By Ashley M. Casey
The annual Fulton Bike Rodeo, sponsored by the Fulton Police Department, will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 31 at the Fulton Community Center.
The long-running event, which is geared toward children, features a bicycle obstacle course, bounce house and a bicycle giveaway for kids in need.
The city of Fulton is donating abandoned bikes to be sold as scrap metal to benefit the Bike Rodeo. Oswego Health, Dunkin Donuts and the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County are also sponsors.
Lt. Jason Delano, who is in charge of the traffic and training division of the Fulton Police Department, is coordinating the event for the fourth year in a row. Delano said he expects a turnout of 80 to 100 children.
In previous years, the event started at 10 a.m. This year, the start time has been pushed back to 11 a.m. to improve attendance.
“A lot of times we see kids showing up in their soccer uniforms,” Delano said.
“I always get kids and parents asking, ‘Are (you) doing it again?’” Delano said. “It’s usually very well received and attended.”
Delano said the Bike Rodeo is also a chance for police officers to get to know the community and vice versa.
About half a dozen bike patrol officers will guide children through the obstacle course and provide tips on bike safety.
“We’re glad to do it. We want to keep the kids as safe as possible,” Delano said.
Doyle’s Bikes is a longtime supporter of the event. Doyle’s provides safety inspections for children’s bicycles at the rodeo and is collecting bikes to give away.
“We do free checkups to make sure the bikes are safe to ride,” owner Tracy Doyle said. “If it’s something minor, I fix it up right there.”
Doyle said his goal is to give away 100 bicycles.
“I’ve got 20 or 30 good ones already,” he said. “We’ll give away whatever we can give away. Something’s better than nothing.”
Doyle has been giving away bicycles at Christmas since the 1990s, but distributed them at the Bike Rodeo only once before. He said 300 bikes were given away last time.
“It was nuts,” he said. He said children’s faces light up when they receive a bike.
“Some of the kids have nothing and it’s a big deal to them,” Doyle said. “Being able to help somebody out — that makes it all worthwhile.”