At HealthPartners, we know how much fun (and good for you!) getting on a bike can be.

A recent study found that those who bike to work rather than drive have a 46 percent lower risk of developing heart problems. And biking has been shown to help boost brain power, too.

That’s why we want to get more kids and families biking – and why we’ve partnered with other bike-enthusiast organizations to spread the word.

In 2017, our organization began sponsoring the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota’s efforts to teach bike skills and safety to kids. Our contribution doubled BikeMN’s capacity to provide its Walk! Bike! Fun! curriculum to elementary school students in Minnesota. And, it expanded their reach into Western Wisconsin, too. That means nearly 100,000 children per year will have the chance to learn how to safely ride a bike, which is something that many never had before. ERIK’s Bike Shop is another key partner in this project. The company covered the cost of the fleet’s 40 children’s bikes and helmets. And in May 2017, colleagues from all across our organization volunteered to build those bikes. The fleet is now being used in PhyEd classes at hundreds of local schools and community centers.

We also teach helmet safety through the No Helmet No Ride campaign. This campaign is led by the Level I Trauma Center at Regions Hospital and Gillette. And through it, our EMS and medical professionals volunteer to size and fit helmets for kids at events all year long. The goal is that every child will wear a helmet when biking, and that they will wear it properly. A helmet that fits and is worn right is crucial in protecting your head in case of an accident.

“No matter how far you ride or how old you are, wearing a helmet should go hand-in-hand with riding a bike,” says HealthPartners pediatrician Elsa Keeler, MD. “Wearing a helmet can greatly lower the risk of brain, head and face injuries that can happen as a result of bicycle crashes. Make helmet wearing a habit for every time you ride. One idea is to store your helmet right on your bike seat or handlebars. This way, it goes on your head before your feet touch the pedals.”

So be on the lookout for us. We’ll be helping organize obstacle courses at a community bike rodeos. And we’ll be doing helmet fittings for Ride Your Bike to School days all over town. Wherever you see us, HealthPartners hopes to inspire you to get out and ride, too.