bicycles at YMCA's Healthy Kids Day

04/30/2019 09:51AM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

On spectacular early Spring days, it is customary for parents to tell their children, “Go out and play. It's beautiful outside.”

As the Saturday morning sun broke through the clouds along Broad Street in Kennett Square on April 27, that's just what hundreds of youngsters did, as the Kennett Area YMCA's annual Healthy Kids Day joined several local organizations in encouraging families to live healthy and active lives.

Throughout the event, children participated in bike rodeos, roller-skating, moon bounces and obstacle courses, as well demonstrations for Zumba for Kids and “Minute to Win It” games.

In advance of the 30th anniversary of the Kennett Run on May 11, Race Director JJ Simon conducted a short fun race for children in the Broad Street area.

Perhaps the largest takeaway from Healthy Kids Day was in the form of free bicycles – 55 to be exact, as well as 120 bike helmets – that were distributed to children and families by Bike Kennett, a local bicycle advocacy group. Throughout the event, Bike Kennett members introduced riders to their new bicycles, the majority of which were donated by Trek Bicycle Wilmington, while the Newark Bike Project donated eight children's bikes. Bike Kennett also received financial support from Velo Amis and the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon to purchase the helmets.

Bike Kennett also donated bicycles and helmets to the community in 2018, but organization president Josie Marsh continued to see a need to provide more bicycles in the community.

“There is no bike shop here in Kennett Square, so whether you have a bike that needs to be repaired or want to purchase a new one, there's no way to do that locally,” Marsh said. “For the second consecutive year, we're working with Trek Wilmington, which does a trade-in program with bike owners, giving them a $50 discount on their new bike if they bring in the old one.”

Established in 2016, Bike Kennett has been collaborating with local municipalities to link safe bicycle riding with the establishment of new bikeways, trails and sidewalks. In the past few years, the organization has worked with the Kennett Township Sidewalks and Trails Committee in the development of the township's Active Transportation Plan, which includes the establishment of a trail connection from Kennett Square to Chadds Ford that will ultimately link to the Circuit Trails in Philadelphia. The organization has also played a part in upgrading the Parish Trail from Herb Pennock Park to Hillendale Road, adding an off-road trail from Hillendale Road to the now-closed Chandler Mill Bridge, creating the Magnolia Trail from Cannery Row to Herb Pennock Park, adding bike lanes on Cypress Street and Old Baltimore Pike between Mill Road and Toughkenamon, and continuing its sidewalk construction project with additional sidewalks to be constructed on McFarland Road and Cypress Street.

The continuing distribution of bicycles, Marsh said, helps to force the hand of local decision-makers to make more bicycle trails possible.

“We want to encourage everybody and anybody to ride bikes, and the more people who are doing it, the easier case we have to tell Kennett Square Borough and Kennett Township to build trails, install bike lanes, and create opportunities for people to get around on bikes,” she said. “We don't yet have the infrastructure here to do so yet, but it's slowly coming, and the more people who want to use bicycles, the better case we have, and the healthier our community and our environment becomes.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].