RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Officers with the Riley County Police Department and Kansas State University Police Department pushed themselves to the limit this week.
The Bike Patrol Units took part challenging cycling course with the International Police Mountain Bike Association.
"They have to master a lot of cycling skills which include balance and maximum braking and other things that will help them best serve from the bike. The first thing we have to do is make sure that they’re effective, safe cyclists when they’re out there cycling in the public. So we teach a lot of those skills and how it relates to law enforcement and the job that they’ll be performing," said John Koelsch, the instructor who works with the Lyon County Sheriff's Office.
In order to receive their certifications, the officers had to hone their skills in the classroom, at the shooting range and of course, out on the streets.
One training day consisted of a 30 mile trek.
"The weather was pretty unforgiving but in all aspects it helped us and conditioned us for when we have to respond to any kind of emergency. I think it’s better that we put ourselves through some trying times so that when we do get to wherever we’re going, we can actually serve a purpose and we’re not to the point of exhaustion to where we’re not doing any good," said Officer Wade Cherms with the Riley County Police Department.
"We learned going up and down stairs as well as curbs. We did the river trails for inclines, braking more efficiently. Bikes offer the advantage of getting into places where cars cannot. We’re also closer to the community, we can talk to people and say hi whereas when we’re in a car, we can’t stop in the middle of the road to say hello to someone or hear what’s going on the neighborhood all the time," added RCPD Officer Mathew Droge.
"There have been studies that show that you’re just a lot more approachable when you’re on a bicycle compared to when you’re in a car and their perceptive abilities are a lot more enhanced when you’re on a bicycle. They aren’t surrounded by a car, you don’t have the car noise, you’re not in a separate environment. You pay the piper in the summer when the days are like they are and this week has been pretty miserable but they seem to be a pretty committed bunch of guys. I’m pleased with them," said RCPD director Brad Schoen who was taking part in the training course.
Many of the officers are avid cyclists in their personal lives.
The bike unit patrols throughout Manhattan but primarily in the downtown area of the city.