The tennis court at Cloverland Park was set with cones, and Cleo Sandler recognized a challenge when she saw one. With her orange plastic shoes just skimming the tarmac like a duck wading across a summer sidewalk, she powered her tiny pedal-less “balance scooter” through a maze of traffic cones.
Parents Tani and Rich Sandler looked on as Cleo, 3½, who was using her feet only for power, no longer for balancing her bicycle. She knocked over one traffic cone, but she deftly brought down her feet for a well-timed stop — just short of a toddler who had wandered in front of her.
“I got this,” she assured her parents.
The course, set up to teach traffic safety and bicycle control, was just one of the attractions at Sunday morning’s second annual Corvallis Spring Roll. A combination fundraiser, bicycle safety and fun event for kids, it drew 120 registered participants even before it officially started at 10:30 a.m., event organizer Ilene McClelland said.
The Spring Roll asked for $12 for the ride at 11 a.m. The youngest participants in the ride followed a sidewalk loop around Cloverland Park. Older, more experienced riders, pedaled a course of about half a mile through the surrounding neighborhood.
Billed as “Corvallis’ first and only community bike and trike ride and cycle fair just for kids,” the event is a fundraiser for the Montessori School. It is held in partnership with the Corvallis School District, local bike organizations and other educational interests to promote an active lifestyle for children, safe bicycling habits and community livability.
Plenty of the attractions and activities were free, including the tent where Alex Hammond had volunteered to “trick out” bicycles and tricycles for interest young bike owners.
“Do you want another balloon?” she asked one discerning tricycle owner. Hammong also wrapped handle bars with decorative wire and added glittery stickers.
Her young customer rode off wordlessly, but she was smiling.
More serious stops included a helmet check station and safety stops to make ensure that brakes were working, tires were properly inflated, spokes were sound and seats were securely fastened to the frame.
The Corvallis Bicycle Collective offered some basic bicycle maintenance.
In addition to the Corvallis Montessori School, sponsors included The Little Gym, Linus Pauling Institute, Specialized, Peak Sports, Benton County Schools Credit Union, Burley and The Laughing Planet restaurant.
Volunteer McClelland said the turnout on a cool, cloudy Sunday was encouraging.
“We want to hold this event every year,” she said.