Pima County’s biggest bicycle school on TUSD closure list
Wakefield students and their family show off their EL Tour finisher medals. Photo by Jay Rochlin
Wakefield Middle School the model for Pima County’s Middle School Education Program we wrote about last year.
Matt Zoll, Pima County’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager said each of the roughly 420 students who attend Wakefield have particpated in the county’s three-hour bicycle safety program.
Additionally the county has provided the school with bikes, helmets, tools and reapair stands. Bicycle Ambassadors spent weeks working with the members of the newly formed Wakefield bike club to train for the El Tour de Tucson 10-mile fun ride, which they rode to and back adding another 10 miles.
However, the school, which is located near 6th Avenue and I-10, is one of the schools TUSD intends to close, sending the students to other schools around the city.
Long-time Tucson bicyclists and occasional Tucson Velo contributor, Jay Rochlin has been volunteering with the students and helped get them ready for the El Tour ride.
He said it was a real thrill seeing them accomplish things they had never done before.
One of the goals of the program is to get students riding their bikes to school and Rochlin said that was something they were working toward, but theft and disrepair of their personal bicycles was a problem.
“It’s not automatic to buy a new tire or a tube,” he said. “It’s kind of a big deal for a lot of these families.”
He said the group was going to go down to the school an hour early to work on their personal bikes and get them up and running with goal of getting them to ride to school.
Zoll said regardless of whether Wakefield is closed, the county will continue push hard to get the middle school program in more schools across the county.
The program can be setup in private, charter and public schools.