The Kiwanis Club of Sparks is hosting a free, family-friendly Riding on the River bike event this Saturday, October 7 at Cottonwood Park on 777 Spice Islands Drive. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2-wheeled cruisers of all ages may enjoy games, music, and five, ten, and 15-mile bike rides along the Truckee River (trikes are welcome, too). New this year, the event will be held in the daytime and a BBQ lunch is also available to purchase for $6, which includes hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, and more.
As the Kiwanis Bike Program’s signature event, this is the fourth year of Riding on the River created as a way to celebrate the volunteers, donors, and people who have learned or are improving their bike riding skills in the Sparks community. Hundreds of kids per year learn to ride in the Reno/Sparks area and this is a chance to give back.
“This is a general event for the community to celebrate the kids who’ve learned to ride bikes this year,” says Sparks Kiwanis Vice President Ellen Jacobson. Throughout the year, the Kiwanis Bike Program holds camps, clinics, and educational programs for those that want to learn how to fix bikes, ride them, and improve their riding skills. In fact, this past summer the Kiwanis Bike Program hosted 50 kids in its 1-week long beginner and advanced summer camps where participants enjoyed rides in the park and its more advanced riders ventured out to the top of the Peavine Bike Trail in Reno.
The Kiwanis Bike Program also supports the Ride 2 Recovery- a veterans program to help heal the nation’s heroes through the act of cycling. Around for 20 years, the Kiwanis Bike Program has evolved in various ways and donates around a thousand bikes per year to local schools and organizations.
“This is a chance for all of us to ride together and we’ll also have games in the park- a bean bag toss to face painting and lots of things in between,” Jacobson says. “This is also a fun time to celebrate with all of our volunteers who do everything from bike riding to doll making,” she says, also mentioning that there will be lots of craft booths for kids.
The Kiwanis Bike Program reaches about 2500 bike riders a year through its efforts, but this is the Kiwanis Club’s signature event that is meant to be reminiscent of Jack’s Carnival (a popular fall festival that used to be held in Sparks in the 1980’s).
“We have a bike valet, plenty of parking- this is all about having a nice day with lots of fun things to do,” says Jacobson. Not only has the Riding on the River being moved to the daytime this year, Jacobson says that they will be offering more activities than they’ve ever had before.
The Kiwanis Bike Program is supported through corporate donors, private parties, and organizations that contribute bike parts and more. Plus, the Kiwanis Bike Program sells about 20 percent of its inventory that goes mostly to high school and college students.
“We get a lot of different kinds of support,” says Jacobson. “This (Riding on the River event) is an attempt to create a fun event in the fall to celebrate everything we’ve been doing all year,” she adds.
The Kiwanis Bike Program bicycle shop on 145 Catron Drive in Reno will be closed on October 7 to host Riding on the River. To reserve a meal ticket or for more information about the event, visit www.kiwanisbikes.org.