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Inaugural Bike Fest to encourage safety, give away bikes
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The Covington-Conyers Cycling Club (C4) in conjunction with the Covington Police Department will host its inaugural Bike Fest on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Washington Street Community Center.

Members of C4 as well as the CPD have planned instructional clinics to teach children ages 5 to 12 on proper bicycle safety and maintenance.

"The Bike Fest will focus first and foremost that kids have functional and safe bikes," said C4 President Maurice Carter. "We will check the bikes that kids bring on Saturday to make sure everything is in good working order."

The activities start at 9 a.m., but early risers can indulge in a pancake breakfast beginning at 8 a.m.

Children are encouraged to bring their own bikes. But Carter hopes even those who don't have a bike will attend because bikes will be given away.

"We have received more than 20 bicycles through denotations and C4 members along with Conte's Cycle Shop in Conyers have made sure the bikes are ready to give away," he said.

Along with a handful of bikes to give away, Carter says each child who attends will get a new helmet.

"We have been able to raise enough money to purchase helmets for each child," he said. "Helmets are very important, and we plan to fit each child and teach them how to properly wear a helmet while cycling."

Covington is a popular area for cycling and Captain Willie Davis of the CPD believes it is important for the community to be involved in a collaborate effort to teach children.

"We encourage kids about bike safety by wearing their helmets and riding on the right side of the road," said Davis. "But we also hope this program will let the kids see another side of law enforcement.

"We want them to know we're not just out there to enforce the law."

Aside from the safety aspect, Carter says cycling provides fitness and a healthy way for children to learn independence at an early age.

"The bicycle to me is empowering a good self esteem builder," Carter said. "I used to ride as a kid and I couldn't believe some of the places I could go riding a bike.

"We want to introduce that to kids and do it in a safe way so they learn the fundamentals to stay safe."

Those interested can contact Bea Jackson at (770) 789-4002 or can register at the Washington Street Community Center on School Street.

Bike Fest is free to the public and all communities are welcome.