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Ellinwood bike rally offers kid-safe activity Saturday
Pilot club at Ellinwood bike rally
Great Bend Pilot Club members Daniel Watson, Barbara Watson and Vicki Ruchardson handed out helmets and spoke skins for safety and style at the Ellinwood Police Department's bike rally Saturday morning at the Ellinwood swimming pool parking lot. - photo by Michael Gilmore

ELLINWOOD — A break in the weather provided the opportunity for the Ellinwood Police Department to slip in a kids’ activity Saturday morning.

On short notice, Ellinwood Sgt. Kyle Reed was tasked with putting a bicycle rally together for the weekend in the parking lot at the Ellinwood City Pool, and it all came together for young bike riders to hone their skills and practice safety rules. With assistance from the Barton County Health Department and the Great Bend Pilot Club, the bikers were presented with helmets and neon-colored spoke skins for reflectivity and some style.

It had been several years since the community had hosted the event, and the pandemic limited group activities, so this year seemed like the perfect time, Sgt. Reed said. “The COVID hit and all these kids were here. The pool was closed; they had nothing to do. Now that COVID has kind of settled down, this was brought to my attention,” he said.

In the past, the local Lions Club sponsored bike events, but none had been offered for several years. During that time, several accidents involving bicycles had occurred, noted Ellinwood Police Chief Chance Bailey.

“We recognized that there was a need to make the bike rally an annual event,” Chief Bailey said.

Early June seems like a good time, before the hot weather sets in, harvest starts and other summer activities come up.

“We’re wanting to do this next year, maybe make it an annual thing,” Sgt. Reed said. “This first time was a quick deal; the flyers were made last Monday.”

Additional bicycle safety, expanding into a safety fair, with an Ident-a-Kid booth are ideas that could be incorporated. “We have the After Harvest Festival for the adults and it’s around the corner. We need stuff like this for the kids,” Sgt. Reed said.