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Bike day biggest ever

May 14, 2012

Nathan Niemeyer listens to safety tips from Auglaize County DARE Deputy Sam Blank about looking both directions before crossing an intersection on his bike.

Good things don’t always come to an end, an event organizer says, they just keep getting bigger and bigger.

The fourth annual Bike Safety Day at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds turned out to be the best attended day yet, with 207 kids getting fitted with new helmets and approximately 250 total kids showing up in all.

The event was deemed a complete success by Marlene Froning, the event organizer.

“I am so excited that this many parents took the time to bring their children out,” Froning said. “I am exuberant and tired at the same time. There is a lot to do.”

Bicyclers got fitted for a new helmet or could have their current helmet refitted for proper fit by a team of volunteers. Children had chains adjusted, tire pressure checked or reflectors put on their bike among other minor repairs at a repair station.

A bike rodeo station taught children to look both ways when crossing roads, railroad tracks, or other road hazards. Riders also were presented with a bag of various free goodies to take home.

Froning said it gets to be more work as the event grows, but she envisioned it continuing to grow when she started it. She decided to start the event to help the community in response to whelp she said she received from the community when her son died in a car-bicycle accident over 25 years ago.

“It is difficult to measure how much of a difference something like this makes,” Froning said. “If you save just one life, it was all worth it.”

Froning said it is important for children to learn bicycle safety.

“They have to treat it just like its a vehicle on the roadway,” Froning said. “You can’t just hop on your bike and go down the road.”

Race car drivers John Mills and Drew Charlson were among celebrities at the event to help demonstrate the importance of safety and wearing helmets to the children. The University of Northwestern Ohio race team and the Revolution Bicycling crews were also at the function offering help and tips and free items to help push bicycle safety.

The Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office and Wapakoneta police and fire departments also had members there to demonstrate safety tips to the children.

Froning said she never could put the event on without all of the help she receives.

“There would be no way one person could do all of this,” Froning said. “I couldn’t do it without all of the help.”

Sidney Stalmaker, of Lima, won the drawing for the girl’s bike, which was donated by the Wapakoneta Noon Optimists.

Cody Limbert of Anna won the boys bike donated by Gwynne and Dr. Thomas Freytag.

Bryce Brookhart of Wapakoneta won a special drawing of different items which included a Dayton Dragon baseball cap and ball, bobble heads and tee shirt.

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