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Bicyclists rope rodeo in Downtown Hayward

TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

Louis LaVenture,
Sports and Campus Editor

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When you hear the word rodeo, bicycles aren’t the first thing that come to mind.

The City of Hayward and bicycle shop Cyclepath Hayward teamed up to create the first ever bike rodeo in downtown on Saturday. All events were free and included a vintage bike show, bike valet, obstacle course, skills competition, bike repair as well as a trick riding and racing competition.

The day kicked off with a bike ride in the downtown loop with City Councilmen Greg Jones and Francisco Zermeno. Ben Schweng, Cyclepath Hayward bike shop owner and one of the rodeo organizers was hopeful that this event would create some bicycle awareness in the fairly new loop downtown and the dangers bicyclists and pedestrians commonly face when they navigate the area.

“Bicyclists have been avoiding the loop in many cases,” Schweng said. “We want to educate and inform bike riders as well as motorists on the new area. Downtown should be thriving with people not avoided because of logistics.”

The Downtown Business Improvement Area, the Hayward Chamber of Commerce and the Hayward Rotary Club also sponsored the inaugural event that included food booths, live music and several prize giveaways.

PHOTOS BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

PHOTOS BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

Although many complaints against the loop have been made by groups and citizens that claim it has done more harm than good.

Some believe that events like the bike rodeo will increase awareness and promote visiting to the area.

“This is an event to showcase how Downtown Hayward is a great family destination,” Kim Huggett said, President of the Hayward Chamber of Commerce.

“The fact that so many organizations are participating demonstrates that it will be a true community-wide event.”

The East Bay bicycle club led rides from Burbank Elementary School and Cannery Park to the event, which was centered at B Street and Main Street. Burbank Elementary School and Cannery Park to the event, which was centered at B Street and Main Street. The city closed off the surrounding streets to accommodate the event, which also featured the normally scheduled farmers market.

Turning Wheels for Kids, Bike East Bay, the California Highway Patrol and Raleigh America all contributed to the event by hosting activities throughout the day and donating money and services.
“Anyone with a bike that’s broken down or needs a tune-up can get it done for free,” Huggett said.

PHOTOS BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

PHOTOS BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

A non-profit organization, Turning Wheels for Kids was founded in 2003 by Susan Runsvold and its original mission was to “buy bikes at Christmas and give them to underprivileged children,” according to Runsvold.

The organization is now involved with many aspects of bicycles and children and on Saturday they provided ten bike mechanics to repair kid’s bikes for free.

“Money is kinda tight around our household,” event attendee Matthew Jimenez Sr. said. “My son’s bike has been broken for a few months and they fixed it in a few minutes. This is a really cool thing.”

PHOTOS BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

PHOTOS BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

Jimenez and his son rode in the loop after the free bike repair on Saturday. The city and the organizers are hopeful that with a great turnout the event will become annual.

One of the cooler events was a piñata that participants took turns trying to break while riding their bikes. “Obviously we didn’t have to wear blindfolds,” participant Josh Gardener said.

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Bicyclists rope rodeo in Downtown Hayward