Bike To School Challenge begins in May; over 5,000 students in NE Ohio schools take part in largest youth cycling event in the U.S.
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Over 5,000 middle school and elementary school students in the Cleveland, Ohio suburbs of Bay Village, Rocky River, and Medina begin the 2016 Bike to School Challenge in the coming weeks, committing to ride their bikes to school to help the environment, get more physical activity to improve their health, have fun, and win prizes. The award-winning program is May 2-20, 2016, and is the biggest bike-to-school program in the United States. It returns for its ninth year at Bay Village schools, its sixth year at Rocky River schools, and its fifth year at Medina schools.
Get ready at community Bicycle Fairs
To help local residents get ready to ride their bicycles to school, work or just for fun, the Bike To School Challenge communities, schools, and sponsors have partnered to organize Bicycle Fairs during the week before the Challenge begins. The events are free and open to the public.
Rocky River Bicycle Fair - Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 6:00 - 7:30pm
The Rocky River Bicycle Fair will take place at Rocky River Middle School, located at 1631 Lakeview Avenue in Rocky River, Ohio.
Residents are invited to bring their bicycles in for a free safety inspection by the professional bicycle mechanics from Century Cycles bicycle store in Rocky River. The store's staff will also display essential bike commuting gear and information and make smoothies on the Century Cycles blender bike.
Century Cycles and Raleigh Bicycles are teaming up to give away 20 bicycle helmets to the first 20 families who attend (limit of one helmet per family).
Rocky River Bike to School Challenge organizers will be available to answer questions about the program.
The Rocky River Police Department is providing free bike licenses.
Bike Cleveland and Rocky River High School Environmental Club will have informational booths.
Bike To School Night at Century Cycles (Medina) - Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 6:30 - 8:00pm
The Bike To School Night will take place at the Century Cycles bicycle store located at 1059 North Court Street (State Route 42, in the Marc's shopping plaza) in Medina, Ohio.
Professional bicycle mechanics at Century Cycles will provide free bicycle safety inspections, display essential bike commuting gear and information.
Century Cycles and Raleigh Bicycles are teaming up to give away 10 bicycle helmets to the first 10 families who attend (limit: one helmet per family).
Information about the Medina Bike to School Challenge will be available, and any questions about the program will be answered.
Bay Village Bicycle Fair - Thursday, April 28, 2016, 6:00 - 7:30pm
The Bay Village Bicycle Fair will take place at Bay Middle School located at 27725 Wolf Road in Bay Village, Ohio.
Professional bicycle mechanics from Century Cycles bicycle store in Rocky River will provide free bicycle safety inspections, display essential bicycle commuting accessories and information, and make smoothies on the Century Cycles blender bike.
Century Cycles and Raleigh Bicycles are teaming up to give away 20 bicycle helmets to the first 20 families who attend (limit: one helmet per family).
Bay Bike to School Challenge organizers will be available to answer questions about the program.
The Bay Village Police Department is providing free bike licenses.
Other informational booths include Bike Cleveland, Bay Village Green Team, and Project Earth Environmental Club.
Bike To School Challenge Kick-Off Dates
A significant percentage of the schools’ students are expected to bicycle on the first day of the challenge at their respective schools. Reporters are welcome and photo opportunities are available at each school during morning arrivals and afternoon departures. The following is a list of the participating schools and the kick-off dates for the Bike To School Challenge at each one:
Another significant ride day for the challenge will be Wednesday, May 4, which is National Bike To School Day.
On or near the final day of the Bike To School Challenge at each participating school, a school-wide assembly will be held to celebrate the students' accomplishments. Prize drawings will also be conducted for bikes provided by Raleigh Bicycles, in addition to gift certificates and other items provided by other program sponsors. Information about these assemblies will be announced at a later date.
The Bike To School Challenge concludes on Friday, May 13 at A.I. Root Middle School, Claggett Middle School, and H.G. Blake Elementary School. The Bike To School Challenge concludes on Friday, May 20 at Bay Middle School, Westerly Elementary School, Rocky River Middle School, and Kensington Elementary School.
Westerly Elementary School was the first elementary school to participate in the Bike To School Challenge in 2014. Two more elementary schools, H.G. Blake Elementary School and Kensington Elementary School, were added in 2015.
Bike To School Challenge Bucks National Bicycling Trends
In just three weeks last May, students taking the Bike To School Challenge logged 84,772 miles, burned 2,216,100 calories (the equivalent of 12,176 cans of Coca-Cola), prevented 84,772 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, and saved their parents $9,180 in gasoline.
In 2009, only 13% of students in grades K through eight bike or walk to school (in 1969, that number was 48 percent), reports Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
A report concludes that changing the habits of just 20 percent of children living within two miles of school to get them to bicycle or walk to and from school instead of being driven would be the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road each year, preventing the emission of over 350,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 21,500 tons of other pollutants. (Source: Safe Routes to School: Steps to a Greener Future, prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Safe Routes to School National Partnership)
Other School-Related Bicycling Trends
As much as 30% of morning traffic is generated by parents driving their children to school. One-third of schools are in “air pollution danger zones.”
From 1976 to 2008, the percentage of overweight children 6 to 11 years old more than tripled. There are many potential benefits of physical activity for youth, including weight control, reduction in the risk of diabetes, stress reduction, relief of ADHD symptoms, and even better academic performance. In an article published January 2012 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers found that participation in physical activity is positively related to academic performance in children.
Bicycling to school gives children time for physical activity and an opportunity to be outdoors, a sense of responsibility and independence, and the entire community benefits when there is less traffic congestion and better air quality.
How It Works
Students at Bike to School Challenge schools carry a "Ride Card" that is stamped each day they ride a bike to school. When they accumulate four bicycle rides to school, students receive a free t-shirt from main Bike To School Challenge sponsor and organizer Century Cycles bicycle store. The more they bike, the more they can win – every Ride Card they fill up earns them more entries into a grand prize raffle that includes two new bicycles per school from Raleigh Bicycles. Safety is also rewarded: They earn twice as many entries if they wear a bicycle helmet.
Inspired by a student car boycott to protest high gas prices in 2007, Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan approached his alma mater Bay High School about what he could do to encourage more bicycling to school. Bike To School Challenge was born and was enthusiastically embraced by the students and faculty. Participation in 2008 exceeded organizers’ expectations. In 2009, the program was expanded to include Bay Middle School. It expanded to Rocky River Middle School in 2011 and to the Medina middle schools the following year. In 2010, Bike To School Challenge won the city’s Project of the Year Award from the Bay Village Community Council.