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It's summer in Green Bay, which means dozens of kids are lined up with their bikes near Lambeau Field.

They're jumping up and down screaming, "Pick me! Pick me!" as they wait for someone else to ride their bikes.

The scene, kids waiting for a Green Bay Packers player to ride their bike to from Lambeau Field to practice across the street, has played out for decades.

"I think it's great," said Shannon Hinsa-Leasure of Grinnell, Iowa. A Green Bay native and a Packers fan, Hinsa-Leasure brought her children and their bicycles to the stadium for two consecutive days with the hopes of a player riding her son's bike to practice.

"It's great for kids to be able to interact with players up close instead of seeing them as little tiny specks when they're in the stands," she said.

Some children rode on the back pegs of the bikes, their arms slung around the player who had selected their bike. Running back Eddie Lacy rode a bike with a young girl in tow. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson was the last player to choose a bike and make his way to practice.

Barb Fonder, of Howard, took a vacation day from work so she could bring her 11-year-old son Luke to the event.

"It's a pretty neat experience," she said. "It's fun to see the kids on the bikes and they seem to really enjoy it. I know it's been a tradition with the Packers for a long time. I think my husband, at one time, had done this back in the day."

Packers historian Cliff Christl said the earliest evidence of the tradition dates back to a 1969 photograph featuring running back Travis Williams riding a bike.

"I've received a lot of feedback from fans and it's mixed," Christl said in an email. More say they remember players riding their bikes in the Lombardi years, but some don't remember it all. One fan told me he remembered players riding kids' bikes at Stevens Point, when the Packers trained there from 1954-57."

A new bike lane — called DreamDrive and sponsored by American Family Insurance — opened during this year's training camp, which started Saturday. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the time-honored tradition of brings a thrill to the players.

"This thing obviously started with Coach Lombardi and like anything with the history and tradition of the Green Bay Packers, we need to keep it going."

Espen Klausen, of Fond du Lac, watched players ride bikes alongside his 6-year-old daughter.

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"This is a delayed Father's Day," he said. "My wife is in line at the ticket counter to get tickets for a tour. This is her Father's Day gift for me."

The Klausen family didn't participate in the rides, but they plan to return again with bikes.

"We know it's one of the big stars of training camp every day and a great part of the bonding between a Packers player and the Packers community," Klausen said. "Next time we're planning to bring a bike."

Players begin riding bikes at approximately 7:30 a.m. every morning of training camp, said Katie Hermsen, a spokeswoman for the Packers. The last public practice will be Aug. 27.

—rminske@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter at @rachelfminske

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